UPSCALE Project Overview

UPSCALE is a somewhat contrived acronym for UK on PRACE - weather-resolving Simulations of Climate for globAL Environmental risk.

In 2012 a UK team lead by Prof. Pier Luigi Vidale from NCAS (National Centre for Atmospheric Science)-Climate at the University of Reading and the UK Met Office Hadley Centre ran a series of ensembles of HadGEM3 global atmosphere-only simulations (GA3.0 configuration) at resolutions of 130 km (N96, Standard IPCC class), 60 km (N216, current seasonal forecast) and 25km (N512, current global weather forecasting) for both present climate conditions and a potential future climate scenario (RCP8.5).

This project was principally run using a single year, 144 million core hour, supercomputing grant from PRACE (the Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe) to use the Cray XE6 supercomputer HERMIT at HLRS in Stuttgart, Germany. The data generated by UPSCALE is hosted by the JASMIN Platform, a data storage and analysis facility developed and run by STFC-CEDA (The STFC Centre for Environmental Data Archival). Additional development and production runs were performed on both MONSooN (the Met Office NERC Supercomputing Node) and the UK national supercomputer HECToR.

As noted above the UPSCALE data set consists of ensembles of runs at different resolutions for Present Climate (PC) conditions and Future Climate (FC) conditions based on the RCP8.5 scenario at the end of the 21st century. The PC ensemble comprises 5/3/5 members at N512/N216/N96 resolution each 27 years long, with three 26 year members at each resolution in the FC ensemble. A full description of the technical implementation of the UPSCALE project has just been published in Geoscientific Model Development and the supplementary information to this paper gives a full specification of the diagnostics available in the full data set.

The UPSCALE data set is hosted on both JASMIN, where excellent analysis facilities are available, and the Met Office archives. The full data set is in excess of 400 TiB in size so the proximity of the analysis facilities and the storage on JASMIN is a vital for its exploitation. The practicalities of working with data on this scale mean that retrieving large volumes of data from JASMIN to local storage is expensive and impractical, so we strongly recommend that anyone working with this data set should perform the majority of their data analysis on JASMIN. Individual 2D fields from N96, N216 and N512 take up 100 KB, 0.55MB and 3.1MB of storage respectively, so any analysis requiring high frequency fields across the full ensemble will need to access a massive amount of data.

The UPSCALE simulations are available for analysis by the scientific community. If you are interested in doing this, please

  1. contact met-upscale (at) providing details of your affiliation and a brief description of the kind of research your are planning with the UPSCALE data.
  2. register for an account with CEDA and JASMIN (details available here and here).
  3. apply for access to the UPSCALE workspace (as described here)

Note that a there is a license agreement covering access to the data set, which requires the UPSCALE team to be appropriately credited in any work using the data.

Key characteristics of the UPSCALE simulations

  • Based upon Global Atmosphere 3.0 configuration of the Hadley Centre Global Environmental Model version 3 (HadGEM3; Walters et al. 2011), with a few (minor) modifications.
  • Resolution: 85 hybrid height levels in the vertical covering 0-85km, with horizontal grids of N96, N216 and N512 (equivalent to 130 km, 60 km and 25 km respectively).
  • parallel simulations with nearly-identical model formulation across resolutions.
  • Present and idealised future-climate simulations with prescribed sea surface temperatures, i.e. "atmosphere-only".
  • present-climate simulations
    • forced with daily OSTIA sea surface temperatures (SSTs)
    • 1985-2011 (27 years)
  • idealised future-climate simulations
    • following RCP8.5 scenario (Taylor et al. 2012)
    • SST forcing: daily OSTIA + SST change from RCP8.5 HadGEM2-AO (Atmosphere-Ocean) simulation around 2100
N96 (130 km) N216 (60 km) N512 (25 km)
Illustration of grid resolutions ranging from N96 (130 km, "IPCC class") to N512 (25 km) showing height of topography (m) and coastline (ocean colour for fractional land cover of less than 50%) at different resolutions.

UPSCALE data set description

A full listing of the variables in each run is available in a the supplementary document attached to Mizielinski et al (direct link). In addition, climate, annual and seasonal mean data has been produced from monthly mean output.

UPSCALE tropical cyclone tracks

The UPSCALE tropical cyclone tracks described in Roberts et al (2015) have been converted to netcdf format and are available to use on request. The format of these files is documented here.


Taylor, K. E., R. J. Stouffer, and G. A. Meehl (2012), An Overview of CMIP5 and the Experiment Design, Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 93(4), 485-€“498, doi:10.1175/BAMS-D-11-00094.1

Walters, D. N. et al. (2011), The Met Office Unified Model Global Atmosphere 3.0/3.1 and JULES Global Land 3.0/3.1 configurations, Geosci. Model Dev., 4, 919-941, doi:10.5194/gmd-4-919-2011.

Last modified 12 months ago Last modified on 23/01/18 16:51:09

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