Outcomes and challenges of global high-resolution non-hydrostatic atmospheric simulations using the K computer

Masaki Satoh, Hirofumi Tomita, Hisashi Yashiro, Yoshiyuki Kajikawa, Yoshiaki Miyamoto, Tsuyoshi Yamaura, Tomoki Miyakawa, Masuo Nakano, Chihiro Kodama, Akira T. Noda, Tomoe Nasuno, Yohei Yamada, Yoshiki Fukutomi

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14 Citations (Scopus)


This article reviews the major outcomes of a 5-year (2011–2016) project using the K computer to perform global numerical atmospheric simulations based on the non-hydrostatic icosahedral atmospheric model (NICAM). The K computer was made available to the public in September 2012 and was used as a primary resource for Japan’s Strategic Programs for Innovative Research (SPIRE), an initiative to investigate five strategic research areas; the NICAM project fell under the research area of climate and weather simulation sciences. Combining NICAM with high-performance computing has created new opportunities in three areas of research: (1) higher resolution global simulations that produce more realistic representations of convective systems, (2) multi-member ensemble simulations that are able to perform extended-range forecasts 10–30 days in advance, and (3) multi-decadal simulations for climatology and variability. Before the K computer era, NICAM was used to demonstrate realistic simulations of intra-seasonal oscillations including the Madden-Julian oscillation (MJO), merely as a case study approach. Thanks to the big leap in computational performance of the K computer, we could greatly increase the number of cases of MJO events for numerical simulations, in addition to integrating time and horizontal resolution. We conclude that the high-resolution global non-hydrostatic model, as used in this five-year project, improves the ability to forecast intra-seasonal oscillations and associated tropical cyclogenesis compared with that of the relatively coarser operational models currently in use. The impacts of the sub-kilometer resolution simulation and the multi-decadal simulations using NICAM are also reviewed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number13
JournalProgress in Earth and Planetary Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jan 1
Externally publishedYes



  • Global non-hydrostatic model
  • Intra-seasonal oscillations
  • K computer
  • Madden-Julian oscillation
  • Tropical cyclone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

Cite this

Satoh, M., Tomita, H., Yashiro, H., Kajikawa, Y., Miyamoto, Y., Yamaura, T., Miyakawa, T., Nakano, M., Kodama, C., Noda, A. T., Nasuno, T., Yamada, Y., & Fukutomi, Y. (2017). Outcomes and challenges of global high-resolution non-hydrostatic atmospheric simulations using the K computer. Progress in Earth and Planetary Science, 4(1), [13]. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40645-017-0127-8