How super computers help Swansea glaciologists

Modern ways to map out our global climate trends and how computers and the internet have changed our lives.

South Wales Evening Post reporter Richard Youle examines how super computers help weather forecasters and glaciologists in Swansea.

Glaciologist Professor Tavi Murray and her Swansea University colleagues have been using the IBM supercomputer Blue Ice, which can handle billions of calculations per second, to process large sets of data.

Climate modelling and weather forecasting relies considerably on computer processing and storage capability. "Climate modelling takes three things: observation - we are still discovering things like new ocean currents; secondly, you need the computer models; third, you need large-scale remote sensing over the whole planet. Remote sensing uses instruments mounted on satellites or in planes to produce images or scenes of the Earth's surface. These kinds of data sets can check if the climate models are doing anything like (what is happening) on real Earth", said Professor Murray.

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