Supercomputer Reproduces a Cyclone’s Birth, May Boost Forecasting.

NASA News (07/21/10) Cook-Anderson, Gretchen

University of Maryland (UMD) research scientist Bo-wen Shen used the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Pleiades supercomputer and atmospheric data to create the first computer model to replicate the formation of a tropical cyclone five days in advance. Shen’s computer model could improve the understanding of the predictability of tropical cyclones. “To do hurricane forecasting, what’s really needed is a model that can represent the initial weather conditions–air movements and temperatures, and precipitation–and simulate how they evolve and interact globally and locally to set a cyclone in motion,” Shen says. He used actual data from the 2008 tropical cyclone Nargis, along with the new model to develop insights into the dynamics of weather conditions over time and across different areas that generate storms. “In the last few years, high-resolution global modeling has evolved our understanding of the physics behind storms and its interaction with atmospheric conditions more rapidly than in the past several decades combined,” Shen says.

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