When we talk about weather and climate, are they both the same? The answer is not exactly! Weather is what we are experiencing at the moment. For example, when it is raining, that is the weather. Climate is what is anticipated to occur. For example, the expected climate forecast calls for rain. In other words, conditions are right for rain! This is the climate definition.
Climate change is weather that is forecasted for the long-term. Climate is the average weather over a certain period of time. Climate and weather are kissing cousins in weather forecasting. They both work together to give mankind a head’s up like the sounding of a fire alarm.
Weather is forecasted daily. Its data is provided by global weather stations, weather balloons/satellites, ocean buoys, and supercomputers. The science community has been using these devices for years. Weather and climate forecasting are accomplished both on earth, the stratosphere, and higher in space.
International weather agencies like those in the U.S. share data to predict weather and climate changes. Like the EPA, NASA, NOAA, and other local weather agencies, international weather experts collaborate. They all determine what the weather will be on a particular day and a guestimate of what the climate will be weekly, monthly, and annually.
Climatologists study what the weather will be on any given day so that businesses and people can go about their daily lives safely. Both climate and weather data uses the same weather factors. This includes wind, solar rays, temperature, atmosphere, and precipitation.
In today’s society, we have two sides of what we term “climate change.” There are many popular perceptions of the cause for weather changing around the globe. The reality is that climate change is analytical especially with the weather community offering different theories.
But how do we study climate and weather change? Let’s talk about how supercomputers are used to predict future climate and weather changes. Supercomputers for atmospheric changes are an invaluable tool because they instantly process and analyze climate and weather information to create forecasts.
Equations are fed into supercomputers to determine atmospheric conditions in the near future and in the long-term. The computers are able to approximate what the atmosphere will do before it happens. Amazingly these weather supercomputers give weather climatologists and scientists a data solution in a matter of minutes.
As we see in the newspaper daily, knowing what the future climate forecast will be helps our daily lives. Knowing the weather each day and knowing what the climatic forecast will be helps every industry you can think of. Billions of dollars can be lost in a country due to unanticipated flooding, heavy snowfalls and other climate changes.
Supercomputers are receiving additional funding from governments to update their software and memory capabilities. This is vital because the weather is negatively changing around the world. Receiving atmospheric data as soon as possible by the world community is a necessity.
There are supercomputers in the U.S., Canada, Asia, Europe, and other countries. Presently, the more powerful weather and climate forecasting computer is located in the United Kingdom (UK). The supercomputer in the UK has recently received additional funding.
This financial investment is to vastly upgrade its processing power to more accurately predict storms like those that hit the country in 2018. However, the UK was better prepared because supercomputers within the country and globally forecasted climatic changes.
NOAA in the U.S. is receiving two new supercomputers for weather and climate forecasting capabilities. A primary system will be located in Arizona and a backup system will be installed in Florida. Like other supercomputers internationally, these computers use advanced physics and data assimilation programs. Information is researched to feed into the computers by the Earth Prediction Innovation Center that works with all governments, engineering industries, and educational institutions.
Canada is another country that features one of the larger supercomputers. Shared Services Canada reports that its new supercomputer will feature the ability to process large-scale simulations. Additionally, the computer will be able to track complex weather and climate systems. Supercomputers are ever-evolving. With the advancement of cloud computing and AI technology, these weather systems must be upgraded consistently in order to keep the world and its economy safe.
Germany houses one of the fastest-thinking supercomputers in the world. It is located at the German Climate Computing Center. Supercomputers have become an essential tool for climate forecasting. Germany’s supercomputer can create climate simulations that would take years to calculate on a smaller computer.
Supercomputers are responsible for some of the greatest innovations in modern science. They quantify and analyze heavy-duty mathematical data. Supercomputers have been in existence since the 1990s. At this time, they were a network of small CPU units.
Today, supercomputers are tall and large enough to fit inside a vast warehouse. Their running math data is measured in “FLOPS – Floating Point Operations Per Second.” These computers are also used in the medical community for research purposes.
However, supercomputers are mostly used in weather and climate forecasting. Granted, supercomputers are not 100% accurate. Instead, they can give climatologists and meteorologist results that are closer than anything else at the present. They are designed to give numerical and statistical computations.
Supercomputers, however, are not an exact science. As we saw on TV how the streets in Italy were underwater. You would ask, why didn’t a supercomputer predict this event? If a supercomputer could be completely accurate, it would have to operate at the speed of “Zetta-FLOPS” which is faster than “Peta-FLOPS.” Are faster and more accurate supercomputers around the corner?
Yes, global supercomputer initiatives are being worked on as we speak. Australia’s supercomputer experts state that climate forecasting is a science with random factors. This means that when a supercomputer has provided data of a pending weather event, atmospheric pressure changes suddenly or ocean temperatures change quickly, making this prediction mute. The computers will still give nation’s its best guess (around 75% accuracy) which is far better than what people could forecast.
What we do know is that global weather initiatives will continue to improve weather and climate predictions. Each supercomputer analysis guides us into a more in-depth understanding of climate ideology behavior. Research and supercomputer accuracy will greatly improve our confidence in more accurate future projections.