Met Office gets £33m supercomputer

'Big Blue' skies ahead for weather forecaster...

'Big Blue' skies ahead for weather forecaster...

UK weather forecasting body the Met Office has signed a £33m deal for a new supercomputer that will enable more accurate and detailed forecasts.

The IBM supercomputer will be one of the most powerful in the UK and will be capable of a peak performance approaching one petaflop - equivalent to more than 100,000 PCs.

The extra computing power will give the Met Office the capability to do more accurate and detailed short range weather forecasts through high resolution computer simulations, and it will also allow greater use of multiple simultaneous forecasts that will make it possible to give earlier warning of high impact weather.

John Hirst, Met Office CEO, said in a statement: "In a world where the effect of extreme weather events is becoming more severe and the potential impact of global warming is becoming ever more apparent, the Met Office plays an increasingly vital role in researching and forecasting these events. The new supercomputer is an important step in delivering our strategic targets."

Part of the system will also be used for collaborative scientific research supported by both the Natural Environment Research Council and Met Office.