SEOUL, South Korea, Feb. 27, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- South Korea's Meteorological Administration (KMA) and IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced a project to help KMA and its affiliate, the National Meteorological Satellite Center (NMSC), tackle Big Data for better, more accurate and predictive environmental forecasting.
As South Korea's national meteorological organization, KMA's mission is to protect citizens' lives and property from natural disasters and support economic activities sensitive to environmental conditions.However, weather forecasting is the proverbial data deluge. Every day KMA gathers more than 1.6 terabytes of meteorological data, including temperature and barometric pressure readings, wind speeds, images as well as observations from satellites, balloons, ships and aircraft. One of the key sources of data is Korea's first communication, ocean and meteorological satellite – dubbed Cheollian – managed by the National Meteorological Satellite Center. To allow for the torrents of data to be stored and available for real-time analysis, IBM has provided KMA and NMSC with the latest IBM storage technologies capable of recording 20 gigabytes (equivalent to 400,000 web pages) of data per second. With a total storage capacity of 9.3 petabytes (1 million gigabytes) it is South Korea's most powerful data storage system to date. The new infrastructure enables KMA and NMSC to analyze data more quickly and accurately than previously possible. By incorporating maps and historical data, KMA is able to develop tailored weather forecasts for each of South Korea's nine regions. Processing data in real time enables immediate updates on weather conditions. For example, meteorologists can predict more precisely the trajectory of a typhoon or the coverage of the 'Hwangsa' - the yellow sand storms originating in Mongolia and Northern China that cause environmental problems in Korea in the spring season. The system is so powerful that it paves the way for localized weather forecasting services for clients in certain regions or cities, such as emergency service providers, hotels, golf courses and farms as well as related services such as weather insurance for outdoor events.