Supercomputer Dissects Earth’s Atmosphere

This image, released by NASA, was created by a supercomputer designed to model aerosols in the Earth’s atmosphere.

It shows how dust, sea salt, smoke and sulphates travel – and could dramatically improve weather forecasts:

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The NASA image shows aerosols in the atmosphere. Dust (red) is lifted from the surface, sea salt (blue) swirls inside cyclones, smoke (green) rises from fires, and sulfate particles (white) stream from volcanoes and fossil fuel emissions.

The main reason in developing a high-resolution atmosphere model is to study the role of weather in Earth’s climate system. Having seen the devastation of Hurricane Sandy first-hand, I can say for certainty that we are massively under estimating the power of mother nature. It took over 100 years for a storm as powerful Sandy to hit landfall in New York City and Long Island, and it was glaringly obvious we weren’t as prepared as we could be. Running climate simulations like this might save a few more lives in the future if we can better prepare and plan for natural disasters in highly populated regions.

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Dust, in red, swirls over Europe, while close to the Australian coast, sea salt (blue) is clearly visible.

The Goddard Earth Observing System Model, Version 5 (GEOS-5) is capable of simulating worldwide weather at resolutions of 10 to 3.5 kilometers (km).

This portrait of global aerosols was produced by a GEOS-5 simulation at a 10-kilometer resolution.

Dust (red) is lifted from the surface, sea salt (blue) swirls inside cyclones, smoke (green) rises from fires, and sulfate particles (white) stream from volcanoes and fossil fuel emissions.

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