Met Office Prepares for £1.2bn Forecasting Supercomputer

Ruben Fields
February 19, 2020

A brand new supercomputer created to enhance extreme climate and local weather forecasting is to obtain £1.2 billion from the Authorities in direction of its improvement.

The UK government is establishing a system to predict storms and weather more accurately with an investment of 1.2 billion pounds. Of that budget, £854 million ($1.1 billion) is the contract price for building the supercomputer itself, with the rest of the budget covering investments elsewhere in the weather-predicting program.

The UK's Met Office long-range forecast reads: "Unsettled and often windy conditions are expected to continue with areas of rain moving east across the UK interspersed with brighter, showery interludes". The hope is that it will be the world's most advanced weather and climate prediction platform.

The supercomputer should do a far better job of predicting changes to the climate, with the thinking being that such predictions can influence Government environmental policies.

Sources cite that this supercomputer will be ten times faster than the existing Cray XC40 computer.

£1.2bn supercomputer to predict the weather
Of the total £1.2 billion investment, £854 million represents the "expected contractual value for the supercomputing capability". The new supercomputer will replace those due for renewal in 2022, increasing the Met Office's computing capacity six-fold.

The data collected by the supercomputer will not only be used for storm and flood prediction.

We've been battered by Storm Ciara and Storm Dennis on two weekends in a row now.

The Met Office's current supercomputer, which is due to reach its end of life in late 2022, is among the world's top 50 most powerful computers, and contains enough storage to hold more than 100 years of HD films. It is believed that the new system will provide a better basis for both scientific studies and public services.

UK Industry, Energy and Development Minister Alok Sharma said that the new technologies have provided more accurate forecasts for the past 30 years, and that 5 days in advance of the storms. The new supercomputer is anticipated to increase the computing capacity by 6 folds. Similarly, the Environment Agency has used the Met Office's latest United Kingdom climate projections to set out potential future flooding scenarios and how funding can be best allocated.

"Our significant investment for a new supercomputer will further speed up weather predictions, helping people be more prepared for weather disruption from planning travel journeys to deploying flood defences".

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