Unified Model (UM) Users Tutorial Pacific Edition 2023

February 18, 2023

UM Users Tutorial Pacific edition 2023 group photo

The 2023 UM Users Tutorial was held at the Bureau of Meteorology from 6-10 February 2023, delivered through the Met Office UM Partnership. There were 57 registrations for the week-long training event, with a broad range of participants from the Bureau of Meteorology, CSIRO, NCI, ACCESS-NRI, Australian National University, University of Melbourne, Monash University, University of New South Wales, University of Tasmania, NIWA (New Zealand) and Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.

The tutorial was targeted at users from all scientific backgrounds with previous numerical modelling experience, but with either little experience in using the Unified Model (UM) or who currently use the UM in specific applications and who wish to broaden and deepen their knowledge of the model. The training week aimed to give participants an overview of the different components and configurations of the UM, teach users how to run different configurations of the model on the NCI compute infrastructure, and introduce participants to data visualisation tools for model output.

Luke Roberts (Met Office) discussing next generation modelling systems.

The tutorial was run by Luke Roberts (Met Office) and Bethan White (Bureau), in the format of morning presentations on various aspects and configurations of the modelling system followed by afternoon practical sessions with hands-on computing tasks. Presentations were created and delivered by Bureau and CSIRO staff, showcasing the local expertise and use of the model, while compute infrastructure for the practical suites and on-the-ground technical support was supported by Ben Evan’s team from NCI. Topics covered ranged from an introduction to setting up and controlling the model on the NCI compute platform, global coupled model configurations, regional nested configurations, and next-generation modelling systems. The tutorial was held completely in-person at the Bureau main office in Melbourne, and the communal problem-solving and debugging that took place in the practical sessions were a true highlight of the benefits of running training like this in person rather than virtually.

Cat de Burgh-Day and Debbie Hudson (Bureau) in one of the practical sessions.

The week was highly successful, with feedback indicating that all participants came away from the tutorial with improved understanding of the UM and its uses.

Further, the presentations by Aus-NZ UM experts and the group-work format of the practical sessions helped foster network-building and collaboration between a diverse range of potential UM users from many different institutions in the local area, which sets the stage going forward for building a much stronger community of UM/ACCESS users across the Pacific region of the UM Partnership.


Bertrand Timbal (Bureau GM Research) and Rob Argent (Bureau GM R2O) delivering the acknowledgement of country.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the UM tutorial, particularly the stimulating discussions and interactive hands-on tutorials that covered many different aspects of the UM and its applications in weather and climate modelling. I also benefited from the numerous opportunities for skill sharing amongst UM users from novices through to experts, which was invaluable for both learning and networking” – Heidi Nettlebeck ACCESS-NRI

“The UM User’s Tutorial held in Melbourne in February 2023 was a perfect introduction for those with little or no modelling experience (such as forecasters like me!) to have a go at running the UM, but also allowed for more experienced users to delve into the details of the UM set-up in the presence of experts. The event fostered a friendly and collaborative environment, bringing together people from diverse backgrounds and careers for engaging conversations” – Tristan Meyers, NIWA

Scott Wales (Bureau) helping a user with debugging during a practical session.

“Many of us have learnt through experience just enough about running the modelling suites to do just what we need to do. This course was really helpful in filling in some of the gaps, allowing us to explore the system a bit more, outside our specific areas of concern. The communal tutorials were really valuable, as everyone seemed to be able to contribute something at some stage of the week… and of course being modellers at heart it is fun to just see how a model reacts to being pushed outside its well calibrated, comfort zone” – Peter Steinle, Bureau of Meteorology




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