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National Weather Service Upgrades Storm-Tracking Supercomputers

Soulskill posted about 8 months ago | from the maybe-the-weatherman-will-stop-lying-to-me-now dept.

Supercomputing 34

Nerval's Lobster writes "Just in time for hurricane season, the National Weather Service has finished upgrading the supercomputers it uses to track and model super-storms. 'These improvements are just the beginning and build on our previous success. They lay the foundation for further computing enhancements and more accurate forecast models that are within reach,' National Weather Service director Louis W. Uccellini wrote in a statement. The National Weather Service's 'Tide' supercomputer — along with its 'Gyre' backup — are capable of operating at a combined 213 teraflops. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which runs the Service, has asked for funding that would increase that supercomputing power even more, to 1,950 teraflops. The National Weather Service uses that hardware for projects such as the Hurricane Weather Research and Forecasting (HWRF) model, a complex bit of forecasting that allows the organization to more accurately predict storms' intensity and movement. The HWRF can leverage real-time data taken from Doppler radar installed in the NOAA's P3 hurricane hunter aircraft."

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My story... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44440897)

Many months back, I responded to your ad, a lesbian couple looking for a suitor to help procreate a child for you.

I was really just looking to get laid.

We hooked up and did the deed twice at first, and many weeks later, no baby.

We went at it again a few more times, and I definitely did my best to blast off all my batter for y'all.

It was awesome. Your lady sat in on the final session, and it got super erotic/trippy. It has provided me with enough fodder for life.

Still, no baby.

I got fixed a few years back, but I couldn't tell you and pass up such an erotic endeavor. It was the best sex ever, and I definitely thank you.

Again. Thanks. I tried.

Dupe? (3, Interesting)

wrp103 (583277) | about 8 months ago | (#44440923)

Re:Dupe? (2)

Cornwallis (1188489) | about 8 months ago | (#44440985)

Doesn't matter. Their predictions aren't worth what the hardware costs.

Re:Dupe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44442531)

Doesn't matter. Their predictions aren't worth what the hardware costs.

The important thing is, do they run Linux?

Re:Dupe? (1)

davester666 (731373) | about 8 months ago | (#44443511)

Well, now we just need to fire some satellites into space to get the input for these computers to do their work on.

Re:Dupe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44445455)

Oh, really? You think the $50M or so to replace a couple of aging satellites to give the southeastern quadrant
of the country (not to mention our Caribbean possessions and our neighbors) a more adequate tropical storm
warning system isn't worth it?

I don't know what part of the country you live in, but down here in South Florida (which includes the Miami-Fort Lauderdale
metropolitan area, one of the 10 largest in the country), we tend to see things a bit differently. You might not
get hurricanes in Fargo or Billings, but we get them down here and we have the technology, we know how to
make good use of it, and we know how to prepare for a major weather event. So, it's money well spent.

Re:Dupe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44446639)

Why bother? People are just going to sit in their homes and wait for the federal government to come rescue them after the fact anyway. Do this in the southwest, where people will actually use the warning to do something for themselves.

Curses, more Big Government socialism! (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44440983)

This is surely doomed to fail, as yet another example of government waste and excess that only feeds into supporting the 47% who want government handouts so they can live on welfare.

We must free the markets to create a capitalist solution!

Anxiously awaited new feature... (1, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | about 8 months ago | (#44440995)

It'll extend a robotic arm out a window, palm upward and feel for drops of rain.

Further enhancement will extend a wet digit out the window, digit pointed upward, to detect wind direction and velocity.

it done be amazin'!

Re:Anxiously awaited new feature... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44441245)

And we'll call it Cloud Computing!

Re:Anxiously awaited new feature... (4, Interesting)

NoKaOi (1415755) | about 8 months ago | (#44442413)

Spoken by somebody who has not experienced a severe storm. Just 2 days ago we had tropical storm Flossie hit us. The predictions saved *a lot* of damage and maybe lives. It gave time to inform fisherman of the coming ocean conditions. It gave time for first responders and utilities to prepare. It gave me time to secure my home. It turns out that in my area, it didn't last very long but had intense lightning/thunder that shook my house, followed by intense wind that shook my house, and heavy, horizontal rain. I only lost power for about an hour and half and water was unaffected, thanks to the preparations of our utility providers.

Now that said, we didn't know exactly when it would hit or what areas would be affected how much. Were we to have had more precision, we could saved a lot of time and effort in the areas that it didn't hit while focusing on the areas that it did hit. So, while supercomputers are expensive, storm prediction saves more money than it costs [citation needed, I know I know]. If it had been a full on hurricane, then the more precise the prediction the more millions of dollars in damage (not to mention grief and potentially lives) it'll save.

Re:Anxiously awaited new feature... (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 8 months ago | (#44443967)

Were we to have had more precision...

No matter how much precision the forecasters have, there is still an element of randomness.

Do you want a 10% chance of bad things and are well prepared because of it, or 1% of bad things and not at all prepared because of it?

Also, your first responders should always be prepared, right? Sounds to me like you folks have issues with what the responsibilities of first responders are supposed to be. Hint: Its not "be unprepared most of the time."

Re:Anxiously awaited new feature... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44447121)

It takes resources to be prepared for tropical weather. Having an accurate forecast means you aren't constantly disrupting peoples' lives when you have to evacuate flood-prone areas.

Re:Anxiously awaited new feature... (1)

NoKaOi (1415755) | about 8 months ago | (#44467913)

Also, your first responders should always be prepared, right? Sounds to me like you folks have issues with what the responsibilities of first responders are supposed to be. Hint: Its not "be unprepared most of the time."

Wow. So in your area, 100% of your cops, paramedics, firefighters, and utility workers are on duty and working 100% of the time? No off time, no shift changes? I hope they're getting paid very well considering they aren't allowed sleep, have a family life, hobbies, recreation, etc. Your municipality must have lots and lots of extra money to spend on overtime, your property tax must be astronomical. Wasn't there a movie about personnel like that? I think it was called Universal Soldier, and as a recall some of them went insane and started killing innocent people.

If you have every available resource on duty and staged in predetermined areas, you can respond to incidents a lot faster than calling people in from home once the storm actually hits.

hope the weather prediction is better in NYC (2)

alen (225700) | about 8 months ago | (#44441093)

last few months they would be saying at least 80% chance of rain the next day and it would turn out to be sunny. even with major storms coming

i've been using baseball game rainouts in the midwest for my weather planning

Re:hope the weather prediction is better in NYC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44444311)

Chances are they said this on ten different days, and you remember the two times they were wrong. Our minds don't handle probability well.

only God knows where a hurricane will go (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44441175)

no new computins!!!

Would such an upgrade have mitigated Katrina? (1)

bogaboga (793279) | about 8 months ago | (#44441183)

I ask because to me, such exensive upgrades are of no consequence if tragedies like Katrina will still take place and get responded to the way we did.

And we clearly dropped the ball [blogs.com] by exhibiting [our] sheer incompetence to the world.

Re:Would such an upgrade have mitigated Katrina? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44441329)

It did mitigate Katrina.

People in the path had time to get out of the way.

Those that remained were trapped, one way or another, and could not leave.

Without the predictions there would have been a HUGE number of additional fatalities (easily in the 10s of thousands, not just 1,833 ).

Where the incompetence showed up was government response to an emergency.

Don't expect any thing better either.

Re:Would such an upgrade have mitigated Katrina? (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 8 months ago | (#44441449)

Complete bullshit.

In fact, the response to Hurricane Katrina was by far the largest--and fastest-rescue effort in U.S. history, with nearly 100,000 emergency personnel arriving on the scene within three days of the storm's landfall.

http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/environment/natural-disasters/2315076 [popularmechanics.com]

The federal government has almost nothing to do with emergency response. It's idiotic to even suggest they should be involved. Local authorities need to have plans and prepare for such events like Florida does. As a last resort the feds show up when it's an unmitigated disaster. Katrina was a category 1 when it made landfall, New Orleans was completely unprepared. Money for levees, flood walls and other precautions was funneled by local politicians to casinos and other local business projects.

Re:Would such an upgrade have mitigated Katrina? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44446827)

New Orleans did have a plan for exactly this event. It was available on the N.O. dept. of homeland security web site in PDF form at the time. It was not even kinda followed. The Nagin crony appointed to head up DHS apparently thought the position was a sinecure.

NWS Upgrades Duplicate Article Generator (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44441305)

National Weather Service Upgrades Duplicate Article Generator

ANNAPOLIS, MD (AP) -- July 31, 2013

The National Weather Service (NWS) announced that they are upgrading their duplicate article generator, a source of much embarrassment on Slashdot.

"The Europeans were laughing at us," said James Robert Duncan, the man with three first names who runs the National Hurricane Predictor (NAHUPRE) program at NWS. "They were getting more accurate predictions for our storms than we were. We had to do something."

With the help of Congressional redistricting, they got the funding they needed by agreeing to store unspecified chemical waste from three nearby fertilizer plants. "By God and country, we will fill our homes with toxic goo if it means people will stop laughing," said Jim-Bob, "and now we can definitely guarantee at least three submissions to the front page on Slashdot daily about our new article generator."

The National Weather Service was established in 1948 to replace the American Weather Service, an elite cadre of fighter pilots whose ambitions would not be held back by the ending of the Second World War. The National Weather Service no longer performs military operations but is instead a satellite operator and research facility with only limited oversight of international countersupervillainry.

Money Saving Idea! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44441687)

Let's shut down supercomputer(s) used for US domestic surveillance and give it (them) to NOAA. Two birds, meet your stone!

Libertarianism Yay! (-1, Flamebait)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 8 months ago | (#44441765)

Fortunately, the next President of the United States, Rand Paul, will defund the National Weather Service, since it violates the true intent of the Cosntitution. That way the country will be depopulated of millions of black col.... err I mean welfare recipients and Latin.... er I mean illegal immigrants, and Anglo-Sax... er, I mean right and true taxpayers will be left to lick my love pu.... er celebrate their freedom!

Re:Libertarianism Yay! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44444337)

(^ but don't worry, libertarianism isn't racist in any way whatsoever. nope, not one bit.)

Bigger is better (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44442657)

A bigger computer helps a lot, because when the forecaster stands on top of it he can see further, and get a better idea of what weather is coming.

"asked for funding" - good luck with that. (0)

Insightfill (554828) | about 8 months ago | (#44445465)

From TFA:

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which runs the Service, has asked for funding that would increase that supercomputing power even more...

In our current political 'climate', I don't see that happening. Things seem to be run by a group of people who disbelieves all science, and another group who thinks that all government spending is bad, and a significant overlap between them.

As a sibling post has said, we've got enough trouble getting them to pay for replacing dying weather satellites.

All while trying to kill student loans and a health care plan which both MAKE MONEY, all in the name of saving money.

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