Japan released August 2022 sky slope. And not for good reasons. After registering downpours the likes of which have not been seen for decades in various parts of the country and rains that discharged almost 150 mm/h, its Meteorological Agency (JMA) chose to declare a state of maximum alert. His great fear: that the storm would end up leading to floods, landslides and overflowing rivers.
The storm in August was perhaps particularly intense, but it was certainly not an exceptional case in Japan, a country used to typhoons and with a subtropical climate that exposes it to torrential rains. The next time you face a similar situation, yes, you will be better prepared: Fujitsu has just delivered a supercomputer system to JMA that seeks to improve its ability to predict downpours. Or, what is the same, the margin of reaction.
Its objective is to anticipate the appearance of “linear rain bands”, cumulonimbus cloud formations that move slowly or even remain for hours over the same area, dumping heavy rains, which can easily drift in turn – as feared by the Japanese authorities in August of last year—in floods or landslides.
Goal: more accurate and faster forecasts
“With the new system, Fujitsu will support the JMA in its efforts to provide more accurate and faster forecasts, which will allow authorities to improve preparation for heavy rain events and offer earlier alterations in case of disasters”, highlights the multinational japanese. The supercomputer also arrives, he assures, when heavy rains represent “a risk growing“.
The system is based on the Fujitsu Supercomputer PRIMEHPC PX1000 hardware, which is powered by the same A46FX CPU as Fugaku, the supercomputer at the Riken Center for Computer Science in Kobe. The Japanese agency has been using Fugaku for more than half a year to develop technology for forecasting, work that can now be used in the new system.
“Achieving a maximum theoretical performance of around 31.1 Petaflops (PFLOPS), the new system will help JMA significantly improve the accuracy of its linear rainband forecast,” Fujitsu said. On a technical level, the supercomputer consists of 24 racks and high-speed storage with a capacity of 42.3 petabytes. The company is confident that it will become one of the 50 best on the planet within the “TOP 500” classification.
To prevent its devices from being damaged by earthquakes or floods, the new system has been installed in a Fujitsu data center prepared for natural disasters. At least until a few days ago, the objective of the multinational was to start operating now at the beginning of march to improve the precision and speed of the forecasts of the Japanese agency. According to Interesting Engineering, the new supercomputer system will be able to anticipate natural disasters between six and 12 hours in advance.
“At present, the results of calculations of a numerical forecast model (mesomodel) with a horizontal resolution of 5 kilometers are mainly used to determine the mid-day advance warning of the possibility of heavy precipitation due to linear precipitation zones, but To improve the accuracy of the forecasts, a supercomputer capable of calculating with a finer resolution has been installed,” the agency itself clarifies.
During this same year, he actually hopes to reach a precision level of 2 km. Looking to the future, he aspires to continue improving his model and reach 1 km.
“We will work to strengthen support for disaster management activities,” guarantees the JMA, which advances that the greater computing power will also revert to information capacity, including notices for each prefecture.
Images: Fujitsu and JMA
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