Tornados in this country have never been more deadly. According to the National Weather Service, the recent outbreak of tornadoes resulted in 344 deaths and billions of dollars in property damage. Yet, even with modern science, we know little about the inner workings of these powerful storms.
To truly understand tornadoes, and maybe even one day predict them, researchers need data out of the reach of the chasers, such as pressure and three-dimensional wind structure, and for that they need far more tornadoes than the actual atmosphere produces. “I don’t need three, I need three hundred,” said Amy McGovern, an assistant professor in the School of Computer Science at the University of Oklahoma, located in the heart of tornado alley, and the principal investigator of a project that is using the University of Tennessee’s (UT’s) Kraken supercomputer to better understand, and hopefully one day predict, tornadoes.
To simulate the forces inside a tornado, McGovern’s team is using the Kraken Cray XT5 supercomputer at the University of Tennessee’s (UT’s) National Institute for Computational Sciences. The power of the system enables them to simulate more storms, each consuming 30 hours on thousands of compute cores.
A simulated storm showing reflectivity. Redder colors indicate a region with more intense precipitation. This simulation also shows a hook echo region, which is a region indicative of a tornado, in the southwest quadrant.
So far, the team has generated 30 of the planned 150 simulations. With Kraken’s recent upgrade to 1.17 petaflops, the team should be able to forge ahead even faster than before. Read the Full Story.