SC20 Proceedings

The International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage, and Analysis

Urgent Data Analysis: Tracking Tornados in Real Time


Workshop:Urgent HPC: HPC for Urgent Decision Making

Authors: Phil Bording (Alabama A&M University)


Abstract: Lightning talk: The time to escape from a tornado is measured in minutes and the swath of damage from an F5-rated tornado is measured in kilometers in length and up to a kilometer in width. Weather radar uses doppler measurements to see the possible energy density from a tornado. Radar is accurate with location but does not confirm if the tornado is on the ground. New methods using recorded and processed seismic waves can actually detect if the tornado is on the ground and the approximate energy density. Using high-performance computing in real time and sensors systems placed in a population density grid, the moving energy source location can be tracked in real time across the earth surface. Once the track is computed using urgent data analysis methods on high-performance computers, phone apps and visual computer messages can be sent as citizen alerts. This would be a real-time and continuous process until the tornado lifts or dissipates.

The earth surface has low and slow velocities; energy at the near surface travels deeper in higher velocity layers and these near surface waves travel faster. The earth velocity model is built using passive seismic source activity over time and when a tornado action takes place the compute-intensive back propagation algorithms can triangulate the energy track and path in real time. Placing seismic receivers at or near schools, hospitals and dense population areas can provide early warning. Once the passive data earth model is operational, areas not well-covered can be determined and additional sensors provided. Model simulation animations demonstrating moving source wave propagation will be shown.


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