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Evolving NASA’s Data and Information Systems for Earth Science

Rahul Ramachandran from NASA gave this talk at the HPC User Forum. “NASA’s Earth Science Division (ESD) missions help us to understand our planet’s interconnected systems, from a global scale down to minute processes. ESD delivers the technology, expertise and global observations that help us to map the myriad connections between our planet’s vital processes and the effects of ongoing natural and human-caused changes.”

Video: Petascale Supercomputing for Space-Based Earth Science

“We have made substantial progress towards three transformative contributions: (1) we are the first team to formally link high-resolution astrodynamics design and coordination of space assets with their Earth science impacts within a Petascale “many-objective” global optimization framework, (2) we have successfully completed the largest Monte Carlo simulation experiment for evaluating the required satellite frequencies and coverage to maintain acceptable global forecasts of terrestrial hydrology (especially in poorer countries), and (3) we have evaluated the limitations and vulnerabilities of the full suite of current satellite precipitation missions including the recently approved Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission. This work illustrates the tradeoffs and consequences of a collapse in the current portfolio of rainfall missions.

Supercomputing the Clues to Hotspot Volcanos

Researchers are using supercomputers at to detect previously unknown channels of slow-moving seismic waves in Earth’s upper mantle. This discovery helps to explain how “hotspot volcanoes”—the kind that give birth to island chains like Hawaii and Tahiti—come to exist.

Simulating the Earth’s Core with the Cray XE6 Monte Rosa

Researchers at ETH Zurich and the University of Leeds are using supercomputers to learn why the Earth’s magnetic field moves gradually westward.