NEW SUPERCOMPUTER HELPS NOAA'S WEATHER SERVICE IMPROVE SPEED AND ACCURACY OF WEATHER FORECASTS
January 18, 2000 One of the
world's most powerful supercomputers is now generating faster
and more precise predictions of the atmosphere, resulting in
more accurate forecasts for every city in the nation, NOAA
announced today. This new supercomputer is five timesand
eventually will be 28 timesfaster than its predecessor,
which allows NOAA's National
Weather Service to improve the accuracy of local and national
forecasts and warning lead times for potentially dangerous severe
"This new supercomputer
puts us closer to reaching our goal of becoming America's no
surprise weather service," said National Weather Service
Director John J.
Kelly Jr. "This gives our forecasters more sophisticated
models of the atmosphere and oceans, which act as blueprints
for upcoming weather patterns. On a daily basis, we should see
a 10 percent improvement in predicting temperatures, humidity
and pinpointing when, where and how much rainfall will occur."
"This new supercomputer provides better data for more accurate seven-day forecasts and beyond," said Louis Uccellini, director of NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Prediction. "Forecasters now can apply research based on more data they will collect. They'll also be able to test new weather models more effectively and more quickly add new results into the forecast process," he said.
The supercomputer generates numerical weather models, which provide important guidance to forecasters. The models are a result of observations taken from the ground and air, such as temperature, wind, precipitation, atmospheric pressure and other meteorological information. These observations result in the collection of billions of "bytes" of data the supercomputer uses each day. The supercomputer's added strength and speed in processing weather data will give meteorologists better models to forecast more accurately the intensity of hurricanes this season, which begins on June 1.
"With even more computational power of the new supercomputer, the National Weather Service will only add to the forecast successes from the last century by saving more lives and protecting property," Kelly said.
NOTE TO MEDIA: Video footage of the new IBM SP supercomputer
is available in Beta-SP or VHS format from Video Transfer of
Rockville, Md., (301) 881-0270.