World’s most powerful weather, climate-change forecasting supercomputer to be built in UK

Likely to be operational in 2022, the supercomputer will provide accurate warnings on severe weather and help protect from impact of increasingly extreme storms, floods and snow.

April 26, 2021 04:08 pm | Updated 04:09 pm IST

The current Met Office Cray supercomputers reach their end of life in late 2022. | Picture by special arrangement.

The current Met Office Cray supercomputers reach their end of life in late 2022. | Picture by special arrangement.

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Microsoft and UK's Met Office have teamed up to build the world’s most powerful supercomputer to forecast weather and climate-change.

Likely to be operational in 2022, the supercomputer will provide accurate warnings on severe weather and help protect from impact of increasingly extreme storms, floods and snow in the UK, the Met Office said in a release.

“Working together [with Microsoft], we will provide the highest quality weather and climate datasets and ever more accurate forecasts that enable decisions to allow people to stay safe and thrive,” Met Office CEO Penny Endersby, said in a release. “This will be a unique capability that will keep not just the Met Office but the UK at the forefront of environmental modelling and high-performance computing.”

In February 2020, the UK government had announced funding of £1.2 billion (about ₹12,400 crore) to develop this supercomputer, which is expected to be one of the top 25 supercomputers in the world.

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The computing device, which will also be used to advance climate change modelling, will be able to help significantly improve forecasts and projections for risk-based planning, and provide increasingly accurate forecasts of wind and temperature information for the aviation industry, the Met Office noted.

Additionally, the device will enhance emergency preparedness to local storms, heavy rain and flooding through improved forecasting of local-scale weather using very high-resolution simulations, it added.

Supercomputers are being increasingly used for accurate weather and climate-change forecasting. Japan’s Fujitsu Laboratories used the world’s most powerful supercomputer, Fugaku , to develop an AI model to predict tsunami flooding .

Meanwhile, Hewlett Packard Enterprise is developing a supercomputer, which will be installed at NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Centre in the U.S. , to help study phenomena such as climate change, and severe weather.

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