Norwegian Service Centre for Climate Modelling -> News archive



News archive

News year 2003

Dec. 3. 2003
The upgraded NoSerC storage system on Gridur and Embla is now available. In total, the new system will have 14.5 TB online and upto 33 TB on tape (backup and archiving).

The new system is mounted on /noserc2 with a similar directory structure as found on the old /noserc disk.

However, limitations in disk volume sizes makes it necessary to use a slightly different structure for the /noserc2/regclim directory:

Users with large storage needs are given separate volumes corresponding to directories with names like:

Currently, this applies to the users jek, kirkevag, mifajd, mifajh, nilsg, oddho and yong.

Other users are sharing one volume (/noserc2/regclim/users) and are given directories with names like:

For the other projects (chemclim, noclim and emep), the structure will be:

The /noserc1 file system will be restructured and all data on this system will be copied to /noserc2. From now on, please store ALL your new data on your /noserc2 directory. If a directory has not been created for you, please contact

The NoSerC crew will now start copying the data from /noserc and /noserc1 to the new /noserc2 system. You will get an email when your data has been copied.

While this work is going on, directories and the copied files on /noserc2 will belong to the noserc user and the noserc group. All registered users (members of group noserc) are permitted to create new directories and files. Please use this possibility with care, as name collisions with existing files not yet copied from /noserc or /noserc1 could be a problem. The ownership and group structure will be restored when the copying work is finished.

The copying work is expected to be finished within December 31. 2003.


Nov. 7. 2003
We have upgraded the NoSerC storage facility in Trondheim to a larger and more easily expandable system, no longer based on the technique of data migration from disk to tape, this time with full online disk storage with backup to tape. This new storage system will also have a possibility of tape archiving, but not automatic as in the previous /noserc system. The new storage system is currently mounted as /noserc1 on both and, with the same project- based directory structure as known from /noserc.

In order to transfer resources (licence fees and support) to the new disk storage system, the tape migration system will be shut down. The /noserc disk, together with the tape robot which is an integrated part of the system, will not be in operation after January 1 2004. Accordingly, all files on /noserc that should be preserved, must be moved to a new storage system. Two options will be available: either the new disk based system (/noserc1 and later also /noserc2), or a tape archive.

This operation will be done by the NoSerC crew. If all users were to move their files simultaneously, the tape robot system would be overloaded.

We have prepared separate lists (example), showing all directories on /noserc containing files belonging to each user. The list also contains the number of files in each directory and the total size of all these files (in kilobytes). The list and the message you are now reading has been mailed to each of the users registered with files on /noserc. If you have received this message, we ask you to go through the list, and decide what you want to do with each directory. You have three options:
MOVEMove the files in the directory to a similar directory on the new disk system.
ARCHIVEMove the files to a tape archive on the new system. The files will then not be available online, but through a procedure that could involve manual handling of the tapes. Accordingly, it is importantant that only files needed very seldom are archived in this way. This option is mainly intended for files that might be used in the future, but no actual plans exist for the utilization of the files.
DELETEDelete the files. We hope you will seriously consider this option for files that really are not needed any more.

The attached text file shows only information at the directory level. If you need to look into some directories in more detail, you should do this directly on the computer.

We ask you to return to us, within November 17. 2003, an overview of your decisions regarding these files. This could be done by returning the attached text file with each line annotated by one of the key words described above. Insert the keyword at the beginning of each line (example).

If you need to detail your decisions at the file level for some directories, you could do this by making lists (using ls -l) for each directory and annotate this list in the same way as described above.

If you find our suggested reporting method unpractical for some reasons, you are free to report in any other way, as long as you provide us with unambigous descriptions of your decisions.

We are thankful for your assistance, and hope you will spend the time neccessary for this operation to be successful. It is a large operation, involving over 300000 files, and we need the time we can get for the actual copying work. We would appreciate wery much if you could keep the deadline we have set for your contribution, November 17 2003. The overall deadline of January 1 2004 for this project is final.

New diskserver May 20. 2003
We are pleased to announce that we have now installed a new disksystem in NOTUR. This is a long desired extension of the tape and disk system (which now is full). The new system is based on disks only, all data will be available online. An additional disk array is used for backup.

Users that have earlier been admitted to the disk will also be admitted to the new disk system. The new disk is named /noserc1 on both and The extdata (containing ERA40 and NCEP reanalysis data) directory has been allocated for storage of external data. Each project has its own directory similar to the storage model on /noserc. Note that each project now is defined as a separate filesystem (/noserc1/chemclim, /noserc1/noclim, /noserc1/regclim) with a limited space quota for each project, to prevent storage problems for the other projects. It is left to the projects to design a suitable directory structure within each project.

New diskserver and a few of the Origin 3800's All new climate research data MUST be stored on /noserc1, no new data should be stored on /noserc. If it is necessary to keep datafiles together, then copy the old files from /noserc (and delete from /noserc afterwards) to /noserc1. Use unbuffered copying to avoid problems ("cp -D").

Backup of /noserc1 will be performed as an incremental backup every night, with a full backup every Monday. The full backup will overwrite the previous full backup, so deleted files will be lost after one week!

It is also possible to mount the disk from other locations in Norway (eg. Bergen/Oslo/Tromsø), please take contact with if this is desired.

The pictures above shows part of the Origin 3800 installation, the new disksystem is the rack in the middle of the top picture.

NoSerC effect April 30. 2003
A collection of results from effect research is now available on this website. See Effect Research.
March 28. 2003
The /noserc filesystem is full - new capacity is under way

In April the storage facility for climate data will be extended. Open Systems/Nexsan will deliver 7 TB of disk attached to a Linux filseserver. Later this year, the capacity will be further expanded. Including the existing system, we expect to have a total capacity of 32 TB by September. Half of this will be directly available for the users, the other half will be used for backup.

The new server will look like a regular disk-system to the users. We will discuss with the large users how to combine the existing migration based system and the new disk system, and a users guide will be provided.

Unfortunately, we are short of storage capacity until the new system arrives. As a result of an increased use the last week, the /noserc filesystem is now almost full. We will have to ask you not to copy large (>10 GB) datasets into /noserc without prior acknowledge from the NoSerC crew. Please carefully evaluate if you have data on /noserc that you will not use anymore and in that case delete these files as soon as possible.

February 11. 2003
Information about ERA40 is now added under Datasets Stored. A small amount of data is already stored on the /noserc filesystem on See also MetaMod for details.
February 6. 2003
Two new datasets have been added to the /noserc filesystem on See SLP and T2M 1873-1998 under Datasets Stored.
February 5. 2003
The modifications NoSerC made to the decoders package from unidata (conversion programs from GRIB to netCDF) have been incorporated in the official decoders-2.4.0 release. See Format Conversion and Unidata Decoders.
Clim.pact-V0.9, a statistical package based on R for empirical downscaling of climate data, is now available for download.
February 4. 2003
The Project Description for 2003-2004 has now been approved and published.
The new 50 tapes have been installed on the /noserc filesystem and are available for storage of datasets.
January 14. 2003
The /noserc filesystem on has been close to 100% full for some time now. Until disk/tape capacity is increased we must urge users to avoid storing new data on /noserc.
50 new tapes have been purchased for the /noserc disk, but have not reached installation yet. This will increase effective storage capacity by another 750GB (excluding backup).
NoSerC will extend the storage capacity further, plans are to install a disk system with a total of 12-15TB (this includes backup, so effective storage will be 6-7TB). We hope this system can be in place by March. The physical location of the new system and how it will be connected to the existing system is currently being investigated.
The Research Council of Norway has evaluated the requests for funding for the period starting in 2003. Based on the result of the evaluation of NoSerC, will revise the Project Description. We will publish the new Project Description when it has been approved. See also project number 155836/720 at KlimaEffekter and KlimaProg.

An advanced data storage system as /noserc has its limitations, the most serious seems to be the cp/mv problem. DO NOT USE CP OR MV WITH LARGE DATAFILES TO /noserc ! As we have informed earlier, file transfer to /noserc is by default going through a memory buffer in the computer. This is to increase command performance, by giving you the prompt back before the file is completely transferred. However, since the /noserc disk is somewhat slower than the other disks on gridur, the memory buffer quickly fills up. The cp/mv commands do not check how much memory is left, and may thus fill up all available memory on the computer. The effect is that all other processes on the computer may grind to a halt, as they have no more memory to use. We have even seen the computer crash as a result of this.
Large files (more than 500MB) or large collections of files must not be transferred to /noserc by ordinary cp/mv commands.
Use "cp -D" to avoid buffering of data.
Use "cp -D" and "rm" instead of "mv".
See also the /noserc User Guide.

News year 2002

November 26. 2002
We have seen a few problems with the tape system in the past weeks. The problems were caused by software errors and mechanical failures (in that order), but are now fixed.

An advanced data storage system as /noserc has its limitations, the most serious seems to be the cp/mv problem. DO NOT USE CP OR MV WITH LARGE DATAFILES TO /noserc ! As we have informed earlier, file transfer to /noserc is by default going through a memory buffer in the computer. This is to increase command performance, by giving you the prompt back before the file is completely transferred. However, since the /noserc disk is somewhat slower than the other disks on gridur, the memory buffer quickly fills up. The cp/mv commands do not check how much memory is left, and may thus fill up all available memory on the computer. The effect is that all other processes on the computer may grind to a halt, as they have no more memory to use. We have even seen the computer crash as a result of this.
Large files (more than 500MB) or large collections of files must not be transferred to /noserc by ordinary cp/mv commands.
Use "cp -D" to avoid buffering of data.
Use "cp -D" and "rm" instead of "mv".
See also the /noserc User Guide.

October 10. 2002
A new report Additional optimisation of CCM3.2, describing the efforts to reduce analysis time for a climate model run on the gridur SGI parallell computer, has now been published under SGI optimisation.
September 26. 2002
MetaMod, the web interface to the metadatabase for files on the /noserc-disk, has been opened up for all users. It is no longer necessary to provide a username and password to enter the interactive search/view part of the application. Direct access to the files on gridur is however still protected by a username/password regime.
September 25. 2002
Several climate researchers have shown an interest in the ECMWF ERA-40 reanalysis dataset. To establish a local copy for some of these data will be a natural task for NoSerC. There are, however, many options regarding which data we should prioritize. To make a local copy of the whole archive is, for the time being, not feasible. Therefore, all researchers with an interest in these data are invited to send us an overview of the variables and resolutions (time, horizontal and vertical) they would be interested in.
August 30. 2002
During the past weeks we have seen an explosive growth in the use of the storage system on /noserc. In one week as much as 600 Gigabyte was stored.
A total of 4 Terabyte of compressed data is now stored on tapes. For safety reasons are all files stored on two tapes, so the total storage on tapes is now 8 TB.
We are now approaching the storage capacity limit of the tape system, and we have already bought more tapes than the budget allowed this year. In other words: An expansion is needed before the facility can receive more data, we will probably exceed limits during next week.
The Research Council of Norway (KlimaProg) has been notified about the situation and we await feedback from them. In the meantime we have to ask everyone with data on /noserc to:
  1. Carefully evaluate if you have data on /noserc that you will not use anymore and in that case delete these files as soon as possible and no later than September 5.
  2. Don't start copying into /noserc any large (>10 GB) datasets without prior acknowledge from the NoSerC crew.
  3. Follow the guidelines given for use of /noserc at /noserc User Guide.
If the feedback from The Research Council of Norway is delayed or they can't give sufficient resources for a solution lasting to the end of 2002, we will have to enforce other actions. We are considering possible solutions based on the following priorities:
  1. Avoid that analyses stops due to lack of datastorage.
  2. Safe storage, i.e. backup must be easily accessible.
  3. The least possible extra work for you as scientists.
August 29. 2002
An updated version of our decoders-2.3.8 package is available for download at Format Conversion, References/downloads. The most recent update is to allow blanks or "none" as units in the "grib to netcdf translation table".
Sidenote: Unidata is now considering to incorporate our modifications into the official Decoders package.
August 7. 2002
Another set of tapes were installed on the disk monday, and now the data migration works as normal again. This will solve the problem of having too little free space on /noserc for the near future.
Again, we must emphasize that You should not use the /noserc-disk to store many small files. Data storage and retrieval speed detoriates rapidly when the tape system has to handle many small files. We have also had problems with computer memory when copying/moving very large files to /noserc, so please use "cp -D" as explained in earlier news.
July 31. 2002
In the recent days, several users have had problems using the /noserc disk on gridur.
Two independant problems have been identified that we would like to inform about:
  1. The /noserc disk has become more popular than was expected, so the utilization is now close to 100% full. In some situations we have seen that the disk goes full, and the subsequent data migration to tape aborts due to lack of free space on the tapes as well. A tape defragmentation work has been performed, but only to reduce problems until we receive more tapes from the supplier. We are currently waiting for tapes to arrive at NTNU.
    • Please do not store ecessive amounts of data into /noserc before the tape capacity is increased.
    • Always compress ascii data, pack into "tar"-files when you have many small files.
  2. The computer may crash when huge amounts of data are moved ("mv") or copied ("cp") into /noserc. This is a problem that was described earlier this year (June 4. 2002) for the cp-command. We have now also seen the problem during mv-commands. One of the reasons cp/mv gets into trouble is the fact that the I/O-speed of the /noserc-disk is much smaller than the other disks on gridur. The effect is that memory buffering of the data occurs with increasing demands for memory as the amount of data increases. Eventually, when copying many Gb of files, memory becomes 100% used and the computer crashes. This may not only cause problems for other users, but it may also cause files to be deleted if the "mv"-command was used. For "cp" one may use the option "-D" to skip memory buffering (but this is will obviously increase the time spent before you get the prompt back), but for "mv" there is no such option.
    We thus suggest for all users to:
    • Avoid using mv to /noserc, instead rewrite to cp -D [from] [to];rm [from]
    • Compress and pack data files as much as possible to save space.
June 12. 2002
Updated versions of gribtonc and gribtocdl have been installed on The new versions allow users to specify the netCDF parameter names for each GRIB parameter to be converted. See more information under Format Conversion/gribtonc User Guide.
June 11. 2002
A heavy rainfall caused flooding into the building housing and, the computers had to be shut down at 16:00 yesterday to prevent damage. See also (in norwegian) for the NTNU campus news.
The following message was recieved from gridur sysadmin:
Due to the water leakage announced earlier on, preventive maintenance work (PM) on gridur and embla is delayed by 12 hours. The current plan is:
11 AM : systems powered on (not available to users)
11 AM - 3 PM : extensive check of hardware status
3 PM - 6 PM : scheduled for forecast runs only
6 PM - 12 PM : maintenance work as planned for today, system available to users after this
Please contact by email or in case of problems or questions.
June 7. 2002
The following message was recieved from gridur sysadmin:
There will will be a preventive maintenance period on Tuesday June 11 7:30 - noon to return the upgraded gridur machine to service.
This requires a restart of all systems and hence the scheduled downtime. After this we will be fully powered, with 384 processors / 304 Gbytes in gridur and 512 p / 512 GB in embla.
We will attempt to restart jobs on this restart, as we had success in restarting a large number of jobs last time.
Please contact by email or in case of problems or questions.
June 4. 2002
Earlier today we had problems with resources on the gridur and embla computers. It was later found that the problems was caused by a large copying task by one user. In this particular case, more than 20 Gb of files were copied from the /work disk to the /noserc disk in one task.
It has now been shown that such large copying drained memory resources due to file buffering by the cp command, causing problems with memory access for other users and tasks.
We therefore urge users that need to copy large quantities of data to use "cp -D" so that the file copy does not use memory buffering. Please see the manpage of cp for further explanation of the "-D" option.
May 31. 2002
Wednesday June 5. the gridur computer will be shut down for reconfiguration. The computer will be upgraded with more processors and more memory. The upgrade process will take several days, possibly a whole week.
In the meantime you may use the computer, which is currently in the acceptance test period.
As the /noserc disk is controlled by the gridur computer, this means that the /noserc disk will also be unavailable during the upgrade period.
We urge all users that are going to use data on the /noserc disk to copy the necessary datafiles over to /work before gridur is shut down. The /work disk is shared by gridur and embla, so there should not be problems using /work from embla.
Do not copy the whole /noserc disk please, just the files that you need for analyses during the gridur downtime, as space on /work is not unlimited...
May 28. 2002
As many users have already noticed, the new supercomputer is available (see News on Note that the /noserc disk will not be accessible for batch jobs on embla. We urge users that files from must be copied to the work disk before accessing them in a batch run. This is the most efficcient method for file access on both gridur and embla. See also a brief guide to efficient use of the /noserc disk on /noserc User Guide.
May 15. 2002
A brief report on optimisation of a fortran program on has been included under SGI optimization.
May 14. 2002
Recently there have been problems with the tapestations used for storage and retrieval of files on the /noserc disk.
The tapestations have been unavailable for long periods. As a user you may experience this when trying to access a migrated file on /noserc and the system failes to respond.
The supplier is working on the problem, we hope it will be solved during the coming day(s).

For a brief guide to efficient use of the /noserc disk see /noserc User Guide
See status on and
May 13. 2002
The following message was recieved from gridur sysadmin:
Due to the ongoing installation of the new teraflop system at NTNU, the current production system ( experienced instability problems last week during the period May 2 - May 7.
The machines will be connected through a common Clustered XFS (CXFS) file system. During the period above, crashes on the new embla machine unfortunately brought down the other systems in the CXFS cluster as a side effect.
On May 8 9-12, an emergency PM was conducted on the systems to avoid this. Since then gridur has been running without impact due to crashes on other systems.
Although it now appears that gridur is stabilized, work is still going on to establish what is going to be the second largest SGI installation in Europe. Because of this work, we can not expect to achieve the contracted stability on the system before the formal acceptance period begins. The acceptance period shall start no later than June 1.
Notice operational messages connected with the installation are published on, as shown in the message-of-the-day on gridur.
If you experience any problems, have special needs or would like to do large scale tests during this period, please contact user support by email or web
April 5. 2002
The new webadress for NoSerC is now, so update your bookmarks if you haven't done it yet.
New information regarding the graphic tool Grads and the statistics package R has now been published, see Graphic Tools for a quick introduction.
March 11. 2002
A NoSerC User Meeting will be held in Bergen Thursday March 21. at 10:00. The meeting will be held in 'Store møterom', 3. floor at the Geophysical Institute, University of Bergen (See map of the University Campus).
Agenda for the meeting is as follows:
  1. Information about conversion between data formats.
  2. Information about the meta-database for climate modelling data.
  3. Effective use of the /noserc disk on gridur.
  4. Tools installed on gridur:
    • The statistics package R
    • Grads
  5. Users' suggestions. What tasks should NoSerC give priority.
All users known to be stationed in Bergen should have received an invitation. If You know someone who might be interested in participating in this meeting - please invite her/him.
March 6. 2002
The dataset MICOM-NERSC model layer 1 has been added to See also Datasets Stored.
February 22. 2002 is now fully operational again.
The Grid Analysis and Display System (GrADS) package has been installed on gridur and is available for all users. See documentation on
February 18. 2002 crashed Sunday 17.02.2002 and is still not fully operational. The /noserc disk is not functioning correctly due to hardware problems encountered in the crash: The tape facility used for datamigration to and from the /noserc disk is not working. We do not know yet when the system will be back to normal operation.
Note that system may have to be shut down for repairs.
February 13. 2002
Four new datasets have been added to Datasets Stored.
A printerfriendly version of each web-page is now available, see link at the bottom of each page.
A few minor changes in the layout are also implemented in the web-site.
February 11. 2002
Note that will be down for maintenance february 12. from 17:00 to 24:00.
February 7. 2002
Our host, DNMI, is changing its name to - this change also affects this site so that email-adresses are now changed.
In the future use to contact us.
January 14. 2002
To reduce the chance of data loss during the announced upgrade, SGI has now chosen to do a more limited upgrade of the /noserc filesystem on .
Upgrade is now scheduled to be from 16:00 to 20:00 on January 16 only. In this period the /noserc disk will not be available.
It has not been decided when the rest of the (originally planned) upgrade will take place.
January 11. 2002
The /noserc filesystem on will be unavailable from the evening of January 16, the entire day of the 17th and possibly also the 18th, due to a hardware/firmware upgrade of the TP9100.

News year 2001

December 21. 2001
The gribtocdl tool has been updated, a few errors are removed in the GRID-interpretation. See the Format Conversion pages.
A metadatabase describing the files on the /noserc-disk has been released. The web-interface is on See also an introduction in Datasets Stored.
As part of the NOTUR Metacenter training program a course in efficient use of the Origin 3800 computer will be held in Trondheim Jan 29 - Feb 1, 2002. Refer to for more information.
NoSerC wishes all users a merry christmas and a happy new year.
October 31. 2001
A few interesting websites have been added to the Climate Links section.
Also renamed the two link sections so that the names describe better the type of links to be found.
October 19. 2001
Datasets with Norwegian Radiosonde data from 1949-1995 has been installed on the dataserver /noserc. See further description under Datasets Stored
September 10. 2001
A dataset with Aerosol Optical Thickness (X100) has been installed on the dataserver /noserc. See further description under Datasets Stored
August 30. 2001
To aid the NOTUR users in conversion of climate data between different file formats, we have now installed a few tools on We are also working on new tools that shall make it easier to convert climate data. See the full description in the new Format Conversion pages.
July 25. 2001
A Perl-script ( /noserc/felles/bin/dmdu) has been made to display disk usage on so that users can see how much space is also migrated to tapes. The Perl-script gives instructions if no options are given.
June 25. 2001
Description of CICERO added to the Climate Projects section.
June 22. 2001
The tape migration unit on the /noserc-disk is being tested until june 29. No problems have been found yet, but note that the disk may be busy at times, and that data will be quickly migrated to tape - as a result of the testing.
June 20. 2001
The computer has been replaced with the new computer. Gridur is an SGI Origin 3000 with 220 400MHz processors and 220Gb memory. The /noserc-disk is moved to gridur and embla is no longer available.
May 7. 2001
The webadress is now changed to
May 3. 2001
The NCEP/NCAR Global Reanalysis dataset 1948-1999 is now stored on the /noserc-disk, see description in Datasets stored.
April 27. 2001
After technical problems with our web-server, NoSerC-web is now up and running again.
March 26. 2001
New e-mail adress to the project :
Guidelines for disk-use and user administration added
See also "Switchover to new HPC system" from NOTUR
January 18. 2001
The complete Project Description is now available
January 14. 2001
Crew description added
January 12. 2001
Web site is created


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