HECToR to run climate models (60 Tflops tops)

January 15, 2008 at 4:14 am | Posted in Climate change, Climate modelling, Climate models, HECToR, High resolution, Supercomputers, University of Edinburgh, University of Reading, Walker Institute, Weather patterns | Leave a comment

With a peak performance of 60 teraflops, this Cray XT4-based system affectionately known as HECToR ((High-End Computing Terascale Resource) will be used to help crunch numbers for complex climate models. You might find this article interesting, and it certainly has a good few websites linked that are worth a look:

UK’s top supercomputer to study climate change
Posted by Nicole Kobie at 11:58AM, Monday 14th January 2008

New Edinburgh-based supercomputer will be using its 60 teraflops to analyse global climate change models.

The UK’s top supercomputer, the Edinburgh-based HECToR (high-end computing terescale resource), will be putting its 60 teraflops/second to work studying climate change models for the University of Reading.

The first phase of the system, which went live last October, is some six times more powerful than previous UK supercomputers – ranking it 17th in the world, according to the Top500 listing. The second phase of HECToR will boost processing power to 25 times the strength by 2009, with a third phase expected in 2011.

Scientists from the Walker Institute at Reading will be using the system to run detailed global climate models, which were developed in Japan over the past three years. This is the first time those models have been able to be run in the UK.

Len Shaffrey, a senior scientist developing the new high resolution models, said: “Current climate models struggle to give us details of how climate might change at regional and local levels and in particular how high impact weather, like storms, will change.”

He added: “We’ll be using the power of HECToR to run much finer resolution global climate models than has been possible before in the UK. Early results are showing that our high resolution global models can simulate regional and local climate more realistically.”

Shaffrey said the models allow for more detailed, higher resolution models of weather such as storms, heat waves, and hurricanes, as well as complex weather patterns such as El Niño. Indeed, the system will also be used to investigate tropical weather systems as part of another Reading-based project.

HECToR is part funded by the UK government, as is based at the University of Edinburgh’s Advanced Computing Facility.

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