Improving researchers' ability to access and analyse climate model data sets
The below case study shares some of the technical details and outcomes of the scientific and HPC-focused programming support provided to a research project through NeSI’s Consultancy Service.
This service supports projects across a range of domains, with an aim to lift researchers’ productivity, efficiency, and skills in research computing. If you are interested to learn more or apply for Consultancy support, visit our Consultancy Service page.
Scientists in New Zealand and around the world are actively comparing simulations of climate across models, regions and times. A particular focus of this research is climatic change from the onset of large-scale industrialisation (~1850) to the end of the 21st century and beyond. A key part of this effort is the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project, which began in 1995 and is now in its sixth phase (CMIP6). Coupled models simulate the dynamic movements, physical processes and interactions of the atmosphere and ocean. These models can also include other parts of the Earth system such as the land surface, interactive atmospheric chemistry and ocean biogeochemistry. CMIP6 collects, organises and distributes output from these models, which perform common sets of experiments including future scenarios of greenhouse gas emissions. This helps researchers better understand the response of the Earth system, such as higher air temperatures or regional changes in the frequency of storms, floods and drought.
The CMIP6 project has produced and continues to generate very large amounts of data, expected to be on the order of 20 to 40 petabytes. Scientists interested in the effects of climate change may need to download terabytes of gridded data, which can take weeks.
What was done
NeSI installed a software tool, Synda, which downloads CMIP6 data from internet portals across the world. NeSI has set up an infrastructure that allows researchers to query and share the data with their colleagues, thus reducing the amount of duplicated data and encouraging collaboration.
Software and 100 terabytes of disk space are now available for NIWA researchers to download their data to a common area for the benefit of Earth science research in New Zealand.
"NeSI has helped us efficiently build a large repository of climate model data from research institutes around the world, which we can now share and analyse in a local supercomputing environment. Our scientists are already using these data to study a wide range of phenomena, including Antarctic sea ice and ocean dynamics, ozone variability, extreme weather events and future climate change in New Zealand."
- Stephen Stuart, Climate Scientist, NIWA
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