Development of Parallel Code for the Alaska Tsunami Forecast Model

Monday, 15 December 2014
Bohyun Bahng1, William R Knight1 and Paul Whitmore2, (1)NOAA / NWS / National Tsunami Warning Center, Palmer, AK, United States, (2)NOAA Anchorage, Anchorage, AK, United States
The Alaska Tsunami Forecast Model (ATFM) is a numerical model used to forecast propagation and inundation of tsunamis generated by earthquakes and other means in both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. At the U.S. National Tsunami Warning Center (NTWC), the model is mainly used in a pre-computed fashion. That is, results for hundreds of hypothetical events are computed before alerts, and are accessed and calibrated with observations during tsunamis to immediately produce forecasts. ATFM uses the non-linear, depth-averaged, shallow-water equations of motion with multiply nested grids in two-way communications between domains of each parent-child pair as waves get closer to coastal waters. Even with the pre-computation the task becomes non-trivial as sub-grid resolution gets finer. Currently, the finest resolution Digital Elevation Models (DEM) used by ATFM are 1/3 arc-seconds. With a serial code, large or multiple areas of very high resolution can produce run-times that are unrealistic even in a pre-computed approach.

One way to increase the model performance is code parallelization used in conjunction with a multi-processor computing environment. NTWC developers have undertaken an ATFM code-parallelization effort to streamline the creation of the pre-computed database of results with the long term aim of tsunami forecasts from source to high resolution shoreline grids in real time. Parallelization will also permit timely regeneration of the forecast model database with new DEMs; and, will make possible future inclusion of new physics such as the non-hydrostatic treatment of tsunami propagation. The purpose of our presentation is to elaborate on the parallelization approach and to show the compute speed increase on various multi-processor systems.