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FEATURE STORIES

Visualization of forecast ash cloud from the eruption of the Mt. Agung volcano
12.21.17 – Science Snapshot: Forecasting the Mt. Agung Ash Cloud Using GEOS
The Goddard Earth Observing System (GEOS) model combined with data from NASA's Earth observing satellites and best effort estimates of ash and sulfur dioxide emissions from the recent eruption of Mt. Agung on the island of Bali, Indonesia. GEOS runs daily at the NASA Center for Climate Simulation (NCCS).
Visualization of black holes merging
12.14.17 - NAS Supports Research Leading to Nobel Prize Work in the Discovery of Gravitational Waves
NASA Advanced Supercomputing (NAS) Division experts created beautiful visualizations and provided resources to support NASA research that solved a longstanding problem: how to produce full simulations of orbiting and merging black holes. In his December 8 Nobel Lecture, Kip S. Thorne, co-winner of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics for the development of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) and the 2016 detection of gravitational waves, acknowledged the ground-breaking work that led to these simulations, which helped researchers determine what gravitational radiation signals would look like.
AGU Fall Meeting Logo
12.11.17 - NAS Division Staff Present at 2017 Fall AGU Meeting
TResearchers from the NAS Division at NASA Ames Research Center join staff from other NASA centers and partner organizations to present their latest advances in Earth science and heliophysics, enabled by new high-performance tools and methods, at the 2017 American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall meeting, December 11-15 in New Orleans.
Visualization of simulated hurricane in Atlantic Ocean
11.16.17 – Science Snapshot: Summer 2017—Signals of Weather Extrema Shown in the Aerosol Fields
The Goddard Earth Observing System (GEOS) models, combined with data from NASA satellites, enhance our scientific understanding of chemical, physical, and biological processes during the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season. GEOS runs daily at the NASA Center for Climate Simulation (NCCS).
Artistic rendering of Moduler Supercomputing Facility
11.13.17 – Recently Expanded, NASA’s First Modular Supercomputer Ranks 15th in the U.S. on TOP500 List
Electra ranks 15th in the U.S. and 33rd worldwide on the November 2017 TOP500 list of the world’s most powerful supercomputers, as announced November 13 at SC17 in Denver. Electra is part of the NASA Advanced Supercomputing (NAS) facility.
Cross-section from global map of total column ozone
11.07.17 - Science Snapshot: Space-Based and Data Assimilation Views of Total Ozone
Global Modeling and Assimilation Office (GMAO) researchers compared views of the total vertical ozone column from the MERRA-2 reanalysis and three different satellite instruments. MERRA-2 runs at the NCCS.
Photo of the Test and Development System for Scalable Compute Unit 14 (SCU14) of the Discover supercomputer
11.07.17 - NCCS Expanding Discover Supercomputer to 5 Petaflops
This Thanksgiving, the NASA Center for Climate Simulation (NCCS) and its users will have extra reasons to be thankful with the scheduled delivery of the most powerful unit of the Discover supercomputer to date.
Graph of SMAP data vs. in situ observations
10.20.17 – Science Snapshot: Validation of Aquarius and SMAP Sea Surface Salinity in the Tropics
Using data retrieved from NASA’s Aquarius and Soil Moisture Active/Passive (SMAP) satellites, Global Modeling and Assimilation Office (GMAO) researchers are mapping global salinity patterns to help scientists better understand the water cycle and its link to climate variations and change. The study includes MERRA-2 reanalysis data computed at the NASA Center for Climate Simulation (NCCS).
Coronal prediction for the August 21, 2017 total solar eclipse:
10.13.17 – How Scientists Used NASA Data to Predict the Corona of the Aug. 21 Total Solar Eclipse
Supercomputers at the NASA Advanced Supercomputing (NAS) facility, the San Diego Supercomputer Center and the Texas Advanced Computer Center ran complex simulations using data from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO).
Map of the thickness of Mars’ crust
09.13.17 - New Gravity Map Suggests Mars Has a Porous Crust
From a gravity map computed at the NASA Center for Climate Simulation (NCCS), NASA scientists have found evidence that Mars’ crust is not as dense as previously thought.
Artistic rendering of Moduler Supercomputing Facility
08.31.17 - NASA Supercomputing Strategy Takes the Road Less Traveled
For a large institution playing at the leadership-class supercomputing level, NASA tends to do things a little differently than its national lab and academic peers. NAS Advanced Computing Branch Chief Bill Thigpen explains the benefits of taking the modular route at NASA's Ames Research Center, starting with the Electra supercomputer.
Illustration of asteroid impacting Earth
08.21.17 - Dino-Killing Asteroid Could Have Thrust Earth into Two Years of Darkness
A new study by National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) scientists looks at the short-term effects of a massive asteroid strike 66 millions years ago, which could have dramatically changed Earth’s climate. Simulations were run on supercomputers at the NASA Advanced Supercomputing (NAS) facility and NCAR.
Visualization showing evolution of solar magnetic field
08.17.17 – Realistic Simulations Reveal Something New Under the Sun
A combination of supercomputers and visualization helped scientists make an important discovery about magnetic field activity taking place deep below the solar surface.
Coronal prediction for the August 21, 2017 total solar eclipse:
08.17.17 – Spoiler Alert: Computer Simulations Provide Preview of Solar Eclipse
A team from Predicitive Science, Inc., with support from NASA, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and the National Science foundation, created large-scale simulations of the Sun's surface in order to predict what the solar corona will look like during the total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017. The series of highly-detailed solar simulations were run on several supercomputers, including Pleiades at the NASA Advanced Supercomputing (NAS) Division.
Photo of power plant
08.16.17 - Zooming in on Climate Predictions
Northeastern University and NASA scientists leveraged NASA's Pleiades supercomputer in developing a system that zooms in on climate data to produce higher-resolution projections.
Visualization of precipitation over U.S.
08.03.17 - Influence of ENSO on Wintertime Precipitation
Using NASA supercomputing resources, scientists have run simulations with the MERRA-2 version of the GEOS model to study the impact of the El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) on U.S. winter weather.
Visualization of a global ocean simulation
08.02.17 – Exploring the Ocean’s Depths with a New Hyperwall Visualization Tool
Earth scientists are using a new visualization toolbox on the NASA Advanced Supercomputing (NAS) facility's hyperwall to take a deeper dive into their high-resolution global ocean simulation.
Visualization of carbon dioxide over world map
07.31.17 - 3D Carbon Dioxide Visualization Appears in Prestigious Festival
A scientific visualization of 3D global carbon dioxide data computed at the NASA Center for Climate Simulation (NCCS) is appearing at this week’s SIGGRAPH 2017 Computer Animation Festival in Los Angeles, California.
Visualization of clouds in low-pressure system near Iceland
07.25.17 - An Icelandic Low Spins in the North Atlantic
A new animation shows the evolution of a low-pressure system that intensifies near Iceland. Using the NASA Center for Climate Simulation (NCCS), scientists ran the GEOS model using 50-, 12-, and 1.5-kilometer grid cells to investigate the types of clouds that can be resolved.
Photo of Piers Sellers and Leonardo DiCaprio at hyperwall
07.17.17 – Visualization Theater Renamed for Longtime Collaborator Piers Sellers
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center officials formally dedicated the Dr. Piers J. Sellers Data Visualization Theater today, a fitting tribute to the late scientist, astronaut, and science manager whose collaborations with the NASA Center for Climate Simulation (NCCS) and related organizations spanned decades.
image showing magnetic kink instability in simulated jets
07.16.17 – New 3-D Simulations Show How Galactic Centers Cool Their Jets
Supported by supercomputing resources at NAS, scientists at Berkeley Lab and Purdue University scientists show how instabilities develop in extreme energy releases from black holes.
Photo of Bill Thigpen
06.30.17 – New Podcast Features NAS Supercomputing Expert Bill Thigpen
Bill Thigpen, who manages the supercomputing resources at the NASA Advanced Supercomputing (NAS) facility, talks about how he got into the field and why we need supercomputers for NASA missions "across the board."
Cross-section of a Chelyabinsk-like asteroid breaking up during atmospheric entry
06.29.17 – Researchers Rock the World of Asteroid Modeling & Simulation
Assessing potential damage from an asteroid strike and planning mitigation strategies is now faster and more accurate thanks to simulations and risk models run on NASA supercomputers.
Section of graph comparing results at different model resolutions
06.28.17 - High-Resolution Global Modeling of Atmospheric Chemical Composition
NASA's Global Modeling and Assimilation Office extended its Goddard Earth Observing System (GEOS) system to include a state-of-the-art model of atmospheric chemical composition, enabling studying the effects of air pollution on agriculture and environmental and public health. GEOS runs daily on NASA supercomputers.
Image of spicules on the sun
06.22.17 - Scientists Uncover Origins of the Sun’s Swirling Spicules
For the first time, a computer simulation—so detailed it took a full year to run—shows how wild jets of solar material called spicules form and break free of the sun’s surface. The simulation ran on the Pleiades supercomputer at the NASA Advanced Supercomputing (NAS) facility.
Artist rendering of Modular Supercomputing Facility
06.19.17 – Hyperion Research Announces HPC Innovation Excellence Award Winners
NASA's Modular Supercomputing Facility garnered the HPC Data Center Innovation Award from Hyperion Research, which announced the newest recipients of their HPC Innovation Excellence Awards for outstanding achievements.
Visualization of ocean circulation
06.09.17 – NASA-MIT Study Evaluates Efficiency of Oceans as Heat Sink, Atmospheric Gases Sponge
Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers used the NASA GISS ocean model and the MIT General Circulation Model to simulate one of the Atlantic Ocean's major current systems that delivers absorbed heat and gases to the depths. The simulations ran on NASA's Discover supercomputer.
Visualization of El Niño
06.07.17 - A New Look at the 2015–2016 El Niño
New visualizations depict the three-dimensional evolution of the 2015-2016 El Niño event. NASA scientists combined ocean measurements with cutting-edge supercomputer simulations run at the NASA Center for Climate Simulation (NCCS).
Image of galaxy clusters
06.07.17 – Space Hots Up When Galaxy Clusters Collide
A collision of two clusters containing millions of galaxies has produced a turbulent region of hot gas, with temperatures reaching 1.7 million degrees Celsius, according to astronomers at the University of Colorado, Boulder. The researchers discovered this surprising phenomenon by running simulations on NASA's Pleiades supercomputer, using observations from the Chandra X-ray Observatory.
Visualization of soil moisture data over western United States
05.31.17- Using SMAP Soil Moisture Data to Calibrate a Land Surface Model
Soil moisture retrievals from the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission are being used to evaluate and calibrate the treatment of soil moisture recharge in the Global Modeling and Assimilation Office (GMAO) Catchment land surface model. The improvements lead to better simulations of soil moisture and streamflow.
Still from an animation depicting the evolution of GEOS
05.19.17 – The Evolution and Anatomy of the GEOS Atmospheric Model
The Goddard Earth Observing System (GEOS) Atmospheric General Circulation Model has been designed in a modular fashion that facilitates adding new modules to compute impacts of different physical, chemical and biological processes. GEOS runs daily on NASA supercomputers.
Cross-section of graphs showing the root-mean-square error in temperature in the Hyb-4DEnVar system
05.09.17 - GMAO's Hybrid Ensemble-Variational System Gets an Upgrade
NASA's Global Modeling and Assimilation Office (GMAO) recently introduced major upgrades into its Goddard Earth Observing System Forward-Processing (GEOS FP) data assimilation system, including a transition from a three- to a four-dimensional system. GEOS FP runs four times per day at the NASA Center for Climate Simulation (NCCS).
Korea-United States Air Quality (KORUS-AQ) Campaign thumbnail
05.09.17 - The Korea-United States Air Quality (KORUS-AQ) Campaign
The GEOS-5 forecast model—running at the NASA Center for Climate Simulation (NCCS)—was used for near real time meteorological and aerosol forecasting and flight planning during the KORUS-AQ campaign.
Still image from the evolution of a stealth coronal mass ejection
05.08.17 - Space Weather Model Simulates Solar Storms From Nowhere
An international team of scientists has developed a model that simulates the evolution of stealth coronal mass ejections from the sun. The model ran at the NASA Center for Climate Simulation (NCCS).
Animation dissolving between two different views of hot gas in the Perseus galaxy cluster
05.02.17- Scientists Find Giant Wave Rolling Through the Perseus Galaxy Cluster
Combining data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory with radio observations and computer simulations, an international team of scientists has discovered a vast wave of hot gas in the nearby Perseus galaxy cluster. The simulations ran on the NASA Advanced Supercomputing (NAS) facility's Pleiades supercomputer
Illustration of computer code
05.02.17 – NASA Issues a Challenge to Speed Up Its Supercomputer Code
NASA’s aeronautical innovators are sponsoring a competition to reward qualified contenders who can manipulate the agency’s FUN3D design software so it runs 10 to 10,000 times faster on the Pleiades supercomputer without any decrease in accuracy.
Still image of solar jet eruption
04.26.17 - Scientists Propose Mechanism to Describe Solar Eruptions of All Sizes
Based on simulations run on the NASA Center for Climate Simulation (NCCS) Discover supercomputer, Durham University and NASA scientists propose that a universal mechanism can explain the whole spectrum of solar eruptions. Their work is summarized in a paper published in Nature.
Visualization of ozone over the North Pole
04.26.17 - Quantifying Chemical Ozone Loss in the Arctic Stratosphere with GEOS-STRATCHEM Data Assimilation System
A new configuration of the Goddard Earth Observing System (GEOS) Data Assimilation System was used with a stratospheric chemistry model to study ozone depletion in the Arctic polar stratosphere during the exceptionally cold (in the stratosphere) winters 2015/2016 and 2010/2011. GEOS runs at the NCCS.
Visualization of computed pollutant emissions over Northern India
04.26.27 - Taking Air Pollution to the Extreme
The GEOS Forward Processing (FP) system captured a large-scale pollution event over India in November 2016. With its computation of aerosol and pollutant emissions from fires detected by MODIS, the GEOS FP system provided realistic estimates of this surface pollution as well as strong evidence that the source was from agricultural burning practices prevalent at that time of year.
Cross section of Antartica modeled surface velocities
04.21.17 - Using Ice Sheet Models to Improve Sea Level Rise Predictions
Scientists are running large-scale ice sheet simulations on NASA's Pleiades supercomputer to help improve predictions of ice sheet evolution and to understand the impact on global sea level.
Visualization of the computed velocity on a slice through a deployed Orion parachute
03.08.17 - Simulating Parachute Dynamics for NASA Space Exploration Mission
Aerospace engineers at the NASA Advenced Supercomputing (NAS) facility are developing new, high-fidelity simulation tools to predict the complex dynamics of parachute clusters as they decelerate through the atmosphere.
Image showing what the D-Wave recognized as trees in a satellite photo of a California landscape
03.08.17 – Quantum Computer Learns to 'See' Trees
A new study co-authored by NAS Division earth scientist Ramakrishna Nemani describes how researchers trained a D-Wave 2X quantum computer to recognize trees, laying the groundwork for better climate forecasting.
Root zone soil moisture in Ethiopia from the NASA Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission
2.24.17 - GMAO Science Snapshots
Recent studies from NASA's Global Modeling and Assimilation Office (GMAO)—the biggest user of the NASA Center for Climate Simulation—focused on soil moisture and carbon fluxes.
Thumbnail 3D visualization of heat shield material
02.22.17 - When Rocket Science Meets X-ray Science
A four-part series by Lawrence Berkeley Lab's Glenn Roberts Jr. focuses on a partnership between NASA and the Lab to explore spacecraft thermal protection materials in microscale detail. Analysis and simulations were produced using the Pleiades supercomputer at the NASA Advenced Supercomputing (NAS) facility.
3D cutaway image of the Modular Supercomputing Facility
02.16.17 - NASA Ames Kicks off Pathfinding Modular Supercomputing Facility
The innovative Electra modular supercomputer is already making it faster and easier for scientists to run simulations for NASA missions—while also saving water and electricity.
Visualization of surface air temperature
02.08.17 - Climate of an Earth-Like World with Changing Eccentricity
NASA and university scientists built the first ever 3D global climate model simulations of an Earth-like world using a fully coupled ocean with an evolving planetary orbit and ran them at the NASA Center for Climate Simulation (NCCS).
thumbnail image of star magnetic field simulation
02.03.17 - Our Supermassive Black Hole Could Be 'Supercharging' Stars' Magnetism
Using the NASA Advanced Supercomputing (NAS) facility's high-end computing resources, astronomers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics have—for the first time—been able to include the magnetic fields of stars in computer simulations where a star is "pulled apart and stretched," giving a clue about how the stars in the center of our galaxy respond to straying too close to a monster black hole.
Stylized electtical wire schematic
02.01.17 - Managing Energy Efficiency at NASA
Scientific Computing World's Robert Roe discusses how NAS is optimizing energy efficiency and water usage to maximize the facility’s potential to deliver computing services to our user community.
Section of world map with graphs showing changes in national cookstove user impact ambient air quality
01.23.17 - Targeting Cookstove Pollution Using Supercomputers and NASA Satellites
Using NASA High-End Computing Capability facilities, researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder and Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, were able to map out pollution flow patterns world-wide and determine how cookstove emissions in one country can cause problems hundreds of miles away.
Simulation of the DJI Phantom 3 during flight
01.11.17 - Exploring Drone Aerodynamics with Computers
For decades, NASA has used computer models to simulate the flow of air around aircraft in order to test designs and improve the performance of next-generation vehicles. At NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley, researchers recently used this technique to explore the aerodynamics of a popular example of a small, battery-powered drone, a modified DJI Phantom 3 quadcopter.

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