NOAA goes 'live' with new weather supercomputers
"That is a huge improvement, and we can't make those kinds of improvements unless we have a bigger computer," said Kyger, of the 15% gains.
More compute power allows for higher resolution, which enables scientists to look at forecasting impacts over much smaller areas.
Right now, the NWS global forecasting system runs at a resolution of 27 kilometers, with 64 vertical levels, which shows the atmospheric conditions at various heights.
Last fall, when Hurricane Sandy struck, there was a belief that the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) had a better storm track model further out.
Criticism over the U.S. forecasting ability has followed post Sandy.
The European model "did a better job at some points in the storm track than the U.S. models did," said Barry Lee Myers, the CEO of AccuWeather Inc., at a House hearing in May on "Restoring U.S. Leadership in Weather Forecasting."
During Sandy, the European Center had computers capable of producing resolution at 16 kilometers, with 130 vertical levels, according to NWS officials.
In nine months, the NWS expects to be at 13 kilometers resolution.
The increased resolution is "going to improve the lead time for all significant weather events," said Kyger.
In June, ECMWF announced that it had signed a contract to purchase two Cray XC30 systems. The speed of these systems is not being disclosed but a Cray spokesman said "it will be a petascale system."
Kyger referred to the Europeans as "teammates" and said they use each other's models. "I would call it friendly competition," he said.
Patrick Thibodeau covers SaaS and enterprise applications, outsourcing, government IT policies, data centers and IT workforce issues for Computerworld. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @DCgov, or subscribe to Patrick's RSS feed . His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Money talks, and that's all quantum maker D-Wave has to say
- IBM project aims to forecast and control Beijing's air pollution
- China has the fastest supercomputer, but the U.S. still rules
- ISC: Cray makes Lustre palatable for storage administrators
- SC500: China wins a slowing supercomputer race
- Fujitsu 56 Gbps circuit doubles communication speeds between CPUs
- HP enters supercomputing market with water-cooled Apollo system
- In exascale, Japan stands apart with firm delivery plan
- Here comes a supercomputing app store
- An HPC champion helps Trek Bicycle shift gears
Read more about Hardware in Computerworld's Hardware Topic Center.
- A Reference Architecture for the Internet of Things The aim of this is to provide Architects and Developers of IoT projects with an effective starting point that covers the major requirements...
- How to Reduce Hardware & Infrastructure Costs Through Data In this paper, we take a look at how organizations are revisiting their network and server architecture in a bid to address the...
- Software Build Acceleration, Analytics and Build Clouds Discover how to dramatically speed up software builds by automatically distributing build jobs over scalable resource clouds and multi-core desktops, with potential savings...
- Printer Installer: Eliminating Print Servers Printer Installer is an on-premise web application that enables you to centrally manage and deploy Windows shared or direct iP printers.
- It's not too late...Get Your Mobile Questions Answered Live! How can IT provide seamless and secure mobile communications and collaboration for all? Join this live Webcast as IDG asks an expert panel...
- On-demand webinar - 7 Keys to Service Catalog Implementation Success Watch this webinar to learn 7 crucial keys to make your service catalog a success! All Hardware White Papers | Webcasts
Our new weekly Consumerization of IT newsletter covers a wide range of trends including BYOD, smartphones, tablets, MDM, cloud, social and what it all means for IT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!