Analyzing climate changes with Arctur-1 supercomputer
In the past couple of years there has been an ever increasing incidence of extreme weather conditions and natural disasters. Could any of these events be predicted? Can we use modern technology to better predict the future, based on experiences from the past?
For years climatologists, in collaboration with experts from other fields, have been studying long-term climate patterns and variations by collecting physical climate data and analyzing multiple factors such as greenhouse gases, solar flares and volcanic activity. Modern technologies such as HPC (High Performance Computing) have increased the accuracy and efficiency with which climatologists can make predictions through complex computer simulations and models which enable them to study how local (or continental) climate varies over time. By combining the models of various research groups, they can model, analyze and predict the global climate.
The Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) has recently developed the fourth generation of their software for simulating climate changes RegCM. Between the 7th and 18th of May 2012, ICTP hosted the 6th Workshop on the Theory and Use of Regional Climate Models. This year’s workshop focused on the importance of integrating various components of the climatic system which have an impact on climate change. Modern software for climatic modeling (including RegCM) takes into account the effects from oceans, atmosphere or biosphere etc.
The ICTP Regional Climatic Model (RegCM) is the first limited area model developed for long term regional climate simulation, which evolved from its first version developed in the late eighties, to the RegCM 4.3 which will be released soon after the end of the 2012 workshop. In the last couple of years the model, which has been steadily growing all throughout, has undergone a major rewrite and update to meet the demands of its users and developments in HPC.
Arctur, the leading Slovenian provider of HPC, sponsored the workshop with its supercomputer Arctur-1. In cooperation with their partners from eXact lab (Trieste) and ICTP researchers, RegCM4 was installed on Arctur-1. It was accessible to project participants for the duration of the workshop, with organized visits to the supercomputing centre for participants.
“It is a pleasure for us to work with such an eminent institution as the ICTP, especially with its international centre for climate changes within the Department of Earth System Physics, which brings together experts from the whole world. We are particularly pleased to support the simulations of ten scientists form Brazil, China, Croatia, Ethiopia, France, India, Italy, Mexico and the US, who will both try out the supercomputer and the new software,” said Arctur's CEO Tomi Ilijaš.
“eXact lab, a young company with its core business in advanced computational services, is eager to cooperate with Arctur in providing user support at the RegCM workshop. Our team is actively involved in the ReGCM package development effort from the computational point of view,” said Stefano Cozzini, co-founder of eXact lab. “The cross-border collaboration between Arctur and eXact lab is the first example of positive interactions between innovative SME enterprises in Slovenia and the FVG region in the area of High Performance Computing."
Modern technology will enable us to look ever more into the future, at least with respect to climate changes, but we will also have to begin taking more responsible care for our environment in order to prevent more serious consequences in the future.