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New Forecast Model at ECMWF

posted 11 Mar 2016, 06:18 by Daniel Thiemert   [ updated 11 Mar 2016, 06:19 ]
On 10 March 2016, ECMWF introduced a new version of its operational model that provides much enhanced horizontal resolution in both forecasts and analyses. The high-resolution single forecast is produced with 9 km global resolution now - the highest available from global operational centres to date (see Press Release). The computational cost of this upgrade is substantial and amounts to a factor of about 3. 

At the same time, ECMWF will receive an upgrade of its high-performance computing resources through the second phase of its Cray contract that has recently been extended by another two years to 2020 (see Press Release). However, this upgrade will only provide an enhancement of computing capabilities by a factor of about 1.5. Part of this contract will be a limited contingent of 32 nodes with Intel Knights Landing processors. In addition, ECMWF has acquired a 34-node cluster with 2 NVIDIA GPGPU processors per node. 

The cost of the forecasting system upgrade clearly highlights the need for energy efficient solutions in key numerical building blocks of weather prediction models as provided by ESCAPE. ECMWF and its partners in ESCAPE will aim to exploit the additional Knights Landing and GPU clusters together with similar type systems available to Bull and NVIDIA. These efforts will allow to implement future upgrades given only slowly increasing resources.