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Climate Change Consortium of Wales (C3W)

Sophie Wilmes from the School of Ocean Sciences, a first year HPC Wales PhD student, recently took part in a workshop on the use of High Performance Computing (HPC) in tidal modelling applications, held at the prestigious premises of The Royal Society.

“Essentially, all models are wrong but some are useful”. So said one well-known Earth system modeller, and this was the mantra at the Workshop.

Though tidal models are wrong, predictions based on these models are generally more accurate than other kinds of models as tides are one of the most predictable components of the Earth system. If this were not the case, then tide tables would be as wrong as weather forecasts.

Amongst other things, predictions of future coastal flooding and determining the melt rate of the Greenland Ice Sheet depend on tidal corrections, and tidal models are fundamental tools for assessing the tidal energy resource, optimising tidal power arrays and predicting the impacts of tidal power schemes. These applications – and the HPC systems required to run the models – were the focus of the workshop which will lead to funding proposals in the near future.

Sophie Wilmes explained the interactions between tides and ice sheets to the 25 scientists from Australia, Japan and the UK, the UK group being made up of researchers from Imperial College London and Bangor University’s School of Ocean Sciences.

The Workshop was funded by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry via Fujitsu Laboratories of Europe (FLE) and organised by the Climate Change Consortium of Wales (C3W).

Publication date: 12 December 2012