Using the National Science Foundation-supported Stampede supercomputer, Fuging Zhang re-forecast the more than 100 tropical storms that occurred between 2008-2012, applying his new method. He showed that the new system reduces Day-2-to-Day-5 intensity forecast errors by 25 percent compared to the National Hurricane Center's official forecasts. The simulations are described in detail in a research paper in theBulletin of the American Meteorological Society.
A more accurate prediction system will allow emergency management officials, the private sector, and the general public to make more informed decisions during major storms, minimizing the losses of life and property.
In order to assimilate large amounts of Doppler radar data and merge it with physical models of hurricane formation and information about historical precedents, Fuging Zhang made extensive use of Stampede and its advanced technologies.
"The increased computing power of Stampede has allowed us to run numerous sensitivity experiments for hurricane models at a higher resolution, allowing us to see details more clearly", Fuging Zhang stated. "Especially for the hybrid data assimilation system, the improved computational performance of Stampede over previous supercomputer platforms gives us more flexibility in configuring the domain size and grid spacing that will be used."
The methodology of incorporating airborne Doppler measurements was fully adopted by NOAA's operational hurricane prediction model in 2013. This breakthrough in hurricane prediction recently received the 2014 Banner Miller Award bestowed by the American Meteorological Society.