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Visualization is one of the key technologies for understanding and communicating the results of extensive numerical simulations.

3D VisualisierungssoftwareThe typical data sets of climate models are three-dimensional, multivariate and time-dependent. Interactive visual data analysis improves and accelerates the comprehension of vast amounts of data.


To facilitate the interactive work with the model data, DKRZ provides its users with

  • access to a dedicated visualization server
  • visualization in your own office via remote 3D-rendering
  • domain specific data visualization software
  • appropriate technical advice and assistance in solving visualization problems
  • hands-on tutorial courses

Visualization Server

GPU nodes of the supercomputer MistralThe visualization server is a special partition of DKRZ's supercomputer Mistral. By utilizing high end NVidia GPUs and equipped with 256 GByte system memory, the GPU nodes are designed for the interactive visual analysis of large time-dependent 3D model data. Since the parallel file system is directly mounted, the data doesn't need to be transferred prior to the visualization.

With the help of high-performance 3D graphics cards and a network-based 3D rendering technology, the system can be used remotely, so users can access the system from their offices.

Visualization Software

On the visualization system, we offer Avizo, a powerful commercial software solution specifically customized for interactive 3D visualizations of climate model data. Our extensive Avizo Green 8.1 Tutorial (pdf, 15 MB, 137 pages) is a good entry point for learning Avizo.

Paraview is a public domain 3D visualization solution wich enables the direct 3D visualization of model variables as well as to interactively explore the relations between different quantities of multi varaite data sets by means of linking and brushing.

SimVis is another 3D software package that is offered by DKRZ, and focuses even more on an exploratory visualization of data. SimVis provides techniques that support an interactive analysis and visualization of multi-variate, time dependent data sets by using dedicated methods for data mining and techniques like Linking & Brushing to emphasize or de-emphasize portions of the data.

With respect to data analysis, additional processing and 2D visualization solutions such as NCL and CDO are also available on the system.

For more details on the available visualization software look here.

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Local Services

  • In DKRZ's visualization- and video laboratory, animated visualizations can be recorded and edited in real time.
  • Some local facilities allow for stereoscopic 3D visualization of climate data.
  • Extraordinarily complex 3D structures can be visualized using the VR Powerwall in our seminar room.
  • DKRZ's visualization group is also part of the Climate Visualization Laboratory of the Cluster of Excellence CliSAP.



In our gallery you will find many example pictures and animations illustrating the use of visualization in climate research.


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