13B.5 Enhancing Community Collaborations through NWP Software Containers

Thursday, 7 June 2018: 11:30 AM
Colorado B (Grand Hyatt Denver)
Michael J. Kavulich Jr., NCAR, Boulder, CO; and J. H. Gotway, M. Harrold, J. K. Wolff, K. Fossell, and J. Exby

A frequent stumbling block when first running an atmospheric modeling system is properly setting up and compiling all of the necessary code components, including a number of external libraries. In addition to running a forecast model, users often need pre- and post-processing software, as well as a means to visualize and verify output from their model runs. To ease the burden of setting up a new system from the ground up, the concept of "containers" has quickly been gaining traction in the modeling community. Containers allow for end-to-end software systems to be bundled and provided to users, including the operating system, libraries, and code. This bypasses the myriad potential technical issues frequently encountered when first setting up and compiling all of the necessary components of NWP systems.

NCAR colleagues have established containers to run a subset of an end-to-end NWP system, including the WRF Pre-Processing System (WPS), Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model, and the NCAR Command Language (NCL). To provide additional capabilities, the Developmental Testbed Center (DTC) has developed containers for the Unified Post-Processor (UPP), the Model Evaluation Tools (MET), and the METViewer database and display software systems.

The use of containers lowers the barriers to entry which currently exist for running NWP systems and evaluating the output; it also allows the DTC to further assist the user community, especially students, with efficiently running NWP components. Containers enable experiments to be easily rerun and shared, facilitating collaboration. DTC staff presented a short course on the use of NWP containers in conjunction with the 2018 annual AMS meeting, and plan to offer the course again next year. This presentation will outline the motivation behind containers and provide a brief review of the short course material.

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