New meteorological and climatological models developed at ETHZ

New meteorological and climatological models developed at ETHZ

The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETHZ) is developing a new generation of high-resolution weather and climate models. It will allow for more accurate prediction of extreme weather events and a better understanding of climate change.

With current models and IT infrastructures, researchers face limitations in the accuracy of their claims about the relationship between weather and climate. This is why ETHZ and its partners launched candid research initiative. The project aims to significantly increase the spatial resolution of the models in order to increase their accuracy, the export processing zone said Friday. Thus it would be possible to directly simulate the weather in a warmer world on a global scale.

One kilometer resolution

Currently, observation points for global weather and climate maps are located 50 to 100 kilometers away. The goal now is to find a solution for just one kilometer. “With the higher resolution, the new models will describe important processes, such as storms and weather systems in more detail. In this way, we can study much more precisely how climate change and weather events affect each other,” explains Nicholas Gruber, Exclaim Chair and Professor of Environmental Physics.

Many Swiss and foreign researchers are involved in the project. In Switzerland, the EPFZ Center for Climate Modeling (C2SM), computer scientists from ETHZ, the Swiss Center for Scientific Computing (CSCS), the Swiss Center for Data Science (SDSC), the Federal Laboratory for Materials Testing and Research (Empa) and the Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology MeteoSwiss are participating.

In CSCS, read also: Switzerland will host the most powerful supercomputer dedicated to artificial intelligence

Abroad, the German Weather Service (DWD) and the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology (MPI-M) have developed the ICON model system that forms the basis of Exclaim. The European Center for Medium Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), of which Switzerland is a member, is also part of the project.

high performance computers

Weather and climate models are among the most computational and data demanding. So high-performance computers play a major role in this project.

To move from current accuracy (from 50 to 100 kilometers) to kilometer accuracy, faster and more powerful computers are needed. This can be achieved by optimizing the architecture of computers, according to Thomas Schulthes, director of the Swiss Center for Scientific Computing.

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