Can Supercomputers Help with Climate Change?

Kenna Castleberry

Climate change has made a big splash in recent headlines due to the extreme weather occurring globally. From rain to droughts to hurricanes, climate change has made a large impact on our society. Understanding how climate change can affect our daily weather patterns can be much harder to explain. Thanks to supercomputers, we may be better able to understand this important relationship through advanced modeling.

At Stony Brook University’s Institute of Advanced Computational Science (IACS), a team of researchers has been developing a model for a supercomputer to use to better resolve cloud data and images. With higher resolution comes more accuracy in weather forecasting, as well as a better understanding of the impacts of climate change. This new model maps out 3D equations of air motion, which contributes to cloud formation. Currently, these cloud models are costly to run on supercomputers, as they need more computing power. For daily weather forecasts, hopefully, these costs will go down, as supercomputers can significantly enhance resolution, even up to a 4 km area of clouds.

Other companies are using supercomputers to save lives threatened by extreme weather. Lenovo has teamed up with the Malaysian Meteorological Department and ClimEx (a collaboration between German and Canadian supercomputing companies) to help pinpoint where and when extreme weather may hit. Lenovo’s own supercomputers get the cloud resolution down to a 3 km square area, which is helpful in giving warnings to people in the local vicinity. By using supercomputers, Lenovo and its team can reduce global damages and save lives. This system can also help scientists to better understand the patterns of severe weather that are being caused by climate change.

Understanding the weather patterns of climate change can help scientists to develop methods of mitigation. From this research global policies can be developed, and we can work on securing a better future.

References:

“If You Can Predict It, You Can Plan for It: Supercomputing and AI Can Help Us Get Years ahead of Extreme Weather.” 2020. Lenovo StoryHub. September 22, 2020.

Jochum, Glenn. 2019. “Supercomputer Cloud Modeling Could Help to Predict Climate Change |.” SBU News. May 13, 2019.

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