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Primeur weekly 2015-05-11

Special

German Tier 2 supercomputer centres should form a collaboration network for High-Performance Computing ...

The Cloud

ANSYS 16.1 delivers enterprise simulation On The Cloud ...

IBM Watson establishes hybrid Cloud capabilities to accelerate new insights for the enterprise ...

HP and SAP accelerate journey to SAP S/4HANA on HP Helion managed Cloud ...

Industrial virtual factory lowers costs and reduces emissions ...

HP makes performance and load testing solutions available on the Microsoft Azure Marketplace ...

EuroFlash

High Performance computing element of the European Commission's new Digital Single Market Strategy for Europe ...

Biologists are increasingly becoming data scientists ...

Announcing the Hans Meuer Award winning Research Paper ...

ADVA Optical Networking launches ConnectGuard for ultimate data protection ...

German researchers use IBM Big Data solution to manage world's largest trove of climate data ...

15 million euro boost for European astronomy ...

USFlash

Gartner names CoolIT Systems a Cool Vendor in Data Center Management, Power and Cooling Report ...

University of Arkansas acquires new supercomputer for research support ...

OpenMP 4.0 examples published ...

Cray names Nick Gorga to Vice President of Asia Pacific Sales ...

Cray reports first quarter financial results ...

Cray Urika-XA system wins Best of Show Award at Bio-IT World ...

Purdue's eighth supercomputing cluster in eight years not quite 'minute' Rice, but built in a day ...

UT Austin researchers use supercomputing to assess the impact of climate change on the country's growing season ...

IBM Watson Health, Epic and Mayo Clinic to unlock new insights from electronic health records ...

Scientists get ultra-fast and robust network across the Atlantic Ocean ...

Nepal disaster relief efforts to be aided by glacier researchers ...

Clinicians tap Watson to accelerate DNA analysis and inform personalized treatment options for patients ...

New chip architecture may provide foundation for quantum computer ...

The next step in DNA computing: GPS mapping? ...

IBM unveils Power Systems solutions to support SAP HANA ...

UT Austin researchers use supercomputing to assess the impact of climate change on the country's growing season


11 May 2015 Austin - Malawi, a small landlocked country in southeast Africa, is home to 13 million people and is one of the least-developed countries in the world. As a nation that relies on subsistence farming, its security is highly dependent on rain-fed agriculture, including the crops maize, rice, and sweet potatoes. Changes in rainfall patterns associated with climate change can be devastating to people living in the country, leading to food crises, famines, and loss of life.

Two researchers at the University of Texas at Austin, Kerry Cook and Edward (Ned) Vizy, are dedicated to understanding how climate change and climate variability will impact Malawi and other regions throughout Africa. By running regional climate models, Kerry Cook and Edward Vizy are examining Africa's diverse climate zones, ranging from the monsoon regions in West Africa and the Horn of Africa to the central tropics to the desert region in the north.

"Africa is particularly vulnerable to climate change", Kerry Cook stated. "For instance, if the Sahel region experienced a drought like the current droughts in Texas and California, millions of people would die. And with global warming, we can expect more of these extreme events, like droughts and intense rainfall. Our hope is that with a better understanding through modelling, we can help improve prediction and planning."

Kerry Cook and Edward Vizy's findings on how climate change will impact Malawi's agricultural growing season were recently published in the journalClimate Dynamics. Using data from a report on future climate from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Assessment Report 5 (IPCC AR5) to help drive their regional climate model simulations, the two researchers found that it is likely the growing season will be shorter, and there will be an earlier end of the growing season by the mid 21st century.

To develop a holistic view of how climate conditions affect the growing season, Kerry Cook and Edward Vizy partnered with a team of social scientists and researchers at the University of Malawi. While the ground team worked to gather data from local farmers, Kerry Cook and Edward Vizy ran climate models to examine changes to the growing season through the mid to late 21st century.

"First, we run a control simulation for the present day (1989-2008), so we can evaluate the model by checking it against actual data to assess the model's strengths and weaknesses", Edward Vizy stated. "Then we run the model for 20 year time slice periods, 2041-2060 and 2081-2100, to get an overview of how climate will change in the region." The researchers are long-time users of resources at the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC), which enables them to run their models and store data. Based on the laws of physics, the models calculate properties of the components that affect climate including heat energy, precipitation, and dynamics of the atmosphere.

"Our simulations are governed by seven differential equations that are solved simultaneously for each grid point at time steps of three to five minutes", Kerry Cook stated. "We're also not just simulating at surface level conditions but 20 to 30 levels into the atmosphere. Then, we'll run the model for 20 to 30 years to look at climate - it's a very big calculation and why we need TACC."

TACC's Stampede supercomputer allowed the researchers to address a major challenge in climate science - obtaining higher resolutions with modelling. Climate models rely on grids of cells to provide a snapshot of the climate in a particular region. The closer the grid points, the more regional climate-related information the model is able to provide. For instance, many of the IPCC AR5 global climate models use spatial resolutions 100 kilometers or coarser. This distance does not allow the global models to adequately resolve regional topography or the physical processes involved in intense rainfall, as these convective systems mainly operate on spatial scales of less than 10 kilometers.

"TACC has enabled us to attain a much finer resolution - on some simulations the distance between grid points is only three kilometers", Kerry Cook stated. "This allows us to better understand the physical processes that influence climate and helps us build confidence in our model projections."

If Kerry Cook and Edward Vizy's projections on how climate change will impact Malawi's growing season are true, it could mean that current crop types may be unsustainable using rain-fed agricultural practices alone. It also suggests the need to begin adaptation planning to help mitigate the effect of global warming.

With funding from NASA, the duo are also diving deeper into climate by pairing their regional model of the atmosphere with oceanic models. Understanding how ocean currents and the atmosphere interact have important implications for upwelling, a phenomenon where cold water draws up nutrients, attracting fish, and generating a massive fishing industry on the coast of west Africa and other places around the world.

Stated Edward Vizy: "We're taking our work to the next level to understand how the ocean responds to changes in the atmosphere to get a more complete understanding of how the planet's climate system is redistributing heat and energy."
Source: University of Texas at Austin - Texas Advanced Computing Center - TACC

Back to Table of contents

Primeur weekly 2015-05-11

Special

German Tier 2 supercomputer centres should form a collaboration network for High-Performance Computing ...

The Cloud

ANSYS 16.1 delivers enterprise simulation On The Cloud ...

IBM Watson establishes hybrid Cloud capabilities to accelerate new insights for the enterprise ...

HP and SAP accelerate journey to SAP S/4HANA on HP Helion managed Cloud ...

Industrial virtual factory lowers costs and reduces emissions ...

HP makes performance and load testing solutions available on the Microsoft Azure Marketplace ...

EuroFlash

High Performance computing element of the European Commission's new Digital Single Market Strategy for Europe ...

Biologists are increasingly becoming data scientists ...

Announcing the Hans Meuer Award winning Research Paper ...

ADVA Optical Networking launches ConnectGuard for ultimate data protection ...

German researchers use IBM Big Data solution to manage world's largest trove of climate data ...

15 million euro boost for European astronomy ...

USFlash

Gartner names CoolIT Systems a Cool Vendor in Data Center Management, Power and Cooling Report ...

University of Arkansas acquires new supercomputer for research support ...

OpenMP 4.0 examples published ...

Cray names Nick Gorga to Vice President of Asia Pacific Sales ...

Cray reports first quarter financial results ...

Cray Urika-XA system wins Best of Show Award at Bio-IT World ...

Purdue's eighth supercomputing cluster in eight years not quite 'minute' Rice, but built in a day ...

UT Austin researchers use supercomputing to assess the impact of climate change on the country's growing season ...

IBM Watson Health, Epic and Mayo Clinic to unlock new insights from electronic health records ...

Scientists get ultra-fast and robust network across the Atlantic Ocean ...

Nepal disaster relief efforts to be aided by glacier researchers ...

Clinicians tap Watson to accelerate DNA analysis and inform personalized treatment options for patients ...

New chip architecture may provide foundation for quantum computer ...

The next step in DNA computing: GPS mapping? ...

IBM unveils Power Systems solutions to support SAP HANA ...