"Accurately modeling climate issues is a huge computational
task. The National Weather Service's supercomputers, for instance,
have a hard enough time generating accurate local weather forecasts
just a few days out. So imagine trying to generate accurate
forecasts on a global scale 50 years into the future. This is
causing particular consternation when it comes to proving that
man-made chemicals are causing global warming.
"'Due to the complexity of climate systems and current
limitations of climate models, it may take 10 or 20 years to
develop clear observational or modeling proof of global warming
causes,' says Dr. Jonathan H. Jiang, a scientist from the Microwave
Limb Sounder (MLS) team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)
in Pasadena, Calif... 'By that point it might be too late for us to
prevent the climate changes.'
"To speed the process, MLS is now hooked into the national
TeraGrid, which connects large-scale Linux clusters, using 64-bit
Intel Itanium processors, at the Argonne National Laboratory,
Caltech, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications and
the San Diego Supercomputer Center. The sites are linked via 30-40
Gbps connections and have a combined computing capacity of 15 (soon
to be 21+) teraflops and storage capacity of more than seven
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