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Hurricane Sandy at extremely high resolution Image 2
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Hurricane Sandy at extremely high resolution (Image 2)

April 25, 2014
Cloud-top temperature at cloud-top height. In this simulation of Hurricane Sandy, which used WRF-ARW weather prediction software, the cloud-top temperature is displayed on a 3-D surface that follows the top of the clouds. The cloud-top height has been vertically exaggerated. Key features include the signature of dramatic, anticyclonic outflow aloft on the western flank of Sandy, lower tropospheric cyclonic cloud rotation, intermittent cold cloud-top convective activity near the inner core, and outer cold air encirclement. Grayscale indicates temperature in degrees Celsius. A team of researchers from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) and Cray Inc. simulated the evolution of Hurricane Sandy as it approached and made landfall--with catastrophic impacts--over the Northeastern U.S. The simulation was performed on the Blue Waters Cray supercomputer at NCSA using the NCAR/WRF-ARW regional prediction system. The simulation was comprised of previously unsurpassed ~4 billion computation grid points, with a horizontal grid resolution of 500 meters with 150 vertical levels. The simulation is part of NCAR's research agenda to advance knowledge and predictive skill of high-impact weather hazards and the transition of research to operational services. It illustrates the importance and benefits of advances in supercomputer capacity and visualization systems for Earth systems research and weather prediction. NCAR's VAPOR (Visualization and Analysis Platform for Ocean, Atmosphere and Solar Researchers) system was used to create animations that tracked the storms progress and enabled analysis of flow trajectories and associated dynamical processes during the life cycle of Sandy. VAPOR provides an interactive 3-D visualization environment that runs on most UNIX and Windows systems equipped with modern 3-D graphics cards. [Support for VAPOR is provided by the National Science Foundation (grants CCF 03-25934 and ACI 09-06379) and through a TeraGrid GIG award.] This research was discussed in a presentation by NCAR's Mel Shapiro, titled "A research-community perspective of the life cycle of Hurricane Sandy," that was given at the American Meteorological Society's 2013 Townhall. Technical details of the simulation were described in the Proceedings of SC13: International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis, in the article "Petascale WRF Simulation of Hurricane Sandy: Deployment of NCSA's Cray XE6 Blue Waters." (Date of Image: August 2013) Credit: Alan Norton, Mel Shapiro, Tom Galarneau, Perry Domingo, NCAR; Peter Johnsen, Cray Inc.; Mark Straka, NCSA, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


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