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July 30, 2012
Graphic showing relative vorticity at approximately 5 kilometers above ground (top), and wind speed near the jet stream at approximately 10 kilometers above ground. The entire mid-latitude wave train is simulated at high resolution, and the solutions show the range of scales in the flow. This simulation was created by a research team from TeraGrid's San Diego Supercomputer Center and the National Center for Atmospheric Research, along with researchers from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and IBM's Watson Research Center. The team set U.S. records for size, performance and fidelity of computer weather simulations, thus laying the groundwork to prepare weather forecasting for petascale computing--meaning enhanced reliability and timeliness of forecasts. For the project, the team's goal was--using an unprecedented number of processors--to capture key features not before represented in simulations covering such a large part of the Earth's atmosphere. They created "virtual weather" on a detailed 5 kilometer horizontal grid covering one hemisphere of the globe, with 100 vertical levels, for a total of some 2 billion cells--32 times larger and using 80 times more computational power than previous weather research and forecast-based simulations. [This research was supported by a National Science Foundation Small Grant for Exploratory Research (SGER) (grant AGS 06-37994) and by the Department of Energy.] (Date of Image: November 2007) Credit: Courtesy John Michalakes, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR)