More power needed for predictions...
Scientists need much more supercomputing power to help them understand changes to the world's climate, according to the Met Office.
Research carried out by the Met Office formed the backbone of the scientific effort that went into the Stern review on climate change, published earlier this week - but climate scientists could usefully use up to 10,000 times the computing capability that is presently in operation, the Met Office said.
Its own supercomputing facility used to rank third in the world in terms of power but, despite a recent doubling in the size of this facility at its base in Exeter, it has now slumped to 69th in the world.
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The weather experts believe supercomputing will be worth the initial outlay, saying the "potential costs" of climate change are several orders of magnitude larger than the costs of improving climate projections.
Met Office chief executive Mark Hutchinson said it is not yet possible to calculate the risk that global warming poses to the UK's way of life but added: "The Met Office has some of the best climate scientists in the world and knows best how to use its data but it could do so much more for the benefit of the country given the chance".