To begin to address these issues, a prototype system, dubbed "Deep Thunder", has been implemented for the New York City metropolitan area. This effort began with building a capability sufficient for operational use. In particular, the goal is to provide weather forecasts at a level of precision and fast enough to address specific business problems. Hence, the focus has been on high-performance computing, visualization, and automation while designing, evaluating and optimizing an integrated system that includes receiving and processing data, modelling, and post-processing analysis and dissemination. Part of the rationale for this focus is practicality. Given the time-critical nature of weather-sensitive business decisions, if the weather prediction can not be completed fast enough, then it has no value. Such predictive simulations need to be completed at least an order of magnitude faster than real-time. But rapid computation is insufficient if the results can not be easily and quickly utilized. Thus, a variety of fixed and highly interactive flexible visualizations have also been implemented. They range from techniques to enable more effective analysis to strategies focused on the applications of the forecasts.
We will discuss our particular architectural approach and implementation as well as the justification and implications for various design choices. Deep Thunder is now being used by local agencies to assist in operational decision making with various weather-sensitive problems in highway maintenance and operation, surface transportation and emergency planning. Therefore, we will also present some results concerning the effectiveness of such modelling capabilities for these applications.
Supplementary URL: http://www.research.ibm.com/weather/DT.html