Navy, Weather Channel form team

Fleet Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Center

The Navy and The Weather Channel announced Wednesday that they have signed an agreement to jointly examine new ways to produce and present climate and weather forecasts.

Under the agreement, The Weather Channel will have access to climate, weather and ocean data processed by the Silicon Graphics Inc. Origin 3800 supercomputer at the Fleet Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Center in Monterey, Calif. The 128-processor machine uses the largest existing real-time databases of oceanic and atmospheric observations.

"We felt for a long time that we had capabilities better than others in general," said Richard Spinrad, technical director for the oceanographer of the Navy, before his presentation at SGI's federal high-performance computing summit in Silver Spring, Md., Wednesday. "We held that very close for a variety of reasons, but we saw advantages in some things that the Navy doesn't invest in."

Spinrad said the Navy is interested in how The Weather Channel presents complex prediction and forecasting models into decision support materials. It also is interested in the graphical user interfaces The Weather Channel has developed.

The Weather Channel's forecasting system includes two SGI Origin 2000 servers, seven SGI Octane and 45 SGI O2 workstations running SGI's Weather Services International WxPro software.

The Weather Channel will have access to the Navy's Coupled Ocean/Atmosphere Mesoscale Prediction System, which is used to predict changes in ocean and weather conditions in highly complex coastal areas of the world.

"You can't predict weather without understanding the ocean and the atmosphere and how they couple," Spinrad said, adding that the Navy is talking to other sources, including AccuWeather Inc., about similar agreements.

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