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On the Hill/Around the Nation
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Monday, September 14, 2009
feature story
NOAA’s Powerful New Supercomputers Boost U.S. Weather Forecasts

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has completed implementation of the final phase of a nine year, $180 million contract by installing the newest generation of IBM supercomputers for weather and climate prediction. The primary system, “Stratus,” and its backup, “Cirrus,” will allow NOAA to run more complex models in an effort to improve forecast accuracy and extend watch and warning lead times for severe weather, including hurricanes, tornadoes, air quality, wildfires, floods, tsunamis, and winter storms.

“This new technology will provide us with more sophisticated models of the earth’s land, ocean, and atmosphere, giving meteorologists better accuracy and precision in both long-term and short-term forecasting,” said Jack Hayes, director of NOAA’s National Weather Service. “More accurate weather forecasts allow the National Weather Service to warn individual citizens and whole communities about impending dangerous weather well in advance so they can take action to protect lives and property.”

The new supercomputers, based on IBM Power 575 Systems, are four times faster than the previous system, with the ability to make 69.7 trillion calculations per second. Higher computation speed allows meteorologists to rapidly refine and update severe weather forecasts as dangerous weather develops and threatens U.S. communities.  Billions of bytes of weather observations are fed into the system each day, including temperature, wind, precipitation, atmospheric pressure, and other oceanographic and satellite information taken from the ground, air, sea, and space.

Interesting facts about Stratus:

  • The microprocessors inside Stratus contain 2,000 miles of copper wiring, enough to stretch from Washington, D.C. to the Grand Canyon.
  • It would take one person with a calculator 3 million years to tabulate the number of calculations that Stratus can perform in a single second.
  • Stratus would fit in 1/2 the size of a tennis court.
  • Stratus is 34 times more powerful than the most powerful supercomputer in existence a decade ago.

NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages coastal and marine resources. Visit http://www.noaa.gov.



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On the Hill/Around the Nation

09.14.09
Department of Commerce Event on New Environmental Products and Services
The U.S. Department of Commerce will host an event for U.S. government officials and industry participants September 29, 2009, in Washington, D.C. to highlight new environmental products and services to help solve current environmental issues such as climate change, clean air, and growing water scarcity, and to discuss their importance to the sector, and potential policy interactions.

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International News

09.14.09
2010 CANENA Conference: Energy Efficiency & Electrical Safety—Priorities for the Americas
CANENA (Council for Harmonization of Electrotechnical Standards of the Nations of the Americas), along with INTECO (Instítuto de Normas Tecnicas de Costa Rica), and BUN-CA (Regional Cooperation for Energy Efficiency in Central America), invites you to participate in a three-day conference, March 2-4, 2010, in San José, Costa Rica.

09.10.09
South Africa Extends Timeframe for Renewable Energy Policy Review to February
The Renewable Energy Market Transformation Implementation Support Unit (REMT-ISU), which is a joint initiative of the World Bank and the Department of Energy, announced that the planned completion date for the project had been extended to February 2010 in order to accommodate concerns raised over tight project timelines.

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Market Comments by Tom Robinson
Well we have been wrong about the sustained strength of this rally in equities. It started at a multiple on the S&P of roundly 12x normalized earnings and is now at somewhere around 18x. If companies with negative earnings were removed from the index I’m told the multiple would be about 15x. read more...

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