NOAA Supercomputing Capacity Expanded for Advanced National Weather Forecasting

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credit: GDIT

FALLS CHURCH, Va. –  The computing capacity of twin supercomputers used by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have been expanded by 20 percent, according to General Dynamics Information Technology (GDIT), which operates the systems.

With this expansion, each supercomputer can operate at a peak computing performance (14.5 petaflops) and storage capacity (31 petabytes).

NOAA began running operational weather and climate forecast models on Dogwood (ranked 62 as of last June on the Top500 list of the world’s most powerful supercomputers) and Cactus (ranked 61). They are HPE Cray EX systems powered by AMD EPYC CPUs and first appeared on the Top500 list in 2021. Their peak computing performance of 12.1 petaflops – approximately three times the capacity of the previous systems used by NOAA – combined with 25 petabytes of storage provided a significant upgrade to the nation’s Weather and Climate Operational Supercomputing System.

“This increased supercomputing power allows for upgrades to specific modeling systems that will help weather forecasters deliver more accurate weather forecasts, watches and warnings and improved certainty in a forecast,” said Ken Graham, director of NOAA’s National Weather Service.

“Timely and accurate weather forecasts and warnings play a fundamental role in protecting the life and property of every American citizen,” said Mariano Alicea, GDIT’s vice president and general manager for aerospace and atmospherics. “As we continue to experience increasingly extreme weather events, every advancement in weather forecasting is critical. This expansion enables the National Weather Service to further improve its forecasts, better respond to severe weather events, and build the nation’s climate resilience.”

GDIT said it also operates supercomputing environments for the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Defense, federal law enforcement agencies, and the state of Alabama.

“These forecasts are critical for public safety and every economic sector in the U.S., including agriculture, transportation, urban planning, air quality monitoring and emergency response management,” GDIT said.

GDIT is a business unit of General Dynamics, a global aerospace and defense company that offers a broad portfolio of products and services in business aviation; ship construction and repair; land combat vehicles, weapons systems and munitions; and technology products and services. General Dynamics employs more than 100,000 people worldwide and generated $39.4 billion in revenue in 2022.