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In Brazil, an Explosion in Computing Power Is Revolutionizing Weather Prediction


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Rio de Janeiro's Rio Operations Center

Rio de Janeiro's Rio Operations Center

Photo courtesy of IBM

Rio de Janeiro recently launched a new command center, equipped with IBM's Deep Thunder supercomputer, dedicated to developing more advanced weather prediction models.

Rio de Janeiro's command center is working with IBM on the Smarter Cities initiative, which unites agencies, state and local governments, police, firefighters, sanitation, and other city services to share information so they can react to problems more efficiently.

Deep Thunder can combine weather data with topographical, municipal, population, or land use data to determine how the weather will impact a city. For example, Deep Thunder's algorithms can tell if an oncoming thunderstorm is likely to cause power outages and where they will occur. More precise weather modeling also could help advance carbon-free energy sources such as wind and solar, which rely heavily on the weather conditions. Wind and solar power operators could use advanced weather forecasts to learn how much sunlight or wind will be available from day to day, and power down coal plants when the weather is right.

"Better weather observations enable better models, and better models can be used to determine additional ways to sample the atmosphere," says IBM's Deep Thunder director Lloyd Treinish.

From Popular Science
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