UK to invest $1.6 billion in weather and climate supercomputer

WION Web Team London, United Kingdom Feb 17, 2020, 11.03 AM(IST)

The Met Office's present supercomputer (Image courtesy: Met office) Photograph:( Others )

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It will enable better forecasting for airports so they can plan for potential disruption and provide more detailed information for the energy sector so it can prevent potential energy blackouts and surges.

The British government will invest 1.2 billion pounds in what it claims is the world's most powerful supercomputer to provide more accurate weather and climate forecasts.

The new supercomputer, which will be managed by the country's Met Office.

It will be used to help more accurately predict storms, select the most suitable locations for flood defences and predict changes to the global climate.

Also read: Storm Ciara devastates UK; Yorkshire worst hit, flights disrupted

Better forecasting will lead to an increment in the speed as well as the processing of more data.

It will enable better forecasting for airports so they can plan for potential disruption and provide more detailed information for the energy sector so it can prevent potential energy blackouts and surges.

Met claims that it can guide Environment Agency teams deploying mobile flood barriers or help the National Grid balancing fluctuations in wind and solar power.

It'll be the biggest investment in the 170-year history of the organisation and will dwarf the £97m bill for the current supercomputer.

Also read: Storm Dennis: One person dies as heavy flooding and high winds hit UK

To avoid contributing to the already enormous carbon emission, the computer will be located in countries with easy sources of clean energy.

The countries which are being considered are Iceland because of its geothermal sources and Norway its hydropower.

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

The first phase of the new supercomputer will increase the Met Office computing capacity by six times, the government said on Monday.

The Met Office is currently using more than 200 billion observations from satellites, weather stations and buoys out in the ocean every day.

Storm Ciara and Storm Dennis have both caused widespread wind and flooding damage in the country.