National Center of Meteorology Deploys New Supercomputer to Advance Weather Forecasting

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  • ‘Atmosphere’ supercomputer built by Hewlett Packard Enterprise to make NCM’s weather prediction by 300% faster and bolsters R&D using advanced modeling, simulations, and artificial intelligence capabilities
  • UAE becomes first country in Middle East and Africa to use liquid cooled HPE Cray EX Supercomputer in weather applications
His Excellency Dr. Abdulla Al Mandous, Director General of NCM and President of the Regional Association II (Asia) of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO)

Abu Dhabi, UAE:  The National Center of Meteorology (NCM) announced the launch of a new supercomputer built by Hewlett Packard Enterprise to advance weather forecasting and overall climate research.

Named ‘Atmosphere’, NCM’s new supercomputer is built using the HPE Cray EX system, an end-to-end high performance computing (HPC) liquid-cooled platform that has been customized to deliver advanced performance spanning compute, accelerated compute, software, storage and networking. The combined technologies help NCM’s researchers improve modeling, simulation, artificial intelligence and deep learning capabilities to process complex data, increase accuracy, and predict weather events faster.

His Excellency Dr. Abdulla Al Mandous, Director General of NCM and President of the Regional Association II (Asia) of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), said: “At the National Center of Meteorology (NCM), we are dedicated to providing the UAE with operational weather forecasting to provide real-time forecasts and alerts that inform local entities and citizens, and most importantly, help ensure safety. We are also committed to gaining a deeper understanding of the climate and its complex patterns, and to developing innovative technologies that can increase sustainability,”

Al Mandous added: “With Atmosphere, we collaborated with HPE to design a significantly more performant supercomputer with targeted capabilities in modeling, simulation and artificial intelligence, to accelerate weather and climate insights and advance our nation’s overall R&D. By hosting this state-of-the-art supercomputer, the UAE is now the first country to operate the most powerful liquid-cooled system, based on the HPE Cray EX, for national weather centers across the Middle East and Africa.”

For his part, Bill Mannel, Vice President and General Manager, High Performance Computing, at HPE said: “HPE-powered supercomputers support the majority of the world’s weather forecasting needs, whether it is to improve predictability of a hurricane’s landfall or to anticipate the spread and impact of wildfires. World-leading organizations such as the National Center of Meteorology apply the power of supercomputing to gain insights on weather and climate that are critical to decision-making and ensuring local and national safety.”

He added: “We are honored to have been selected by NCM to build its Atmosphere supercomputer, customized with powerful, end-to-end high performance computing (HPC) solutions, to further its mission in making breakthroughs in weather and climate intelligence and provide real-time analysis for the UAE.”

“We are proud to collaborate with the National Center for Meteorology (NCM) to build its Atmosphere supercomputer,” said Ahmad Alkhallafi, managing director at HPE UAE. “Equipping our partners and customers with capabilities to accelerate their digital transformation journey and unlock value, is core to our mission at HPE. With our latest development with NCM, HPE furthers its commitment to the UAE and its people by delivering an innovative yet sustainable system that supports NCM with weather forecasting faster than ever.”

To support ongoing weather forecasting needs for the UAE, NCM uses a numerical weather prediction modeling software, such as the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model and Consortium for Small-scale Modeling (COSMO), which leverage physics and dynamics based models of the atmosphere and oceans to simulate and predict weather conditions.

With the new Atmosphere supercomputer, which will deliver faster performance than NCM’s existing system, the runtime of simulations running on these models will decrease by up to 200% on WRF and up to 300% on COSMO, significantly speeding time-to-insight on weather predictions.