Top 5 Blog Posts From 2015

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Happy New Year! Check out some of the top blog posts from 2015: Why Do Better Forecasts Matter? Meteorologists have been striving to increase the accuracy of their work since the first weather forecasts were issued in the mid-19th century by pioneers such as Robert FitzRoy. In the 1950s and 1960s, the development of computers and observational technologies enabled forecast generation using the numerical weather prediction theories of Vilhelm Bjerknes and Lewis Fry Richardson. Today the numerical models that support our weather and climate forecasts are true “grand challenge” problems, requiring on the order of 10,000 billion (1016) mathematical operations and the exchange of 150 billion (1.5 x 1014) bytes of information to generate a ... [ Read More ]

Controlling the Tide of Weather and Climate Data with Tiered Storage

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There’s an old cliché that everyone talks about the weather, but no one does anything about it. While Cray can’t (yet) prevent droughts or cool off hot spells, we can help make the lives of weather professionals easier. An abundance of data riches, but where to store it? Weather and climate modeling centers strive to improve the accuracy of their models by gathering and assimilating more diverse input data and by increasing model resolution and complexity. As a result, these models are ingesting and producing ever-increasing volumes of data. These weather and climate organizations often find themselves challenged by the sheer volume of data, trying to manage various ways it may be used and simply trying to find the resources, ... [ Read More ]

Why Do Better Weather Forecasts Matter?

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Cray, NVIDIA, the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre (CSCS) and MeteoSwiss recently announced the acceptance of MeteoSwiss’ new supercomputing platform for operational weather forecasting, a Cray CS-Storm system with NVIDIA® Tesla® K80 GPUs. It is the world’s first operational weather forecasting system using GPGPUs as the primary computational engine, and it represents a successful return on years of effort by MeteoSwiss, C2SM/ETH and CSCS in porting the COSMO weather model to GPUs. This system is the latest in a long series of investments in Cray supercomputers by weather forecasting and climate research organizations, which over the past two years have included the United Kingdom’s Met Office; Danish Meteorological Institute; ... [ Read More ]

Unlocking the Mysteries of the Most Devastating Thunderstorms

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Western Massachusetts probably isn't the first place that comes to mind when the topic is severe thunderstorms and tornadoes, but that's where I lived as a kid when two significant severe weather events crossed my path. Two weeks after my family moved into a new home in the city of Ludlow, our house was hit by lightning, blasting charred paneling and insulation across my sister's bedroom and exposing glowing electrical wires. A few years later, on Oct. 3, 1979, a rare (for New England) supercell thunderstorm spawned a short-lived but very strong tornado as it rolled northward up the Connecticut River Valley and into Feeding Hills, Mass., which was our home at the time. To this day, the tornado spawned by the so-called Windsor Locks, Conn., ... [ Read More ]

Q&A: Diving Deep Into Our Solar System

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Anthony Mezzacappa, director of the University of Tennessee–Oak Ridge National Laboratory Joint Institute for Computational Sciences, and a team of computational astrophysicists are conducting one of the largest supernova simulations to date on ORNL’s “Titan” supercomputer. Titan, which is a hybrid Cray® XK7™ supercomputer, is managed by the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility on behalf of the Department of Energy. Dr. Mezzacappa answers our questions about his team’s work on Titan. Q: Why is understanding what triggers a supernova explosion so important? A: Supernovae are ultimately responsible for why you and I are here. The class of supernova that our team studies is known as core-collapse supernovae, and this type of supernova ... [ Read More ]