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A New Supercomputerfor Taking US Weather Forecast Systems To The Top


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has housed the world’s most powerful weather supercomputer which runs 24 hours round the clock every day of the week to calculate billions of chunks of data to predict the weather.

Though the regular weather forecasts on the news may seem sufficient to keep your favorite dress safe from rain, sailors, airplane pilots, captains and shipping companies require comprehensive data for their work. The data required by them can be obtained only through implementation of different computer models and meticulous data evaluation.

The European Excellence…

Three years ago, European weather models accurately predicted the path and intensity of the Hurricane Sandy. It was a setback for US weather prediction apparatus as the Hurricane Sandy devastated the New Jersey coastline and incurred losses of $65 billion. Such an incident prompted the US to reform their ways and bounce back with a formidable solution to the inefficient systems existing presently.

Whoa, it’s superfast…

  • The new supercomputer is named Cray.
  • The design of the supercomputer is owned by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
  • It can be used for collecting, processing and analyzing billions of data obtained from weather satellites, airplanes, surface stations and buoys to predict weather behavior in advance.
  • The processing capability of the supercomputer is approximately 3 quadrillion calculations per second.
  • Such incredible computing speed can be achieved only if you accumulate the power of 12500 high-end laptops.
  • Despite such amazing computing speed, the ranking of Cray stands at 18 in the USA and 42 in the world.
  • The European prediction of Sandy promoted an investment of $44.5 million for developing the Cray supercomputer.
  • The US chose Cray, an organization based in Seattle dealing with manufacture of supercomputers.
  • Cray had earlier designed supercomputers for European weather agencies.
  • The supercomputer needs to be housed in a room with temperatures between 69 and 72 degrees.
  • Water circulated through the computer at a temperature of 45 degrees. Humidity is maintained at 30-50%.
  • The computer’s aesthetics are also attractive and crucial regarding significance with images of lightning bolts, snowstorms, and tornadoes.
  • The system’s capabilities can be refined by meteorologists to determine predictions ranging from single cities to whole countries and daily weather to hurricanes or floods.
  • During the late part of last year, NOAA had two supercomputers installed- one in Reston and the other in Orlando.

What the biggies say…

  • The statement of Cliff Mass, a meteorologist at the University of Washington, referred to the fact that the combination of the two supercomputers has increased the capability of the systems by ten times and now American weather forecast systems can be way more efficient than their European counterparts. He also criticized the Federal Government’s inefficiency in utilizing computing resources.
  • According to NOAA head Kathryn Sullivan, the supercomputer will be targeting storm surge and river forecasting to predict weather behavior in summer’s hurricane season and spring’s flood season. The speed of the device is what helps it in delivering accurate and credible weather predictions.
  • A recent example of the capability of the supercomputer was seen in last month’s East Coast blizzard which was predicted well in advance as reported by the Director of National Weather Service, Louis Uccellini.