Promoting uptake and development of MONC

Posted by m.jackson on 23 March 2016 - 1:38pm

CloudsBy Mike Jackson, Software Architect.

We're helping EPCC and the Met Office promote the uptake, and ongoing development, of the Met Office NERC cloud (MONC) model within the atmospheric sciences community. We're assessing how easy it is to deploy MONC, helping set up a MONC virtual machine and advising on setting up resources for engaging with and supporting researchers.

At the Met Office weather and climate are predicted using numerical models, in particular, the Unified Model (UM). The UM is run on super-computers to produce high spatial resolution forecasts (1 km) for the UK. The details of forecasts are valuable for many public institutions and companies.

A vital tool for the development and testing of the UM is the Met Office Large Eddy simulation model (LEM). The LEM is used to simulate atmospheric phenomena, such as fog, clouds and deep convection at very high resolutions (10 to 100 s metres). The LEM was first developed in the early 90s and parallelised in the mid-1990s. While it can be argued that science undertaken with the LEM underpins many of the atmospheric parameterisations in the UM, the LEM can no longer capitalise on supercomputer enhancements, as the code structure and parallelism is out-dated. MONC is a complete rewrite and reengineering of the Met Office's Large Eddy Model (LEM), so that the LEM's underlying science is preserved while providing a flexible community model that can exploit modern super-computers such as ARCHER, the UK's national super-computing service, and the Met Office's new £97 million super-computer.

EPCC's Michele Weiland and Nick Brown and the Met Office's Adrian Hill successfully applied to our Research Software Group for help as part of our Open Call. Our collaboration has five objectives. We will review MONC to see how easy it is to deploy and use, and how easy it is for researchers to set up their own development environment to plug together existing components and to develop their own. Complementing this, we will help to prepare a virtual machine within which MONC has been deployed to allow researchers to try out MONC as quickly and easily as possible, before using MONC on a super-computer. We will provide advice on how LEM users moving to MONC can be supported. We will write a contributions policy to encourage researchers to contribute code, bug fixes, documentation and case-studies to MONC. Finally, based on our experiences with previous open call projects including BoneJ and Distance, we will prototype a public-facing web site template.

MONC will enable current and future generations of scientists to simulate atmospheric flows and clouds using super-computers. Each of our objectives contributes to encouraging the uptake, and ongoing development, of MONC within the UK. The goal is for MONC to replace LEM as the de facto community code for the UK atmospheric sciences community, to allow this community to exploit state-of-the-art super-computer facilities and so to generate more detailed, and accurate, climate forecasts.

For more information, please see our who do we work with page.