Major Storm Forecast Modeling Research Project at Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center Incorporates Radar Data for Increasingly Accurate and Advanced Storm Prediction
SEATTLE, WA, Jul 22, 2008 (MARKET WIRE via COMTEX News Network) -- Global supercomputer leader Cray Inc. (NASDAQ: CRAY) today announced
that researchers from the University of Oklahoma's Center for
Analysis and Prediction Storms (CAPS) used a powerful Cray XT3(TM)
supercomputer housed at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC) to
incorporate real-time radar data into their high-resolution
thunderstorm forecasting model for the first time. This critical
milestone in severe weather prediction, part of the annual National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Hazardous Weather
Testbed (HWT) Spring Experiment, demonstrated an ability to predict
storms more accurately and with improved lead time.
Doppler weather radars observe air flows and precipitation intensity
within thunderstorms. Computer models run for the HWT Spring
Experiment incorporated observational data from more than 120 weather
radars enabling the most realistic storm prediction to date.
"The powerful Cray XT3 system was designed for the highest
scalability and reliability, which allows researchers to incorporate
a greater and greater number of variables into their models to create
increasingly accurate computer simulations and shed light on
scientific phenomena that we can't explain today," said Ian Miller,
senior vice president of sales and marketing for Cray. "When
advanced high-performance computing meets sophisticated field
research, the result is this kind of scientific breakthrough that has
the potential to advance science and provide tremendous benefit to
This milestone marks the second consecutive year of "firsts" in the
HWT Spring Experiment runs. Last year, researchers from CAPS ran the
Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model faster than ever before
on the Cray XT3 supercomputer at PSC. This year, researchers were
able to incorporate radar data into the WRF model using software
developed by CAPS for the first time ever at such resolutions and
scale using the same Cray system.
"The Cray XT3 system at PSC provided much greater computing power
than the allocation available at the National Weather Service
operational forecasting center, allowing us to test and refine
storm-scale 'ensemble' forecasting, which was a key goal of the
experiment," said Kelvin Droegemeier, vice president for research at
the University of Oklahoma and director emeritus of CAPS. "Ensemble
forecasting involves running a forecast model multiple times to
assess the degree of uncertainty inherent in the forecast. Since it
requires running a model many times within a short time period,
ensemble forecasts demand large amounts of computational power, and
Cray answered that call."
Each day during the seven weeks, CAPS scientists transmitted weather
data to the Cray supercomputer. Running a 10-member ensemble -- 10
different configurations of the forecast model -- covering nearly the
entire continental U.S. with one grid point every 4 kilometers, the
Cray system produced forecasts for the next day and transmitted the
data to researchers as they were produced. In addition to the
10-member ensemble runs, CAPS also ran on the Cray XT3
higher-resolution forecasts with one grid point every 2 kilometers
covering the same area.
"The finer resolution of this run better captures the structure of
thunderstorms," says Ming Xue, director of CAPS. "The result is
improved accuracy in the forecasting of severe storms and tornado
potential. The Spring Experiment is an iterative process and each
improvement equates, hopefully, to diminished loss of life and
economic damage. The goal is to build each year on our growing
knowledge of storm prediction and forecasting. Our efforts should
help accelerate the implementation of advanced prediction capabilities
at the national operational weather forecasting center."
About Cray Inc.
As a global leader in supercomputing, Cray provides highly advanced
supercomputers and world-class services and support to government,
industry and academia. Cray technology enables scientists and
engineers to achieve remarkable breakthroughs by accelerating
performance, improving efficiency and extending the capabilities of
their most demanding applications. Cray's Adaptive Supercomputing
vision will result in innovative next-generation products that
integrate diverse processing technologies into a unified
architecture, allowing customers to surpass today's limitations and
meeting the market's continued demand for realized performance. Go to
www.cray.com for more information.
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SOURCE: Cray Inc.