The amount of data encompassed by the global climate in its entirety, from its winds and temperature conditions to shifting formations of cloud, is almost unimaginably complex. Layer in the ever-evolving small- and large-scale interactions involved, and the thought of creating a model of the entire Earth system seems beyond possibility. That is, until recent HPC-powered simulations reached a level of accuracy in many ways “indistinguishable from nature.” This image shows the cloud field from a global simulation of the atmosphere, at 7 km resolution, meaning that the model simulates the winds, the temperature and clouds, and all their interactions, everything that happens in the atmosphere, in little cells 7 km on side. For an image of the size you now see on your screen, that is below the threshold of human vision.
So explains Venkatramani Balaji, Head of the Modeling Systems Group in Princeton’s Program in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory. For more than 20 years, Balaji’s work has centered on building ever-more-sophisticated models of the Earth’s atmospheric conditions.