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NOAA launches research on next generation of high performance weather, climate models
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NOAA launches research on next generation of high performance weather, climate models

NOAA collaborates with U.S. Navy, other public and private partners to create faster, lower-cost models

NOAA and the U.S. Navy are teaming up with academic and other government scientists to design the next generation of powerful supercomputer models to predict weather, ocean conditions and regional climate change.

Four teams of scientists are beginning projects this month to rewrite computer models that will create faster, lower-cost, better integrated models.  These new models will take advantage of new supercomputers that use more energy efficient/lower-cost processors such as those originally developed for the video gaming industry.

“Our nation’s security and economic well-being relies upon accurate weather, ocean and climate prediction,” said Robert Detrick, NOAA’s assistant administrator for the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research. “These highly collaborative research teams will use NOAA’s supercomputers to move the U.S. into the next generation of models that will enable us to predict weather, ocean and climate over time scales of a few days to a few decades.”

The U.S. Navy will provide approximately $4.5 million in funding over the next three years to support the research and NOAA will provide use of its supercomputers and in-house scientific expertise. The teams of scientists from federal agencies, academic and private institutions will conduct the projects through the National Oceanographic Partnership Program (NOPP) and the National Earth System Prediction Capability (National ESPC) project.

The National Oceanographic Partnership Program is a collaboration among federal agencies to lead and coordinate oceanographic research and education initiatives. The National Earth System Prediction Capability is an ongoing collaboration between NOAA, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, Department of Energy, NASA and the National Science Foundation to enhance the understanding and prediction of the complex interactions of the Earth’s environment.

"Collaboration between federal, academic and private institutions is essential to developing models of unprecedented resolution and accuracy to inform critical national security decisions,” said Dr. Tom Drake, Director of the Office of Naval Research Ocean, Atmosphere & Space Research Division.  “The research is designed to develop faster, more efficient and higher resolution weather and climate models that take advantage of the newest computer technologies, such as advances in general purpose graphical processor units, and new environmental prediction models that integrate information on air, oceans, waves, and ice systems.”  

The specific goals of the four projects and the partner institutions are:

 ·         To improve predictions of polar ice at time scales from days to seasons, of vital interest to global security and industry as the poles experience climate change, loss of sea ice, and as previously frozen waters open to potential seasonal shipping and energy development. (Florida State University, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Naval Research Laboratory, University of Miami)

·         To create an Integration and Evaluation framework bringing together agencies and organizations that contribute model components, infrastructure, scientific and technical expertise for weather and climate modeling, to assess capabilities and skill. (University of Miami, NOAA/University of Colorado Boulder Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), Naval Research Laboratory, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Florida State University, University of Chicago, George Mason University Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies (COLA))

·         To improve performance, speed and collaboration on the next-generation of Navy coupled models that predict and integrate information on air, ocean, wave and ice systems. (Naval Postgraduate School, , Rice University, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Naval Research Laboratory)

·         To develop high-performance broadband radiation code to significantly reduce the computational time required to calculate heat exchanges on the Earth. (Atmospheric and Environmental Research Inc., National Center for Atmospheric Research, Naval Research Laboratory, University of Colorado Boulder.)

NOAA's mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Join us on TwitterFacebook and our other social media channels. Visit our news release archive. 

For more information contact:

Monica Allen, NOAA Communications @NOAA Research, 301-734-1123,


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Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) - or "NOAA Research" - provides the research foundation for understanding the complex systems that support our planet. Working in partnership with other organizational units of the NOAA, a bureau of the Department of Commerce, NOAA Research enables better forecasts, earlier warnings for natural disasters, and a greater understanding of the Earth. Our role is to provide unbiased science to better manage the environment, nationally, and globally.


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