French IT specialist Atos has won a seven-year multi-million-dollar deal to supply, install, and operate a supercomputing system, based on its BullSequana XH2000 architecture, for the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI).
Once operational, the BullSequana system will increase FMI’s computing power four-fold and will enable it to provide its clients with enhanced and more precise and reliable forecasting information.
The new supercomputer will be used in different areas of numerical weather prediction (NWP) including short-range weather forecasting and nowcasting (forecasting on a period of up to nine hours). It will also increase the accuracy and ability to determine the intensity of severe weather events long before they occur. It will be used to run atmospheric and oceanic computing models such as the HARMONIE-Arome NWP model developed by ACCORD consortium (in cooperation with the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF)) which is FMI’s most computationally demanding and most time-critical workload.
The new supercomputer will enhance the operational NWP collaboration between Norway, Sweden, Estonia and Finland (MetCoOp), in which all the members jointly run a weather forecasting model, to provide the best possible short-range weather forecasts for the region. This shared operational implementation of the HARMONIE-Arome weather model (called MEPS) looks at several forecasts – one of which is run on the FMI system – rather than one single forecast, to predict the probability of extreme weather more effectively.
The BullSequana XH2000 supercomputer is set to be installed in early 2023.
Sami Niemelä, director at FMI, said, “Thanks to this investment, we will now be able to improve the horizontal resolution of our NWP model from 2.5km to 1.3km, which enhances the skill and reliability of prediction and reduces the biases, meaning more accurate information to strengthen our weather warnings, to ensure a weather-ready Nordic society, enhancing safety and security for our citizens.”
Emmanuel Le Roux, group senior vice president, global head of HPC, AI and Quantum at Atos, added, “Weather prediction requires a huge amount of computing power and with our BullSequana XH2000, equipped with the latest generation AMD’s EPYC 7003 processors and NVIDIA HDR InfiniBand, FMI will be able to increase its computing capacity to deliver significant improvements in numerical weather predictions.”