The Met Office has announced the development of a weather forecasting supercomputer that will predict the changing climate and bad weather faster and more accurately than ever before.
The technology, managed by the Met office for use worldwide, is funded by a £1.2 billion investment from the UK Government and will help to select suitable spots for flood defences.
It is set to replace what is currently one of the world’s 50 most powerful computers, and which remains one of the most powerful in the world for predicting climate and weather conditions.
The first phase of the new computer will increase the Met Office computing capacity six-fold. The office will look to deliver at least a further three-fold increase in supercomputing capacity over the next six to ten years.
Business and Energy Secretary and COP26 President, Alok Sharma, said: “Over the last 30 years, new technologies have meant more accurate weather forecasting, with storms being predicted up to five days in advance.
“Come rain or shine, 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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The new tech will also strengthen Britain’s supercomputing and data technology capabilities, and with the UK Government announcing its Year of Climate Action, it will help Britain to lead the charge in climate action in Europe.
Professor Penny Endersby, Met Office chief executive, said: “This investment will ultimately provide earlier, more accurate, warning of severe weather, the information needed to build a more resilient world in a changing climate and help support the transition to a low carbon economy across the UK.
“It will help the UK to continue to lead the field in weather and climate science and services, working collaboratively to ensure that the benefits of our work help government, the public and industry make better decisions to stay safe and thrive.”
The computer will take over the reigns in 2022 at the end of the current system’s life with the Government’s investment replacing Met Office supercomputing capabilities over a ten year period from 2022 to 2032.