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Open AccessArticle

A Violently Tornadic Supercell Thunderstorm Simulation Spanning a Quarter-Trillion Grid Volumes: Computational Challenges, I/O Framework, and Visualizations of Tornadogenesis

The Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS), University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706, USA
Atmosphere 2019, 10(10), 578; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos10100578
Received: 2 September 2019 / Revised: 18 September 2019 / Accepted: 22 September 2019 / Published: 25 September 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Simulation and Visualization of Severe Weather)
Tornadoes remain an active subject of observational and numerical research due to the damage and fatalities they cause worldwide as well as poor understanding of their behavior, such as what processes result in their genesis and what determines their longevity and morphology. A numerical model executed on a supercomputer run at high resolution can serve as a powerful tool for exploring the rapidly evolving tornado-scale features within a simulated storm, but saving large amounts data for meaningful analysis can result in unacceptably slow model performance, an unwieldy amount of saved data, and saved data spread across millions of files. In this paper, a system for efficiently saving and managing hundreds of terabytes of compressed model output is described to support a supercomputer simulation of a tornadic supercell thunderstorm. The challenges of managing a simulation spanning over a quarter-trillion grid volumes across the Blue Waters supercomputer are also described. The simulated supercell produces a long-track EF5 tornado, and the near-tornado environment is described during tornadogenesis, where single upward-growing vortex undergoes several vortex mergers before transitioning into a multiple-vortex tornado. View Full-Text
Keywords: tornadogenesis; numerical simulation; volume rendering; visualization; supercell thunderstorm; hierarchical data format; ZFP compression; VAPOR3 tornadogenesis; numerical simulation; volume rendering; visualization; supercell thunderstorm; hierarchical data format; ZFP compression; VAPOR3
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Orf, L. A Violently Tornadic Supercell Thunderstorm Simulation Spanning a Quarter-Trillion Grid Volumes: Computational Challenges, I/O Framework, and Visualizations of Tornadogenesis. Atmosphere 2019, 10, 578.

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  • Supplementary File 1:

    ZIP-Document (ZIP, 87 KB)

  • Externally hosted supplementary file 1
    Doi: 10.21231/rhja-kd44
    Link: https://doi.org/10.21231/rhja-kd44
    Description: This video chronicles the formation of a tornado in a simulated, supercell thunderstorm. It is Supplemental Video 1 referenced by this article: Orf, L., 2019: A violently tornadic supercell thunderstorm simulation spanning a quarter-trillion grid volumes: Computational challenges, I/O framework, and visualizations of tornadogenesis.
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