Supercomputer Shows 'life Cycle' of Storm

COLLEGE PARK, Md., July 22 (UPI) — Computer modeling of the birth and life of a deadly Pacific cyclone could lead to earlier and better forecasting of such events, scientists say.

As a teenager in his native Taiwan, weather researcher Bo-wen Shen watched helplessly as typhoon after typhoon battered the small island nation and vowed to find ways to forestall the devastation, a NASA release said Wednesday.


Now a research scientist at the University of Maryland, Shen has used the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Pleiades supercomputer to recreate the life cycle of tropical cyclone Nargis, which devastated Myanmar in 2008.

The result is a computer model that can replicate the formation of a tropical cyclone five days in advance of its reaching full force.

To save lives, forecasters need to give as much advance warning of a tropical cyclone or hurricane as possible with the greatest degree of accuracy about when and where a storm will occur.

In Shen’s simulation, he was able to anticipate the storm five days in advance of its birth, a critical forewarning.

“To do hurricane forecasting, what’s really needed is a model that can represent the initial weather conditions — air movements and temperatures, and precipitation — and simulate how they evolve and interact globally and locally to set a cyclone in motion,” said Shen.

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