NOAA is recognized as a world leader in understanding and predicting the Earth’s environment, through advanced modeling capabilities, climate research, and real time weather products that have a wide-reaching influence on our Nation’s economic, social, and environmental needs. Growing concerns over global climate change, hurricanes, wildfires, and other environmental threats have spurred more public demand for climate and weather information with increased accuracy, shorter lead times, and local detail in model simulations.
To meet this demand, NOAA scientists require leadership-class, high performance computing (HPC) systems with petaflops-scale capabilities (a petaflop is one million-billion operations per second). NOAA estimates that this performance requirement is similar to that of the top 10 supercomputing environments in the world.In order to accommodate this new supercomputing environmental modeling, NOAA requires a new, more flexible facility for its HPC program. This facility must be capable of supporting the vast array of technical and product delivery requirements to meet the needs of many diverse stakeholders.
The new NOAA Environmental Security Computing Center (NESCC) will accommodate NOAA's multiple mission requirements for HPC capabilities. A critical NOAA objective is to create highly efficient raised-floor data center spaces that employs wel known and proven technologies to achieve the lowest practical Power Utilization Efficiency (PUE) ratio. The mechanical and electrical infrastructure shall be designed to maximize “free cooling” and to minimize power distribution losses. The new NESCC facility shall support at least two supercomputing systems including NOAA's planned development supercomputer for Climate Services and the Operations Backup supercomputer system for daily weather forecast production.