New £97m supercomputer for Met Office
Government plans for a new £97 million Met Office supercomputer mean forecast updates will be available every hour, with higher detail weather information for precise geographical areas.
The world-leading High Performance Computer will help the UK to predict disruptive weather events such as flooding, strong winds, fog and heavy snowfall more effectively. It will also open up the potential for higher resolution models, which will have the ability to pinpoint more detail for small scale, high-impact weather. For example, applying very high resolution models could help better determine the risk and timing of fog over airports.
Scientists will also explore the benefits of adapting the resolution to improve UK winter forecasts months ahead, assessing the specific regional impacts of climate change such as floods, droughts and heatwaves.
The supercomputer’s sophisticated forecasts are expected to deliver £2 billion of socio-economic benefits by enabling better advance preparation and contingency plans to protect peoples’ homes and businesses.
Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, said: “We are a country fascinated by the weather, so it’s no surprise that from early barometers to this weather supercomputer, we’ve always led the way in developing technology to predict the weather.”
The first phase of the supercomputer will be operational in September 2015 and the system will reach full capacity in 2017.