Publications


The use of imprecise processing to improve accuracy in weather & climate prediction

Journal of Computational Physics 271 (2014) 2-18

PD Düben, H McNamara, TN Palmer

The use of stochastic processing hardware and low precision arithmetic in atmospheric models is investigated. Stochastic processors allow hardware-induced faults in calculations, sacrificing bit-reproducibility and precision in exchange for improvements in performance and potentially accuracy of forecasts, due to a reduction in power consumption that could allow higher resolution. A similar trade-off is achieved using low precision arithmetic, with improvements in computation and communication speed and savings in storage and memory requirements. As high-performance computing becomes more massively parallel and power intensive, these two approaches may be important stepping stones in the pursuit of global cloud-resolving atmospheric modelling. The impact of both hardware induced faults and low precision arithmetic is tested using the Lorenz '96 model and the dynamical core of a global atmosphere model. In the Lorenz '96 model there is a natural scale separation; the spectral discretisation used in the dynamical core also allows large and small scale dynamics to be treated separately within the code. Such scale separation allows the impact of lower-accuracy arithmetic to be restricted to components close to the truncation scales and hence close to the necessarily inexact parametrised representations of unresolved processes. By contrast, the larger scales are calculated using high precision deterministic arithmetic. Hardware faults from stochastic processors are emulated using a bit-flip model with different fault rates. Our simulations show that both approaches to inexact calculations do not substantially affect the large scale behaviour, provided they are restricted to act only on smaller scales. By contrast, results from the Lorenz '96 simulations are superior when small scales are calculated on an emulated stochastic processor than when those small scales are parametrised. This suggests that inexact calculations at the small scale could reduce computation and power costs without adversely affecting the quality of the simulations. This would allow higher resolution models to be run at the same computational cost. © 2013 The Authors.


The real butterfly effect

NONLINEARITY 27 (2014) R123-R141

TN Palmer, A Doering, G Seregin


Energy- and enstrophy-conserving schemes for the shallow-water equations, based on mimetic finite elements

QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF THE ROYAL METEOROLOGICAL SOCIETY 140 (2014) 2223-2234

ATT McRae, CJ Cotter


Build high-resolution global climate models

NATURE 515 (2014) 338-339

T Palmer


It's all just physics

PHYSICS WORLD 27 (2014) 18-19

T Palmer


Stochastic modelling and energy-efficient computing for weather and climate prediction.

Philosophical transactions. Series A, Mathematical, physical, and engineering sciences 372 (2014) 20140118-

T Palmer, P Düben, H McNamara


Benchmark Tests for Numerical Weather Forecasts on Inexact Hardware

MONTHLY WEATHER REVIEW 142 (2014) 3809-3829

PD Dueben, TN Palmer


More reliable forecasts with less precise computations: a fast-track route to cloud-resolved weather and climate simulators?

Philosophical transactions. Series A, Mathematical, physical, and engineering sciences 372 (2014) 20130391-

TN Palmer

This paper sets out a new methodological approach to solving the equations for simulating and predicting weather and climate. In this approach, the conventionally hard boundary between the dynamical core and the sub-grid parametrizations is blurred. This approach is motivated by the relatively shallow power-law spectrum for atmospheric energy on scales of hundreds of kilometres and less. It is first argued that, because of this, the closure schemes for weather and climate simulators should be based on stochastic-dynamic systems rather than deterministic formulae. Second, as high-wavenumber elements of the dynamical core will necessarily inherit this stochasticity during time integration, it is argued that the dynamical core will be significantly over-engineered if all computations, regardless of scale, are performed completely deterministically and if all variables are represented with maximum numerical precision (in practice using double-precision floating-point numbers). As the era of exascale computing is approached, an energy- and computationally efficient approach to cloud-resolved weather and climate simulation is described where determinism and numerical precision are focused on the largest scales only.


Atlantic meridional overturning circulation and the prediction of North Atlantic sea surface temperature

EARTH AND PLANETARY SCIENCE LETTERS 406 (2014) 1-6

M Kloewer, M Latif, H Ding, RJ Greatbatch, W Park


Addressing model error through atmospheric stochastic physical parametrizations: impact on the coupled ECMWF seasonal forecasting system.

Philosophical transactions. Series A, Mathematical, physical, and engineering sciences 372 (2014) 20130290-

A Weisheimer, S Corti, T Palmer, F Vitart

The finite resolution of general circulation models of the coupled atmosphere-ocean system and the effects of sub-grid-scale variability present a major source of uncertainty in model simulations on all time scales. The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts has been at the forefront of developing new approaches to account for these uncertainties. In particular, the stochastically perturbed physical tendency scheme and the stochastically perturbed backscatter algorithm for the atmosphere are now used routinely for global numerical weather prediction. The European Centre also performs long-range predictions of the coupled atmosphere-ocean climate system in operational forecast mode, and the latest seasonal forecasting system--System 4--has the stochastically perturbed tendency and backscatter schemes implemented in a similar way to that for the medium-range weather forecasts. Here, we present results of the impact of these schemes in System 4 by contrasting the operational performance on seasonal time scales during the retrospective forecast period 1981-2010 with comparable simulations that do not account for the representation of model uncertainty. We find that the stochastic tendency perturbation schemes helped to reduce excessively strong convective activity especially over the Maritime Continent and the tropical Western Pacific, leading to reduced biases of the outgoing longwave radiation (OLR), cloud cover, precipitation and near-surface winds. Positive impact was also found for the statistics of the Madden-Julian oscillation (MJO), showing an increase in the frequencies and amplitudes of MJO events. Further, the errors of El Niño southern oscillation forecasts become smaller, whereas increases in ensemble spread lead to a better calibrated system if the stochastic tendency is activated. The backscatter scheme has overall neutral impact. Finally, evidence for noise-activated regime transitions has been found in a cluster analysis of mid-latitude circulation regimes over the Pacific-North America region.


Lorenz, Godel and Penrose: new perspectives on determinism and causality in fundamental physics

CONTEMPORARY PHYSICS 55 (2014) 157-178

TN Palmer


Climate forecasting: build high-resolution global climate models.

Nature 515 (2014) 338-339

T Palmer


Genesis of streamwise-localized solutions from globally periodic traveling waves in pipe flow.

Physical review letters 112 (2014) 164501-

M Chantry, AP Willis, RR Kerswell

The aim in the dynamical systems approach to transitional turbulence is to construct a scaffold in phase space for the dynamics using simple invariant sets (exact solutions) and their stable and unstable manifolds. In large (realistic) domains where turbulence can coexist with laminar flow, this requires identifying exact localized solutions. In wall-bounded shear flows, the first of these has recently been found in pipe flow, but questions remain as to how they are connected to the many known streamwise-periodic solutions. Here we demonstrate that the origin of the first localized solution is in a modulational symmetry-breaking Hopf bifurcation from a known global traveling wave that has twofold rotational symmetry about the pipe axis. Similar behavior is found for a global wave of threefold rotational symmetry, this time leading to two localized relative periodic orbits. The clear implication is that many global solutions should be expected to lead to more realistic localized counterparts through such bifurcations, which provides a constructive route for their generation.


Studying edge geometry in transiently turbulent shear flows

JOURNAL OF FLUID MECHANICS 747 (2014) 506-517

M Chantry, TM Schneider


On the reliability of seasonal climate forecasts.

Journal of the Royal Society, Interface 11 (2014) 20131162-

A Weisheimer, TN Palmer

Seasonal climate forecasts are being used increasingly across a range of application sectors. A recent UK governmental report asked: how good are seasonal forecasts on a scale of 1-5 (where 5 is very good), and how good can we expect them to be in 30 years time? Seasonal forecasts are made from ensembles of integrations of numerical models of climate. We argue that 'goodness' should be assessed first and foremost in terms of the probabilistic reliability of these ensemble-based forecasts; reliable inputs are essential for any forecast-based decision-making. We propose that a '5' should be reserved for systems that are not only reliable overall, but where, in particular, small ensemble spread is a reliable indicator of low ensemble forecast error. We study the reliability of regional temperature and precipitation forecasts of the current operational seasonal forecast system of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, universally regarded as one of the world-leading operational institutes producing seasonal climate forecasts. A wide range of 'goodness' rankings, depending on region and variable (with summer forecasts of rainfall over Northern Europe performing exceptionally poorly) is found. Finally, we discuss the prospects of reaching '5' across all regions and variables in 30 years time.


Automating the solution of PDEs on the sphere and other manifolds in FEniCS 1.2

GEOSCIENTIFIC MODEL DEVELOPMENT 6 (2013) 2099-2119

ME Rognes, DA Ham, CJ Cotter, ATT McRae


Stochastic Parameterisations and Model Uncertainty in the Lorenz '96 system

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences Royal Society 371 (2013) 20110479

HM Arnold, IM Moroz, TN Palmer


REVOLUTIONIZING CLIMATE MODELING WITH PROJECT ATHENA A Multi-Institutional, International Collaboration

BULLETIN OF THE AMERICAN METEOROLOGICAL SOCIETY 94 (2013) 231-245

KJL III, B Cash, D Achuthavarier, J Adams, E Altshuler, P Dirmeyer, B Doty, B Huang, EK Jin, L Marx, J Manganello, C Stan, T Wakefield, T Palmer, M Hamrud, T Jung, M Miller, P Towers, N Wedi, M Satoh, H Tomita, C Kodama, T Nasuno, K Oouchi, Y Yamada, H Taniguchi, P Andrews, T Baer, M Ezell, C Halloy, D John, B Loftis, R Mohr, K Wong


Near-term climate change: Projections and predictability

in Climate Change 2013 the Physical Science Basis: Working Group I Contribution to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 9781107057999 (2013) 953-1028

NL Bindoff, PJ Durack, A Slater, P Cameron-Smith, Y Chikamoto, O Clifton, P Ginoux, M Holland, C Holmes, J Infanti, D Jacob, J John, T Knutson, D Lawrence, J Lu, D Murphy, V Naik, A Robock, S Vavrus, M Ishii, S Corti, T Fichefet, J García-Serrano, V Guemas, L Rodrigues, L Gray, E Hawkins, D Smith, DS Stevenson, A Voulgarakis, A Weisheimer, O Wild, T Woollings, P Young, G Krinner, Z Klimont, J Sedláček, B van den Hurk, T van Noije

© Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2014. Executive Summary. This chapter assesses the scientific literature describing expectations for near-term climate (present through mid-century). Unless otherwise stated, ‘near-term’ change and the projected changes below are for the period 2016-2035 relative to the reference period 1986-2005. Atmospheric composition (apart from CO 2 ; see Chapter 12) and air quality projections through to 2100 are also assessed. Decadal Prediction. The nonlinear and chaotic nature of the climate system imposes natual limits on the extent to which skilful predictions of climate statistics may be made. M.del-based ‘predictability’ studies, which probe these limits and investigate the physical mechanisms involved, support the potential for the skilful prediction of annual to decadal average temperature and, to a lesser extent precipitation. Predictions for averages of temperature, over large regions of the planet and for the global mean, exhibit positive skill when verified against observations for forecast periods up to ten years (high confidence). Predictions of precipitation over some land areas also exhibit positive skill. Decadal prediction is a new endeavour in climate science. The level of quality for climate predictions of annual to decadal average quantities is assessed from the past performance of initialized predictions and non-initialized simulations. {11.2.3, Figures 11.3 and 11.4}. In current results, observation-based initialization is the dominant contributor to the skill of predictions of annual mean temperature for the first few years and to the skill of predictions of the global mean surface temperature and the temperature over the North Atlantic, regions of the South Pacific and the tropical Indian Ocean for longer periods (high confidence).


Climate extremes and the role of dynamics.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 110 (2013) 5281-5282

TN Palmer

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