International impacts

CISL is highly visible on the international front and engages with international climate and weather organizations, programs, peer supercomputing centers and laboratories, and international projects. Our international impact spans data services and exchanges, analysis and visualization tools, computational support, strategic advisory functions, training, capacity building, and participation in international conferences.

ICOADS observation sites
Global distribution of marine surface measurements for September 2015 in the International Comprehensive Ocean-Atmosphere Data Set (ICOADS). ICOADS collects and distributes environmental observations from merchant and research ships, moored and drifting buoys, and coastal stations. In collaboration with NOAA partners at the National Center for Environmental Information (NCEI) Asheville and Earth Systems Research Laboratory, NCAR processes data and adds them to ICOADS on a monthly basis. The data are openly shared with the international community, and program guidance and assistance are given by the ICOADS Steering Committee (ISC). The ISC has co-chairs from the US and UK, and representatives from the US, UK, and Germany.

CISL contributes to developing the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Information System (WIS). Under the auspices of the United Nations, the WMO is designing, developing, and deploying WIS as a next-generation globally federated information system for weather, climate, hydrology, oceanography, and many other disciplines. CISL plays a strong role in the management and technical direction of WIS and has contributed ideas, strategies, and services developed through our work with CDP, ESG, and ACADIS. CISL staff have served on several WIS committees, recently including the Expert Team on WIS Centres (ET-WISC), the Task Team of Data Centres (TT-DC), and the Task Team on WIS Centre Audit Certification (TT-CAC).

At the request of the U.S. National Weather Service (NWS), CISL attended the WMO WIS Centre Audit for NWS. CISL data collections are now being harvested by GISC-Washington into WIS as part of production operations. CISL also shares data management and science discipline-specific information through membership and active participation on the Ocean Observations Panel for Climate (OOPC), which is sponsored by the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS), the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS), and the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP).

There are several noteworthy formal international data exchange agreements associated with the development of the NCAR Research Data Archive (RDA). ECMWF and JMA routinely share data under longstanding Memoranda Of Understanding with NCAR. These reanalyses and operational model outputs add to the RDA and are important because they are not readily available anywhere else in the U.S. CISL reciprocates by preparing observational datasets and delivering them to support future reanalysis efforts. Overall, the RDA is an internationally recognized source for over 10 reanalysis collections, all at the highest resolutions available, as in the SPARC Reanalysis Intercomparison Project (S-RIP) that is coordinated by the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) group named Stratosphere-troposphere Processes And their Role in Climate (SPARC).

CISL is very active internationally in the area of data services. The RDA is an extremely valuable international scientific data resource, providing important collections to the global community and making EU collections available to U.S. scientific communities. CISL’s Science Gateway Framework (SGF) federates with the global Earth System Grid Federation (ESGF), sharing catalogs and security protocols making CCSM, CESM, WCRP/CMIP5, and other data collections accessible via the ESGF environment. Similarly, CISL is a primary partner in the ACADIS effort. CISL provides the SGF-based ACADIS Gateway that offers data management support for NSF-sponsored Arctic research including Arctic Observing Network (AON) data for the International Polar Year (IPY). CISL also provides computing and data management support for the Antarctic Mesoscale Prediction System (AMPS), an experimental, real-time numerical weather prediction capability that supports the United States Antarctic Program, Antarctic science, and international Antarctic efforts. Finally, CISL staff have contributed to the development of the UK’s National Environment Research Council (NERC) Big Data program.

CISL’s analysis and visualization tools (e.g., NCL, PyNGL, and VAPOR) are widely used in centers and universities around the world. Three quarters of the VAPOR user base, for example, are outside of the U.S. Development of VAPOR has been funded, in part, by the Korean Institute for Science and Technology Information(KISTI). In FY2015 CISL hosted visitors from KISTI, as well as Germany’s DKRZ, and collaborated to add numerous new features to the VAPOR package. NCL is used in 114 different countries, and CISL has conducted NCL data analysis training workshops in Australia, Turkey, Germany, Korea, and Switzerland.

CISL continues to participate in international collaborations designed to grapple with the challenges of emerging exascale technologies. The NCAR/CU Intel Parallel Computing Center for Weather and Climate Simulation includes a collaboration with the Indian Institute of Science focused on improving the scalability of CESM’s radiation code. The G8 Exascale Climate Science (ECS) project, completed this year, was a collaboration between CISL’s Technology Development Division and computer scientists and climate experts from Inria (France), the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (USA), the German Research School for Simulation Sciences (Germany), Tokyo Institute of Technology (Japan), University of Tennessee at Knoxville (USA), University of Tsukuba (Japan), Victoria University (Canada), and Barcelona Supercomputing Center (Spain). Over three years, this collaboration studied various aspects of the exascale climate modeling challenge, including application scalability, node performance, and system resilience. The project uses CESM as one of the target applications, and relied heavily on NCAR staff for technical support of the project.

CISL supports the ISO’s U.S. Fortran Committee.

CISL participates in International Standards (ISO) activities to contribute to the development of the Fortran programming language, with a CISL staff member serving as chair of the U.S. Fortran Committee. This participation allows programmers at NCAR to track and influence Fortran’s development. With NCAR science at the forefront of ever-larger numbers of processors, program resilience in the face of processor failures is becoming a critical limitation, and NCAR is a part of the evolution of strategies for treating this limitation. NCAR is planning to host the joint meeting of the international and U.S. Fortran committees in 2016.

CISL hosts and organizes the popular international Computing in Atmospheric Sciences (iCAS) workshop every other year in Europe, with the most recent event taking place in September 2015. iCAS is a forum where scientists, industry experts, and computing professionals from around the world can attend and discuss challenges and new approaches to advance climate and weather research. Finally, CISL staff members collaborate with many more foreign institutions and serve on various international committees and advisory panels, including the German Climate Computing Center (DKRZ) Advisory Committee.

These efforts advance CISL’s strategic computing frontier in center virtualization and strategic computing imperatives in software cyberinfrastructure and data curation. Further, this work also addresses CISL’s science imperative for scientific excellence and CISL’s imperative to broaden participation. This work is supported by NSF Core funding that is augmented by registration fees and sponsor donations.