NCAR formalizes computing and modeling collaboration with the German Weather Service

By Brian Bevirt
10/06/2008 - 12:00am


CISL Director Al Kellie (standing) facilitated the agreement between the German Weather Service, represented by Professor Hoffmann (left) and NCAR, represented by Dr. Barron (right). Click on image to enlarge.

Professor Geerd-Ruediger Hoffmann of the Deutscher Wetterdienst in the Federal Republic of Germany and Dr. Eric Barron of NCAR signed a formal information-sharing collaboration for Joint Scientific Activities in areas related to procuring and operating supercomputing systems and for developing world-class weather and climate models. Activities under this Framework Agreement will maximize benefits to both institutions by intensifying their prior cooperation. Under this agreement, the collaborating institutions will carry out joint projects, ventures, and tasks to advance the effectiveness of their supercomputing, modeling, and data archival efforts. Scientifically useful results will be published, and joint achievements will be documented for the research and operational forecasting communities.

Dr. Barron is Director of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), a U.S.-based research institute dedicated to exploring and understanding the Earth's atmosphere and its interactions with the Sun, the oceans, the biosphere, and human society. NCAR procures and operates world-class supercomputers to model weather and climate, along with a world-leading data storage system for model output, observational data, and an invaluable research archive of atmospheric, oceanic, and solar data.

Professor Hoffmann is Director of Technical Infrastructure and Operations at Deutscher Wetterdienst (DWD). Operating under the German Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs, DWD is a scientific agency that monitors and forecasts meteorological conditions over Germany. It offers weather services for the public and additional services for nautical, aviation, and agricultural purposes. DWD also promotes scientific knowledge in meteorology through research and development activities. Operating one of Germany's top ten largest computing centers, DWD notifies constituents of weather-related dangers and monitors and evaluates changes in the German climate. DWD operates the national climate archive and runs one of the world's largest libraries specializing in weather and climate.

DWD's supercomputing center functions primarily for operational weather forecasting, and NCAR supercomputing focuses on climate and weather research. The equipment operated by the two institutions is different, so closer cooperation is intended to bring helpful perspectives to both parties. The new agreement specifies many themes of cooperation and information exchange, including:

  • Evaluating new technologies in high-performance computing and storage systems
  • Acquiring and operating high-performance cyberinfrastructure
  • Optimizing resources to increase efficiency and lower operating costs
  • Developing and harmonizing data access interfaces
  • Developing numerical methods for weather and climate modeling, including:
       •  Developing and integrating dynamical cores for non-hydrostatic models
       •  Explicit forecasting of deep convection
       •  Parameterizing microphysical processes of warm rain
       •  Parameterizing microphysical processes of ice formation
       •  Optimizing ensemble data assimilation techniques

Partnerships such as this advance NCAR's international role as an integrator, innovator, and community builder. NCAR contributes to the development of a predictive Earth system science that can help sustain Earth's habitability, improve environmental quality, safeguard human health, reduce the impacts of natural disasters, and increase economic productivity.