New funding will unlock powerful Australian simulators to give scientists around the world a better chance of tackling climate change.
The Canberra-based supercomputer Gadi, which means “search” in the language of the Ngunnawal people, will do the math.
The $7.6 million research facility unveiled Thursday will share its computing power with citizen scientists, industry, international organizations, government agencies and academic researchers.
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Thousands of Australian scientists already rely on Gadi, the largest supercomputer in the southern hemisphere, for astronomy, medical research and climate and weather reporting.
The new facility’s inaugural director, Andy Hogg, said state-of-the-art computer simulations and models will help decipher climate change, extreme weather events and past and future Earth systems.
“This will not only mean more powerful and insightful research, but hopefully better decisions for the urgent challenges and acute stresses facing our nation and our world,” Professor Hogg said.
But he says computer models are only as good as the people behind them.
“We are creating an open-source weather, climate and Earth system modeling powerhouse that anyone in the world can access,” Prof Hogg said.
Based at the Australian National University, the Australian Community Climate and Earth System Simulator can calculate forecast weather and climate conditions from hours to decades into the future.
The simulator can combine ocean, sea ice and land surface information with chemical and biological data to model ocean currents, extreme precipitation and the pattern of droughts.
Acting ANU Vice-Chancellor Keith Nugent said the new facility means Australia can focus on global climate as well as the Australasian region and southern hemisphere.
“It will also build the capacity and capacity of Australian researchers and technicians in climate science, observations and high performance computer modelling,” said Professor Nugent.
“It’s an investment in the know-how of our country and in the future of our country.”
The simulator is funded by the federal government as part of a national research infrastructure program.