A formidable K computer from Japan performed 10,240 simulations of global weather, closely matching observations for the global atmosphere for the time period from Nov. 1 to 8, 2011, according to a release from the RIKEN research institution. The simulation was one of the largest attempted for global weather, dividing the global atmosphere into 112-kilometer sections.
There are many challenges associated with creating an accurate global weather simulation, which include not only the creation of an accurate model, but also the accurate entry of data into the model, referred to as data assimilation. As more and more data are incorporated into the model, it becomes more complex and requires more computational power.
The 10-petaflop K computer could handle such an enormous simulation, and also utilized NICAM, software designed to accurately mimic the global atmospheric weather system. One of the findings of the modeling work was that weather even thousands of kilometers away can have important impacts on Earth’s surface weather.
Top image: Clouds gather over a field. (Credit: Public Domain)