University of Washington researchers are using the Cray XT5 Kraken supercomputer to unravel perplexing mysteries of Antarctic sea ice.
Unlike the Arctic, which is notoriously shedding more and more ice every year, the Antarctic sea ice—literally frozen, floating ocean water—is actually increasing in extent. And while scientists aren’t exactly sure why, they do have a few main suspects. The current culprit of choice is the hole in the ozone layer that hovers over the Antarctic continent, creating a number of natural phenomena, not the least of which is increased wind circulation, creating a lower surface temperature on the Antarctic continent and altering ocean heat transport. Not so fast says Cecilia Bitz of the University of Washington and the principal investigator of the most detailed simulations to date of Antarctic sea ice. She too was a believer in the ozone hypothesis, until her team, a branch of the National Science Foundation’s PetaApps program, ran 10-km simulations of the Antarctic sea ice using the Community Earth Systems Model (CESM) to determine if, as expected, the depletion of ozone at the bottom of our planet is indeed causing the sea ice to expand.
Blitz’s team consumed more than 11 Million CPU hours to run their simulations, bringing us just a little bit closer to understanding how this important region affects our global climate. Read the Full Story.
A tip of the hat goes to author Gregory Scott Jones for pointing us to this article.