UK to invest £1.2 billion in supercomputer for accurate weather prediction

Representative image (istock)
Representative image (istock)

THE UK government will invest £1.2 billion for 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 leading the global fight against climate change and meeting net zero-emission targets, Business and Energy Secretary and COP26 President Alok Sharma said on Monday (17).

The new supercomputer, to be managed by the Met Office, will also be used to help ensure communities can be better prepared for weather disruption.

“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,” said Alok Sharma.

The government investment will replace Met Office supercomputing capabilities over 10 years from 2022 to 2032.

The current Met Office Cray supercomputers reach their end of life in late 2022.

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.

“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,” said Professor Penny Endersby, Met Office Chief Executive.

“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 the UK Government.”