Tue, Jun 29, 2010
Supercomputing Center Designed For Long-Range Climate
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD recently
introduced the NASA Center for Climate Simulation (NCCS), an
integrated set of supercomputing, visualization, and data
interaction technologies that will enhance agency capabilities in
weather and climate prediction research.
"The NASA Center for Climate Simulation has been designed to
meet the unique computational needs of the climate modeling
community supported by NASA's Earth Science Division," said Phil
Webster, chief of Goddard's Computational and Information Sciences
and Technology Office, which manages NCCS.
The new center more than doubles the computing capacity
available at Goddard one year ago and expands other services to
support NASA's growing climate data needs. Enhanced NCCS
- The 15,000-processor "Discover" supercomputer with a peak
performance of nearly 160 trillion operations per second.
- A 17- by 6-foot multi-screen visualization wall for displaying
high-definition movies of simulation results and interactive data
- An analysis system offering dedicated software tools for
visualization, workflow management, and diagnostics.
- A new data management system for accessing and locating data
within NCCS' multi-petabyte (peta = 1,000 trillion) archive.
- An Earth System Grid node for distributing simulation data from
NASA's contributions to the Fifth Assessment Report of the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Approximately $5,449,739 was provided through the American
Recovery and Reinvestment Act toward the completion of NCCS.
Goddard is home to one of the largest contingents of Earth
scientists in the world. Scientists in the Global Modeling and
Assimilation Office (GMAO) and the Goddard Institute for Space
Studies (GISS) in New York City represent the two largest NCCS user
groups. GMAO and GISS simulations investigate weather and climate
phenomena at time scales ranging from days to centuries.
"The computing resources at NCCS are critical to our ability to
use NASA satellite data in our model-based analyses, which help us
characterize and understand Earth's changing climate," said Michele
Rienecker, GMAO head. "Moreover, NCCS enables us to undertake
climate simulations and predictions and to share the results with
our fellow scientists and other users."
Several NCCS-hosted simulations are being displayed on the
visualization wall for scientists and visitors:
- GISS climate change projections following surface air
temperature, ice cover, and other fields from 1880 to 2100.
- GMAO's Modern Era Retrospective-analysis for Research and
Applications (MERRA) project, which recently completed a
comprehensive reanalysis of the last 30 years of weather and
- Interactive three-dimensional visualizations of Cyclone Ului's
march through the South Pacific Ocean during March 2010.
- GMAO global model simulations run at resolutions as high as 3.5
kilometers, including a simulation capturing the massive snowstorms
that hit the eastern United States in February 2010.
NCCS is part of the NASA High-End Computing Program and serves
the agency's Science Mission Directorate. The center was previously
known as the NASA Center for Computational Sciences.
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