Computational Oceanography

Peta-scale Modeling and Analysis of Ocean-atmosphere Feedbacks and Dynamics

An initiative spanning teams at NASA JPL, Ames and Goddard and at universities including MIT, Johns Hopkins and Columbia University is leveraging OSN to support petabyte analysis of models of atmosphere ocean dynamics that can resolve important small-scale processes.

The Earth ocean-atmosphere dynamics are a key life-support system. One of every two oxygen molecules humans breathe originate from ocean bio-geo-chemical processes. Much of the excess radiative heating arising from fossil fuel CO2 accumulation in the atmosphere has been drawn down by the ocean. Somewhere between 20% and 50% of fossil fuel CO2 emitted into the atmosphere each year is taken up by the ocean. The oceans transport heat and moisture that determine habitability of much of the planet. Roughly 40% of the world’s population lives within 100 kilometers of a coastal region.

Our understanding of the ocean role in sustaining life remains patchy. Estimates of heat uptake and CO2 absorption have significant uncertainties that correspond to trillions of dollars in potential mitigation and adaptation needs. Accurate models of the physical, chemical, and biological processes involved can help guide our understanding and help interpret sparse and costly to obtain observations.

OSN is supporting the distribution of model solutions to hundreds of scientists from a master repository that can be used to browse sub-samples from a raw archive of several petabytes.    Preliminary work underway to mesh OSN data distribution with cloud based analysis finds that data ingest of up to 18GB/s from the MGHPCC OSN node to Google GCP on-demand analysis resources. An experimental new viewer is being integrated with these resources.  These tools are enabling many researchers, all over the world, to analyze model solutions and explore theories and understanding.


Snap-shot of air-sea fluxes from a 2-4 kilometer resolution simulation.