National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the US federal agency focused on the condition of the oceans and the atmosphere revealed yesterday the upgrade of its supercomputing capabilities ‘to provide more timely, accurate, reliable, and detailed forecasts.’

“NOAA is America’s environmental intelligence agency; we provide the information, data, and services communities need to become resilient to significant and severe weather, water, and climate events,” enunciates Kathryn Sullivan, Ph.D., NOAA’s Administrator.

“These supercomputing upgrades will significantly improve our ability to translate data into actionable information, which in turn will lead to more timely, accurate, and reliable forecasts.”

“We continue to make significant, critical investments in our supercomputers and observational platforms,” notes Louis Uccellini, Ph.D., director, NOAA’s National Weather Service. “By increasing our overall capacity, we’ll be able to process quadrillions of calculations per second that all feed into our forecasts and predictions. This boost in processing power is essential as we work to improve our numerical prediction models for more accurate and consistent forecasts required to build a Weather Ready Nation.”

Part of a larger program of computing and modeling upgrades that began in July 2013, each of the two supercomputers will first more than triple their current capacity later this month (to at least 0.776 petaflops for a total capacity of 1.552 petaflops), also upgrading to an advanced version of the Global Forecast System (GFS), by January this year, with greater resolution that extends further out in time. The capacity of NOAA’s two supercomputers will go up to 2.5 petaflops, for a total of 5 petaflops, a tenfold increment from the current capacity, by October 2015, points out a news release making the announcement.

The funding for this upgrade was facilitated through the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013 and saw a $44.5 million investment using NOAA’s operational high performance computing contract with IBM, $25 million of which was provided by the Act.

Read more here.

(Image credit: Steve Jurvetson)


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