The UK Met Office has purchased a £1.2bn Microsoft supercomputer from Microsoft.  The supercomputer will be twice as powerful as any other in the country and rank in the top 25 in the world.

The computer will be used to improve the accuracy of weather forecasts, potentially delivering street-level forecasts. It will also be used to model global warming and extreme weather.

‘In the short term, you will see a more accurate weather forecast that may be more detailed to your area and you may be able to tailor it more, but actually it impacts your lives in ways you don’t know about because, for example, we provide services to aviation, that enables planes to fly more efficiently and safely by knowing exactly where the winds are going to be and where turbulence is going to be, so you won’t realise that the supercomputer is making your flight safer, smoother, more efficient, but it will be,’ said Penny Endersby, CEO of the Met Office.

‘Equally, as climate change develops and policy makers make choices about how much bigger tidal barrier we need or where to build flood defences, your home won’t flood and you’ll think you were lucky, but you won’t be lucky, other people will have planned for you, to say, well actually, we know how big a tidal surge could get because it’s been well modelled, we understand the flood risk from more intense surface rainfall and therefore we’ve prepared in advance, so a lot of that is actually the downsides you won’t see as well as the upsides you will see.’

Clare Barclay, chief executive of Microsoft UK, said: ‘The Met Office has long been synonymous with excellence and innovation in our understanding of the impact of weather and climate.

‘To make progress with the ecological challenges we face requires innovation, technology and partnerships.

‘The potential of the deep expertise, data gathering capacity and historical archive of the Met Office, combined with the sheer scale and power of supercomputing on Microsoft Azure will mean we can improve forecasting, help tackle climate change and ensure the UK remains at the forefront of climate science for decades to come.’

The supercomputer will start delivering forecasts starting summer 2022.

via The Daily Mail

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