First up: Accelerated scientific discovery

Computing-intensive projects to put Yellowstone supercomputer through its paces

October 8, 2012 | First in the queue for Yellowstone is a set of 11 computing-intensive projects approved as part of the two-month-long Accelerated Scientific Discovery initiative. Chosen from applicants at NCAR and in the university community, the ASD projects will serve to inaugurate Yellowstone, carrying out large amounts of computing over a short period, while tackling major problems in Earth and atmospheric science. For more detail, see the formal descriptions on the ASD site for university-led projects and NCAR-led projects.


Topics

Ocean fronts and turbulence

3-D mapping of Earth's upper layers
Inside cumulus clouds
Better long-range forecasts
High-resolution climate: local to global
Turbulent clouds in detail
             

Air pollution projections through 2055

When turbulence and rotation meet
Extending predictability
Solar magnetism and electricity in space
Sea spray and the atmosphere


Ocean fronts and turbulence

Baylor Fox-Kemper

    

ocean fronts 

Baylor Fox-Kemper, University of Colorado Boulder, project lead
Arrest of frontogenesis in oceanic submesoscale turbulence

Goal: Resolve the nature of the process that impedes sharpening of oceanic fronts (roughly 1–10 kilometers or 0.6–6 miles wide) in regions of turbulence. Such fronts are common over the globe’s ocean surface; they separate areas of differing temperature and salinity and influence circulation patterns and other key aspects of oceans and air-sea exchanges.

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3-D mapping of Earth's upper layers

 Thomas Jordan

    

3_D tomography

Thomas Jordan, University of Southern California, project lead
Community computational platforms for developing three-dimensional models of Earth structure

Goal: Image Earth’s upper layers by full 3-D tomography using two different approaches. The resulting improvements in regional and global models will better characterize the flow within Earth’s mantle, the evolution of plate-tectonic forces, and the potential seismic effects of earthquakes and nuclear explosions.

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Inside cumulus clouds

Lance Collins

    

cumulus

Lance Collins, Cornell University, project lead
Direct numerical simulation of cumulus cloud core processes over larger volumes and for longer times

Goal: Simulate particle-turbulence interactions in conditions that mimic cumulus cloud cores, over distances ranging from millimeters up to a few meters, for periods of about 20 minutes. These simulations will help improve models of cloud dynamics and could also benefit climate modeling.

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Better long-range weather forecasts

William Skamarock

    

MPAS

William Skamarock, NCAR, project lead
Global cloud-permitting atmospheric simulations using MPAS


Goal: Test the performance of the Model for Prediction across Scales (MPAS) by producing 10-day forecasts for two periods. By varying the spacing between the centers of each hexagonal grid cell from 60 kilometers down to 3 km in five steps, the experiment will help determine where and when higher resolutions are most critical to forecast quality.

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High-resolution climate: local to global

Justin Small

    

sea ice

R. Justin Small, NCAR, project lead
Meso- to planetary-scale processes in a global ultra-high-resolution climate model

Goal: Conduct and analyze simulations using the Community Earth System Model with roughly 100 times more grid points than commonly used. Among other outcomes, the study will shed light on how climate responds to the coupling of ocean and atmospheric fronts within a model and how features such as polynyas (holes within Arctic sea ice) affect climate.

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Turbulent clouds in detail

Andrzej Wyszogrodzki

    

clouds

Andrzej Wyszogrodzki, NCAR
, project lead
Petascale simulation of physics and dynamics of turbulent clouds

Goal: This project will close the spatial gap between two numerical approaches to model cloud dynamics and cloud microphysics at scales ranging from the size of small cumulus clouds (about 1.0 mile) down to cloud droplets (about 0.0005 inches). The results will benefit weather and climate models at regional and global scales.

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Air pollution projections through 2055

Gabriele Pfister

    

pollution

Gabriele Pfister, NCAR
, project lead
Prediction of North American air quality

Goal: Perform high-resolution simulations with a nested regional climate model that includes interactions between chemistry and meteorology, in order to study possible changes in weather and air quality over North America between present and future time periods (2020–2030 and 2045–2055). The analysis will focus on summertime U.S. air pollution events.

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When turbulence and rotation meet

Annick Pouquet

    

hurricane bonnie

Annick Pouquet, NCAR, project lead
Rotation and stratification at unit Burger number in turbulent flows

Goal: Examine the role of helicity (corkscrew-like motion) in turbulent fluids that are both stratified and rotating. Because this type of fluid behavior resembles key aspects of Earth’s atmosphere, the findings could help illuminate some of the complexities of flow in and around tornadoes, hurricanes, and other cyclones.

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Extending predictability

James Kinter

    

climate model

James Kinter (pictured) and Ben Cash, Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies, project leads
Towards seamless high-resolution prediction at intraseasonal and longer timescales

Goal: Explore the impact of increased atmospheric resolution on model fidelity and prediction skill in the operational ECMWF (European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts) coupled climate model. The results will help understand and quantify predictability in weather and climate for periods ranging from days to years.

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Solar magnetism and electricity in space

Michael Shay

    

heliosphere

Project lead: Michael Shay, University of Delaware
Turbulence in the heliosphere: The role of current sheets and magnetic reconnection

Goal: Perform the first systematic study of how thin sheets of electric current generated by the Sun reconnect in the presence of turbulence. Understanding the process through which intense concentrations of energy dissipate during these reconnections is among the major challenges of solar physics.

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Sea spray and the atmosphere

David richter

    

sea spray

David Richter, NCAR, project lead
Turbulence modification in the spray-laden atmospheric marine boundary layer

Goal: Examine the effect of sea spray suspended by turbulence above the ocean on the transfer of heat and momentum to the ocean surface. The results will help improve understanding of how effects related to sea spray could influence the development of hurricanes.