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World-leading ocean simulations

Researchers from the new ARC Centre of Excellence in Climate Extremes are leveraging NCI’s huge supercomputing power to perform world-leading ocean simulations. They are using more than 500 computer-processing cores in parallel over thousands of hours to investigate fine-scale turbulence and convection in the Southern Ocean.

Turbulence and convection lead to ocean mixing, which plays a big role in moving heat, carbon and nutrients around the global ocean. Before now, theories assumed that the level of ocean mixing was uniform and quite low across the Southern Ocean. Now, this simulation reveals that there is much more ocean mixing going on than we thought.

Researcher Taimoor Sohail says, “The model is able to tell us not only how much mixing is happening, but also where it is happening in the Southern Ocean.”

 

Mr Sohail’s PhD research is the first to investigate ocean mixing and transport processes in a model of the Southern Ocean using cutting edge Direct Numerical Simulations (energy conserving models that do not rely on any small-scale paramerizations). Without the NCI’s computational resources, says Mr Sohail, “running such a large high-resolution model would have been impossible. Given that we have more than 100 million grid points being solved for each time step in the model run, the research would not have been possible without NCI’s computing power.”

Understanding these processes in the Southern Ocean also helps us to understand more about oceans around the world, biological activity and climate change. As our computing power increases, we are able to look in more detail at the complex fluid interactions taking place in our oceans. When we look closely at some of these natural phenomena, we often find that there is more going on than we originally thought.

NCI’s mission is to enable innovative and impactful science. By providing Australia’s most powerful and most reliable platform for scientific computing to more than 6000 researchers, we raise the ambition and outcomes of Australian science.

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