NWSC

Yellowstone supercomputer delivers early results

April 3, 2013 | Can something as gentle as sea spray influence a hurricane’s might? That’s an important question for atmospheric scientists as they work toward improving forecasts of hurricanes and other powerful storms over the water. But it’s no easy matter to figure out how millions of saltwater droplets moving chaotically between an enormous expanse of ocean and a rotating storm that reaches to the stratosphere are affecting the course of nature. At a special March 14 seminar, David Richter laid out the challenges of this type of research. A postdoctoral fellow at NCAR, Richter is creating simulations of the droplets by drawing on the vast power of the new Yellowstone supercomputer—the pioneering petaflop system that promises to usher in a new era of discovery in the geosciences. He believes that such simulations will shed light on the influence of spray on transferring additional heat and moisture from the ocean surface to the atmosphere, thereby increasing the strength of tropical cyclones. Sea spray's role in hurricanes. Using the Yellowstone supercomputer, scientists can simulate sea spray's complex movements between the ocean and atmosphere. Such work can help researchers better understand the potential impacts of spray on the strength of hurricanes. View the animation. (@UCAR. Image by John Clyne, Yannick Polius, and David Richter, NCAR. This image is freely available for media & nonprofit use.) The research can help researchers learn about on other problems related to the movement of particles, such as landslides of sand beneath the ocean that can rupture underwater fiber optic cables or damage offshore drilling platforms. The March 14 seminar illustrated the diversity of science that is already being performed on Yellowstone by scientists at NCAR and across the university community. Supported by the National Science Foundation and housed at the new NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center in Cheyenne, Yellowstone began operations at the end of September 2012. The seminar featured 3 of the 11 projects whose computing was carried out at the NWSC through the Accelerated Scientific Discovery initiative. ASD allowed a select group of computing-intensive projects to be carried out during the first several months of Yellowstone’s operations. Scientists are now beginning to analyze those results. (See our roundup of ASD projects.) The hunt for weather events While Richter is focusing on the motion of tiny droplets that can be measured in millimeters, NCAR scientist Justin Small is looking at atmospheric processes that span tens to hundreds of kilometers. He is using Yellowstone to run the powerful Community Earth System Model (CESM), simulating atmospheric events in more detail than is typical for global climate studies. Weather fronts and storms in a global model. When run on the Yellowstone supercomputer, the Community Earth System Model simulates global climate in considerable detail. This animation captures such small-scale events as weather fronts moving across North America and tropical cyclones forming over the tropical oceans. (@UCAR. Visualization by Tim Scheitlin and Justin Small, NCAR. This video is freely available for media & nonprofit use.) Thanks to the computational power of Yellowstone, Small was able to simulate the world’s climate at a resolution as fine as roughly 15 miles (25 kilometers) between points on a three-dimensional grid. By depicting global climate at this level of detail, scientists can begin to capture smaller-scale atmospheric events such as tropical cyclones, strong midlatitude fronts, and intense storm systems. These storms, moreover, interact with a more realistic ocean environment. Since ocean conditions influence storm intensity, this is an important feature that is not possible with coarser-scale simulations. Small demonstrated a new CESM visualization of atmospheric processes, including fronts and tropical cyclones, moving across the globe—a possible preview of the next generation of climate simulations that will begin to look more like weather models. A portrait of tomorrow’s pollution The future of pollution. Initial studies using the Yellowstone supercomputer indicate that a warming climate will aggravate ozone pollution over the United States in the middle of the century. However, if emissions of pollutants continue to decline, U.S. ozone levels should improve even as temperatures rise. (@UCAR. Image by Gabriele Pfister, NCAR. This image is freely available for media & nonprofit use.) NCAR’s Gabriele Pfister is drawing on Yellowstone’s power to answer a very different question: what will U.S. air quality be like in mid-century, based on current projections in pollution emissions and climate? Some of Pfister’s early computer runs indicate the extent to which warming temperatures are likely to worsen incidents of ground-level ozone and other types of pollutants. On the other hand, her initial runs also indicate that the nation may be able to reduce the number of times that air pollution levels exceed public health standards if progress continues in reducing some emissions. This research also has climate implications. Some of the initial computer runs indicate that local pollutants such as certain gases or aerosols (tiny airborne particles or droplets) can nudge temperatures up or down by about 2-3 degrees Fahrenheit over some regions. Speed matters Pfister noted that her research, which involved creating realistic simulations of atmospheric chemistry that interacted with a detailed climate model, would have taken far too long with Bluefire. “I would have been planning to analyze the data by the time I retired,” she said. Other ASD projects seek new understandings of earthquakes, solar storms, and weather forecasting. While six of the projects were led by NCAR principal investigators, the other five were led by researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder, University of Southern California, Cornell University, University of Delaware, and the Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies. Researchers hope to begin formally writing up their results and submitting them for peer review as soon as the end of this year. More about Yellowstone and the NWSC NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center opens (October 15, 2012) Multimedia Gallery Fact Sheet In Depth: Big Data

Supercomputing with Yellowstone - Multimedia Gallery

Multimedia Gallery Fact Sheet FAQ NWSC News   On this page Scientific visualizations:  Video  |  Images  Photos:  Supercomputer & facility   Scientific Visualizations Using Supercomputing - Video      Coupled Weather-Fire Simulation of the Esperanza Wildfire. This fire-behavior simulation reproduces the October 2006 Esperanza Fire near Cabazon, California. For description and credits please see the YouTube description. (©UCAR. This video is freely available for media & nonprofit use.)      Intense Storm Observed during the ERICA Field Campaign. The low-pressure center modeled here, called an extratropical cyclone, was observed over the central North Atlantic Ocean in early January 1989. For description and credits please see the YouTube description. (©UCAR. This video is freely available for media & nonprofit use.)     Solar Magnetic "Tornado." Computer modeling based on a discovery made in 2012. A virtual camera travels around, above, and into a funnel of rotating solar magnetism.  For description and credits please see the YouTube description. (©UCAR. This video is freely available for media & nonprofit use.) Scientific Visualizations Using Supercomputing - Images Sunspot visualization. The interface between a sunspot's umbra (dark center) and penumbra (lighter outer region) shows a complex structure with narrow, almost horizontal (lighter to white) filaments embedded in a background having a more vertical (darker to black) magnetic field. Farther out, extended patches of horizontal field dominate. In a first, NCAR scientists and colleagues modeled this complex structure in a comprehensive 3D computer simulation, giving scientists an unprecedented glimpse below the visible surface to understand a sunspot's underlying physical processes. more about this study >   (©UCAR, image courtesy Matthias Rempel, NCAR.)   Earth’s climate system. This image depicts a single month from a simulation of the 20th century by the NCAR-based Community Climate System Model (version 4). The CCSM4 is one of the world’s most powerful computer models for simulating the complex interactions of Earth’s climate system, including the atmosphere, oceans, sea ice, and land surface. This image captures wind directions, ocean surface temperatures, and sea ice concentrations. (©UCAR, image courtesy Gary Strand, NCAR.) Photos of the NWSC: Supercomputer and facility A fish-eye view of some of the Yellowstone supercomputer's 100 racks. An iconic scene from Yellowstone National Park is featured mosaic-style on the ends of each rack. The image by Michael Medford, licensed to National Geographic, shows Fountain Geyser. (©UCAR. Photo by Carlye Calvin. This image is freely available for media & nonprofit use.)   Side view of some of the Yellowstone supercomputer's 100 racks. An iconic scene from Yellowstone National Park is featured mosaic-style on the ends of each rack. The image by Michael Medford, licensed to National Geographic, centers on Fountain Geyser. (©UCAR. Photo by Carlye Calvin. This image is freely available for media & nonprofit use.) The building housing the NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center in Cheyenne, Wyoming, officially opened on October 15, 2012. (©UCAR. Photo by Carlye Calvin. This image is freely available for media & nonprofit use.)   The NWSC visitor center features views of the Yellowstone system and five stations scattered throughout the lobby that explore the many facets of supercomputing and related science. (©UCAR. Photo by Carlye Calvin. This image is freely available for media & nonprofit use.)   Housed in a set of 100 interconnected cabinets, the Yellowstone system includes more than 70,000 processors, as well as high-performance bandwidth, memory, and visualization functions to transmit, store, and view the results. (©UCAR. Photo by Carlye Calvin. This image is freely available for media & nonprofit use.)   Over a dozen miles of cable permit Yellowstone's tens of thousands of processors and other key components to interact with each other. (©UCAR. Photo by Carlye Calvin. This image is freely available for media & nonprofit use.) Beneath the floor of the supercomputing rooms lies a vast, 10-foot high utility space, the key to the facility’s flexible, energy efficient design. The electrical supply and cooling systems, including the fans at right in this photo, can be positioned and controlled for optimal energy use, and air can be circulated as needed to computing systems and servers. (©UCAR. Photo by Carlye Calvin. This image is freely available for media & nonprofit use.)     Some of the NWSC's complex mechanical systems, which were designed with performance, flexibility, and energy efficiency in mind.  (©UCAR. Photo by Carlye Calvin. This image is freely available for media & nonprofit use.)

Supercomputing center takes step forward with construction firm selection

BOULDER—The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) announced today the selection of a construction management and general contracting firm for the NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center (NWSC) project. NCAR has selected Denver-based Saunders Construction, Inc. to provide pre-construction and, potentially, construction services for the $66 million, 150,000-square-foot building in Cheyenne, Wyo. The award to Saunders was made following a competitive selection process.The project is undergoing a multi-step review process with the National Science Foundation, NCAR's principal sponsor. If approved, construction could begin in the spring, with the center opening in late 2011 or early 2012 in Cheyenne's North Range Business Park."NCAR is very excited to be taking the next important step in this process," said Krista Laursen, NWSC project director at NCAR. "We are pleased to be on track to deliver a world-class facility for the atmospheric science and geoscience communities." Saunders Construction, Inc. is a full-service general contractor and construction manager based in Centennial, Colorado. The firm provides pre-construction and construction services throughout Colorado and the Rocky Mountain region. Other firms working on the project include design firm H+L Architecture and E-Cube, Inc., the firm responsible for commissioning."Saunders is honored to be a part of such a strong and experienced team to deliver this technologically advanced facility to UCAR/NCAR, Wyoming, and the West," said Jim Weber, vice president of project development at Saunders Construction, Inc.The NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center is being developed in partnership with the University of Wyoming, the State of Wyoming, Cheyenne-Laramie County Corporation for Economic Development (Cheyenne LEADS), the Wyoming Business Council, and Cheyenne Light, Fuel and Power. It will contain one of the world's most powerful supercomputers dedicated to improving scientific understanding of climate, severe weather, air quality, and other vital atmospheric science and geoscience topics.
Subscribe to NWSC