NOAA announced today that it has activated its newest weather and climate supercomputers, increasing the computational might used for the nation's climate and weather forecasts by 320 percent. The new IBM machines process 14 trillion calculations per second at maximum performance and ingest more than 240 million global observations daily. The primary and back up systems, ranked 36th and 37th in the world on the top 500 list of the world's fastest computers, will enable the NOAA National Weather Service to deliver more products, with greater accuracy, at longer-lead times. These supercomputers will consume more data and generate highly advanced models that may enable meteorologists to begin making significant inroads in cracking hurricane intensity forecast challenges.

These machines also will process data from Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere and Climate (COSMIC) satellites, a series of six satellites launched in 2006 that will provide NOAA National Weather Service forecasters with better understanding of jet streams and related storm systems -- keys for the early prediction of storms like those that affected Denver and the Pacific Northwest in December and January.

"Better physics, better models, better data, and faster and more powerful supercomputing are the foundation for making better weather and climate forecasts," said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. "NOAA's partnership with IBM is a great case study of the public and private sectors working together to save lives."

The supercomputers will harness 160 IBM System p575 servers, with 16 1.9 gigahertz Power5+ processors. The machines also will contain 160 terabytes of system storage DS4800 disk storage systems.

Photo courtesy of NOAA.