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    Atmospheric and hydrospheric sciences


    Outcomes and challenges of global high-resolution non-hydrostatic atmospheric simulations using the K computer

    Satoh M, Tomita H, Yashiro H, Kajikawa Y, Miyamoto Y, Yamaura T, Miyakawa T, Nakano M, Kodama C, Noda A T, Nasuno T, Yamada Y, Fukutomi Y

    K computer, NICAM, intra-seasonal oscillations, Madden-Julian oscillation, tropical cyclone, global non-hydrostatic model

    Resolution dependencies of simulated cloud distribution´╝Ümesh size 14km, 3.5km, and 870 m.

    This article reviews the major outcomes of a 5-year (2011–2016) project using the K computer to perform global numerical atmospheric simulations based on the non-hydrostatic icosahedral atmospheric model (NICAM). The K computer was made available to the public in September 2012 and was used as a primary resource for Japan’s Strategic Programs for Innovative Research (SPIRE), an initiative to investigate five strategic research areas; the NICAM project fell under the research area of climate and weather simulation sciences. Combining NICAM with high-performance computing has created new opportunities in three areas of research: (1) higher resolution global simulations that produce more realistic representations of convective systems, (2) multi-member ensemble simulations that are able to perform extended-range forecasts 10–30 days in advance, and (3) multi-decadal simulations for climatology and variability. Before the K computer era, NICAM was used to demonstrate realistic simulations of intra-seasonal oscillations including the Madden-Julian oscillation (MJO), merely as a case study approach. Thanks to the big leap in computational performance of the K computer, we could greatly increase the number of cases of MJO events for numerical simulations, in addition to integrating time and horizontal resolution. We conclude that the high-resolution global non-hydrostatic model, as used in this five-year project, improves the ability to forecast intra-seasonal oscillations and associated tropical cyclogenesis compared with that of the relatively coarser operational models currently in use. The impacts of the sub-kilometer resolution simulation and the multi-decadal simulations using NICAM are also reviewed.