EU Centre of Excellence in High Performance Computing: ChEESE’s urgent computing in the service of Cumbre Vieja volcanic eruption

The Cumbre Vieja’s eruption, which began in September 2021, has produced devastating lava flows and emissions, resulting in the evacuation of more than 6000 people, the destruction of dozens of houses, and the disruption of aerial navigation.  In response to this, the “urgent computing” capacities (emergency use of computing resources to deal with disaster situations) of the ChEESE EU Centre of Excellence at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center have been vital. ChEESE scientists have been running simulations of the ash clouds and aerosols triggered by the ongoing volcanic activity, using the MareNostrum-4 pre-exascale supercomputer. These simulations provide forecasts for the eruption’s evolution and cover the Canary Islands at a 1 km resolution and the wider region at a 5 km resolution. As a result, the PEVOCLA committee composed of representatives of the Canary Islands regional government, civil protection authorities, and the Spanish army, is able to analyse and mitigate the effects of the lava flow and atmospheric emissions, keeping local people safe but also minimising the risk to aircraft providing essential services.

With extreme natural phenomena becoming more and more of a regular occurrence, with an impact on all levels of our society and economy, Europe’s High Performance Computing infrastructure is a strategic asset to our society to monitor, forecast and mitigate the effects of environmental change and contributes directly to the objectives of the European Green Deal.

More information about ChEESE urgent computing to the Cumbre Vieja eruption will be available soon on CORDIS.

Background

The ChEESE Centre of Excellence (CoE) in Solid Earth is one of the 15 EU Centres of Excellence in High Performance Computing (HPC) applications across Europe funded by Horizon 2020, the EU Research and Innovation programme for 2014-2020.

The ChEESE Centre of Excellence develops services for exascale supercomputing in the field of Solid Earth (SE). ChEESE is preparing 10 flagship codes for computational seismology, magnetohydrodynamics, physical volcanology, tsunamis, data analysis and predictive techniques for earthquake and volcano monitoring. The project will develop pilot demonstrators for simulation performances and offer training on services and capacity-building activities. Additionally, and in collaboration with the European Plate Observing System (EPOS), ChEESE will promote and facilitate the integration of HPC services to widen the access to codes to the SE users community. Finally, ChEESE aims at acting as a hub to foster HPC across the SE Community and related stakeholders and to provide specialized training on services and capacity building measures.

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