Wednesday, August 12, 2009

New NOAA supercomputers to take forecast models into the future

As of noon CDT today (1700 UTC 8/12/09), the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP), a division of NOAA, declared operational two new massive supercomputers that will spit out weather model data used by forecasters throughout the world. Model data, a mainstay for all meteorologists in determining what the weather will be like over their forecast area, provides information of the expected state of the atmosphere from a few hours in the future to as far as several days, or even weeks, in advance. The new supercomputers are named Stratus and Cirrus, after two of the four main cloud types (cumulus and nimbus being the others). The computers have been thoroughly tested and benchmarked to ensure that there is no significant difference in the model output from the previous computers, but will provide the horsepower required to accomodate advances in weather prediction technology over the coming years.

The operational status of these two computing beasts was originally scheduled to be Tuesday, August 18, but in anticipation of an increase in hurricane activity in the Atlantic Ocean over the coming weeks, the operational date was accelerated "to minimize the effect of the transition on NWS operations."

To read the NWS announcement about the changes, click here.

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2 comments:

sudo said...

Faster is cool but.... when do we get more ACCURATE??? :)

MWN/Erik said...

They're actually getting better and better each time changes are made to the model parameters, which is at least a few times a year. These supercomputers will allow NOAA scientists to continue to make advancements over the coming years in that regard.

Thanks for your comment!
--Erik, MemphisWeather.net