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HOUSTON, Texas, Oct. 18, 2021 — Hewlett Packard Enterprise announced that it has built a new supercomputer for the National Center of Meteorology (NCM) to advance weather forecasting and overall climate research, for the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

NCM’s new supercomputer, which it has named “Atmosphere,” is built using the HPE Cray EX, an end-to-end high performance computing (HPC) liquid-cooled platform that has been customized to deliver advanced performance spanning compute with 2nd Gen AMD EPYC processors, accelerated compute using the NVIDIA A100 Tensor Core GPUs, software, storage and networking. The combined technologies help NCM’s researchers improve modeling, simulation, artificial intelligence and deep learning capabilities to process complex data, increase accuracy, and predict weather events faster.

“HPE-powered supercomputers support the majority of the world’s weather forecasting needs, whether it is to improve predictability of a hurricane’s landfall or to anticipate the spread and impact of wildfires. World-leading organizations such as the National Center for Meteorology (NCM), apply the power of supercomputing to gain insights on weather and climate that are critical to decision-making and ensuring local and national safety,” said Bill Mannel, vice president and general manager, High Performance Computing, at HPE. “We are honored to have been selected by NCM to build its Atmosphere supercomputer, customized with powerful, end-to-end high performance computing (HPC) solutions, to further its mission in making breakthroughs in weather and climate intelligence and provide real-time analysis for the United Arab Emirates.”

United Arab Emirates Gains Better Weather Forecasting with Faster Performance

To support ongoing weather forecasting needs for the UAE, NCM uses numerical weather prediction modeling software, such as the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model and COSMO (Consortium for Small-scale Modeling), which leverage physics and dynamics based models of the atmosphere and oceans to simulate and predict weather conditions.

With the new Atmosphere supercomputer—which will deliver faster performance than NCM’s existing system—the runtime of simulations running on these models will decrease by up to 200% on WRF and up to 300% on COSMO, significantly speeding time-to-insight on weather predictions. NCM runs these simulations to generate real-time weather analysis across a number of national and regional services for the UAE, including:

  • Aviation safety to guide pilots during take-offs and landings at airports, which is supported by more than 100 UAE 24-hour airport weather monitoring stations that issue forecasts, weather data, and warnings such as heavy winds, rain, and turbulence. 
  • Preparation for tropical storms can be predicted by simulating atmospheric activity using patterns of previous storm events and augmented by applying AI capabilities.

“We are proud to collaborate with the National Center for Meteorology (NCM) to build its Atmosphere supercomputer,” said Ahmad Alkhallafi, managing director at HPE UAE. “Equipping our partners and customers with capabilities to accelerate their digital transformation journey and unlock value, is core to our mission at HPE. With our latest development with NCM, HPE furthers its commitment to the UAE and its people by delivering an innovative yet sustainable system that supports NCM with weather forecasting faster than ever.”

“At the National Center for Meteorology (NCM), we are dedicated to providing the United Arab Emirates with operational weather forecasting to provide real-time forecasts and alerts that inform local governments and citizens, and most importantly, help ensure safety. We are also committed to gaining a deeper understanding of the climate and its complex patterns, and to develop innovative technologies that can increase sustainability,” said His Excellency Dr. Abdulla Al Mandous, director general of NCM and president of the Regional Association II (Asia) of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). “With Atmosphere, we collaborated with HPE to design a significantly more performant supercomputer with targeted capabilities in modeling, simulation and artificial intelligence, to accelerate weather and climate insights and advance our nation’s overall R&D. By hosting this state-of-the-art supercomputer, the UAE is now the first country to operate the most powerful liquid-cooled system, based on the HPE Cray EX, for national weather centers across the Middle East and Africa.”

Inside Atmosphere, the UAE’s New, Powerful Weather Forecasting System

The NCM Atmosphere is built and powered by two HPE Cray EX cabinets, which are purpose-built HPC systems designed specifically to deliver advanced, scalable performance from petaflop to exaflop, with the world’s most energy-efficient footprint. Atmosphere will deliver faster performance at a theoretical peak performance of 2.8 petaflops, while enabling more energy efficiency using HPE Cray EX’s liquid-cooling capabilities.

Additionally, HPE has integrated the following powerful, end-to-end HPC technologies in the design and build of NCMS’ Atmospheric:

NCM’s Atmosphere will go into production by the end of 2021. To learn more about NCM research and services, please visit:

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