Access to real-time accurate weather forecasts affects how communities plan for and respond to major weather events like tropical storms, how farmers plan for a drought, and how store owners adjust inventory for a historically cold year.
We enjoy consistent, fairly accurate weather forecasts in the U.S., but similarly accurate weather forecasts are not available in many locations around the globe. In some parts of the world, weather predictions have traditionally been imprecise or delayed, putting families, businesses and communities at risk.
Today on stage at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas , IBM CEO Ginni Rometty and The Weather Company, an IBM subsidiary, announced a powerful new weather system that will run on an IBM POWER9-based supercomputer. This new supercomputer will be able to make accurate local weather forecasts globally, in locations that typically do not have access to these types of detailed forecasts. Now, we will be able to go from weather predictions that had resolution of 12-15 kilometers down to 3 kilometers. And we will have access to weather models that update every hour, as opposed to the 6-12 hours that is the typical frequency in some parts of the globe. IBM is one of the few commercial organizations in the world that can develop both a weather system to run at this global, granular scale, and build the hardware infrastructure to support it.
A system that delivers high-resolution, global, hourly-updating forecast models needs infrastructure that can not only accommodate big data but can also supply massive computing capacity and advanced graphic rendering. This powerful new system is composed of 84 nodes of the IBM Power Systems AC922 server and 3.5 petabytes, or 3.5 quadrillion bytes, of IBM Spectrum Scale Storage. This is the same IBM POWER9 and IBM Storage technology used by the U.S Department of Energy’s supercomputers Summit and Sierra, the most powerful and smartest supercomputers in the world. Predictions from the new system will be made available globally in 2019.