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US doubles supercomputing power in battle against hurricanes

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Hurricane Sandy (NOAA)
Hurricane Sandy (NOAA)

While it might not be able to fight the awesome power of Mother Nature, US weather agency NOAA is doing what it can to stay one step ahead of her. As America braces for a rise in extreme weather patterns, including "an active or extremely active" hurricane season, NOAA has significantly boosted the power of its supercomputers, more than doubling its capabilities to give more accurate forecasts ahead of time.

Now capable of a whopping 213 trillion calculations per second — up from 90 trillion — the agency hopes to use its new-found power to help citizens better prepare for extreme weather, ultimately keeping them out of danger. The upgrade has already resulted in a 15 percent improvement in forecast models, but NOAA isn't going to stop there. The weather organization has already submitted a government proposal to boost its computing power to process a staggering 1,950 trillion calculations per second by 2015. With more processing power in its pocket, it hopes to better understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment and build what it calls a "weather-ready nation."