Scientists use global supercomputing network to understand regional sea level changes

For the eSALSA project, an international team is studying the effects of climate change by simulating the effects of ocean circulation using four interconnected supercomputers.

Since a large part of the Netherlands is below sea level, the country will inevitably feel the effects of rising sea levels. Changes in sea levels are influenced by the behaviour of oceans. The eSALSA team performs large-scale global climate simulations to examine the effect of changing ocean circulations on local sea levels. The enormous amounts of compute power required for these simulations meant that a single supercomputer did not suffice.

Connecting four supercomputers

The team led by Prof. Henk Dijkstra (Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research Utrecht) and Dr Jason Maassen (Netherlands eScience Center) was able to set up a unique collaborative project to connect four supercomputers, among them Cartesius of SURFsara in the Netherlands, with Germany, Great Britain and the United States.

By connecting these supercomputers with 10 Gigabit per second light paths, it has become possible to calculate ocean circulation patterns much more precisely and refine the resolution from 100 x 100 km to 2 x 2 km. This means that better predictions can be made of how the behaviour of oceans influences local sea levels.

The project won the Enlighten Your Research Global Award. Watch the video to see the results of the eSALSA project.

Published: 09/2015

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