1.3 Cloud-Enabled Large-Scale Land Surface Model Simulations with the NASA Land Information System

Tuesday, 9 January 2018: 9:00 AM
Room 10C (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Daniel Duffy, NASA GSFC, Greenbelt, MD; and G. Vaughan, M. Clark, C. Peters-Lidard, B. Nijssen, G. S. Nearing, S. Kumar, S. Rheingrover, and J. Geiger

Developed by the Hydrological Sciences Laboratory at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), the Land Information System (LIS) is a high-performance software framework for terrestrial hydrology modeling and data assimilation. LIS provides the ability to integrate satellite and ground-based observational products and advanced modeling algorithms to extract land surface states and fluxes.

Through a partnership with the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and the University of Washington, the LIS model is currently being extended to include the Structure for Unifying Multiple Modeling Alternatives (SUMMA). With the addition of SUMMA in LIS, meaningful simulations containing a large multi-model ensemble will be enabled and can provide advanced probabilistic continental-domain modeling capabilities at spatial scales relevant for water managers.

The resulting LIS/SUMMA application framework is difficult for non-experts to install due to the large amount of dependencies on specific versions of operating systems, libraries, and compilers. This has created a significant barrier to entry for domain scientists that are interested in using the software on their own systems or in the cloud. In addition, the requirement to support multiple run time environments across the LIS community has created a significant burden on the NASA team. To overcome these challenges, LIS/SUMMA has been deployed using Linux containers, which allows for an entire software package along with all dependences to be installed within a working runtime environment, and Kubernetes, which orchestrates the deployment of a cluster of containers. Within a cloud environment, users can now easily create a cluster of virtual machines and run large-scale LIS/SUMMA simulations. Installations that have taken weeks and months can now be performed in minutes of time. This presentation will discuss the steps required to create a cloud-enabled large-scale simulation, present examples of its use, and describe the potential deployment of this information technology with other NASA applications.

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