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November 13, 2014

Supercomputers run high-res climate simulation

Berkeley Lab ran simulation on global climate model in just three months.

By CBR Staff Writer

Researchers at Berkeley Lab were able to run a high-resolution simulation on a global climate model using the latest supercomputers in just three months.

Simulations delivered by the supercomputers were close to original observations, while the high-resolution models generated better simulations of storms, including hurricanes and cyclones.

Berkeley Lab climate scientist Michael Wehner said: "I’ve been calling this a golden age for high-resolution climate modelling because these supercomputers are enabling us to do gee-whiz science in a way we haven’t been able to do before.

"These kinds of calculations have gone from basically intractable to heroic to now doable.

"I’ve literally waited my entire career to be able to do these simulations."

Researchers used the Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) 5.1 version of the Community Atmospheric Model for deployment by the scientific community.

National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) researcher Kevin Reed said: "High resolution gives us the ability to look at intense weather, like hurricanes.

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"It also gives us the ability to look at things locally at a lot higher fidelity. Simulations are much more realistic at any given place, especially if that place has a lot of topography."

Berkeley Lab’s National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) were able to run one simulation which generated around 100tb of data.

The research also noted that the higher resolution simulation would also help scientists in better understanding the impact of climate change on extreme storms.

"A cloud system-resolved model can reduce one of the greatest uncertainties in climate models, by improving the way we treat clouds," Wehner added.

"That will be a paradigm shift in climate modeling. We’re at a shift now, but that is the next one coming."

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