In the wake of back-to-back storms, Ciara and Dennis, and the flooding and devastation left in their wake, the UK government has announced that is spending £1.2 billion on “the world’s most powerful weather and climate supercomputer”.
The Met Office will manage the new computer – yet to be built – and expectations are that it will be able to more accurately and speedily predict severe weather conditions and the impact of climate change.
Its data will help experts select suitable locations for flood defences, with more accurate rainfall predictions, better forecasting at airports to prevent flight disruption, and more detailed information for the energy sector to help mitigate against potential blackouts and energy surges.
“Over the last 30 years, new technologies have meant more accurate weather forecasting, with storms being predicted up to five days in advance,” said the UK’s business and energy secretary, Alok Sharma.
“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.”
The new supercomputer is planned to be installed for use from 2022, when the Met Office’s current Cray supercomputers are to reach the end of their life expectancy.