The UK is spending $1.6 billion to build the world's fastest weather supercomputer

Shawn Knight

TechSpot Staff
Staff member

It’s been said that being a meteorologist is one of the few gigs where you can be wrong more often than not without the risk of losing your job. That’s because forecasting the weather is incredibly difficult due to Mother Nature’s unpredictability.

Fortunately, technology can help.

Alok Sharma, secretary and president of the UK’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), announced on Monday that the government is contributing £1.2 billion ($1.6 billion) in funding to build a state-of-the-art supercomputer for weather forecasting.

Installation will take place over a 10-year period, starting in 2022. The first phase alone is expected to increase the Met Office’s computing capacity by six fold. Upgrades from years six through 10 will boost performance another three times, we’re told.

Officials expect it to be the most advanced supercomputer dedicated to weather and climate in the world. Unfortunately for us hardware nerds, the office hasn’t yet said what specific supercomputer they’ll be installing.

Masthead credit: Weather map by Andrey VP.

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Vulcanproject

TS Evangelist
Every country has unique weather, but the UK does have a curious climate because it is an island sitting underneath the junction point of five distinct air streams. Dramatic, rapid changes are common. One day it can be hit with a storm coming off the Atlantic, the next day warm air from continental Europe can push that away, only to be replaced the very next day with an arctic blast from the north.

So the mercurial temperament of Britain's weather is a real thing and requires rapid forecasting to keep up with quickly changing conditions.
 
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3volv3d

TS Addict
Oh FFS.

Bad enough we wasted £200billion on trident, but this is in a league of its own.

Why is the UK Government retarded as £u*% ?

Constantly building $"#% we can't use or don't even need.
 

wiyosaya

TS Evangelist
Every country has unique weather, but the UK does have a curious climate because it is an island sitting underneath the junction point of five distinct air streams. Dramatic, rapid changes are common. One day it can be hit with a storm coming off the Atlantic, the next day warm air from continental Europe can push that away, only to be replaced the very next day with an arctic blast from the north.

So the mercurial temperament of Britain's weather is a real thing and requires rapid forecasting to keep up with quickly changing conditions.
There is merit to having that forecasting ability especially since people live there. How accurate it will be remains to be seen.

It seems some here in the US rely on scribbles appended to an official forecast map, though. :laughing:
 

Vulcanproject

TS Evangelist
There is merit to having that forecasting ability especially since people live there. How accurate it will be remains to be seen.

It seems some here in the US rely on scribbles appended to an official forecast map, though. :laughing:
I think people underestimate what affect an accurate forecast has on the economy of a nation. Especially an island one that is definitely threatened with severe effects of climate change. A couple billion dollars is nothing if it has the potential ability to save thousands of lives and dozens if not hundreds of billions of dollars economically.

The understanding of climate change and the impact on an island that could have significant chunks underwater in 50 years shouldn't be underestimated or dismissed as a waste of money.
 

Evernessince

地獄らしい人間動物園
Sounds great for near-term forecasts, but if they keep relying on discredited climate models for long-term projections then all the terraflops in the world won't mean a thing.
Climate is not weather. Why so many people misunderstand this is beyond me.

This is a weather forecasting machine. It has about as much to do with the climate as a single day does of the year.

"discredited climate change models"

Please provide examples of the current models being discredited. Here, I'll start by providing proof they are working, directly from NASA

 
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Lounds

TS Maniac
Oh FFS.

Bad enough we wasted £200billion on trident, but this is in a league of its own.

Why is the UK Government retarded as £u*% ?

Constantly building $"#% we can't use or don't even need.
HS2 estimated to cost £120b now *facepalm*
 

yeeeeman

TS Maniac
The best supercomputer consuming the highest amount of power to create the higher amount of pollution that will create more severe weather which in turn needs the best supercomputer.
 

3volv3d

TS Addict
The £1.2 billion amount is a 10 year investment figure, not a one-off, lump sum. Although it's not as evenly distributed as this, £120 million per year, is (for the sake of having some reference points) roughly 1/5 of the monthly tobacco tax revenue the government receives, the same proportion as to the amount of revenue from chocolate bar sales, or the equivalent of every person in the UK giving £2 a year.
And anything that is not a lump sum is a guesstimate and the prices will change. probably be 10 times that at the end of 10 years, cause, *****s.