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Exeter's Met Office to get £1.2billion super computer

Image: Met Office

The Government is investing the cash.

It's been announced today that Exeter's Met Office will get a state-of-the-art supercomputer to improve severe weather and climate forecasting,

Data from the supercomputer will be used to inform Government policy as part of the global fight against climate change and meeting net zero emission targets.

The forecaster says predicting severe weather and the impacts of climate change will be faster and more accurate than ever before, with data from it expected to be the world’s most advanced.

It will be used to help more accurately predict storms; like Dennis and Ciara which have caused havoc across the UK over the last week. It will also help select the most suitable locations for flood defences.

Business and Energy Secretary 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.”

The new supercomputer will also strengthen the UK’s supercomputing and data technology capabilities, driving forward innovation and growing world-class skills across supercomputing, data science, machine learning and artificial intelligence. 

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. 

“We welcome this planned investment from UK Government.”

Chair of the Science Review Group Professor Ted Shepherd said:

“The agreement to upgrade the Met Office high performance computer is welcome news. The improved processing power will deliver a step-change in weather forecasting and climate modelling capability for the UK, such as the further development of the Earth Systems Model, which involves collaboration with the many UKRI-NERC funded research centres.

“Improved daily to seasonal forecasts and longer-term climate projections will equip society with a greater ability to proactively protect itself against the adverse impacts of climate change.”

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