Forecasts to Get a Boost From Upgraded NWS Computer Power

By SETH BORENSTEIN | January 6, 2015

The National Weather Service is about to boost its computing power by more than tenfold, which officials hope will translate to better forecasts.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s two supercomputers will more than triple in computational ability this month and more than triple again by October. Computers will go from now being able to handle 426 trillion operations a second to 5,000 trillion calculations in the fall.

The upgrade costs $44.5 million.

NOAA chief Kathryn Sullivan said it will lead to more reliable, accurate and timely forecasts. The weather service’s main computer forecast model this month will double its resolution for forecasts of less than 10 days.

Jeff Masters, meteorology director of the private company Weather Underground, said this should help U.S. forecasting models catch up with the Europeans.

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