New mega computer for Met Office
A next generation leap in weather forecasting accuracy is predicted by the UK’S Met Office as it signs a contract for one of the world’s largest supercomputers. The £1.2bn computer, created in partnership with Microsoft, will be capable of running a vastly increased number of weather model scenarios to create forecasts with improved accuracy over small scale areas.
It will also allow the Met Office to extend its lead times for longer range forecasts: forecasts today are already as accurate over four days as one-day forecasts were 30 years ago.
Meteorologists use so-called ensemble forecasts to compare huge numbers of likely scenarios run from different start points. The present UK model forecasts temperature, pressure, wind, humidity and more at 2.2km grid points over 70 vertical levels. Greater resolution, accuracy and longer range requires millions more computations.
The capabilities of the new system will be increased in phases over the next decade, with six times more computing power available by 2023 and 18 times the current capability by 2027.