The UK's New Weather Supercomputer Could Predict Rain in Your Street

By Jamie Condliffe on at

The Met Office has just announced that it's taking delivery of a new £97 million supercomputer – one that will be able to predict the weather accurately enough to know what it will be like on the very road you live on.

The new device is a Cray XC40 supercomputer with 480,000 CPUs, that can perform 16,000 trillion calculations per second and weighs 154 tonnes. It replaces an ageing IBM system and will predict the weather with some crazy levels of precision.

Firstly, it will be able to identify the weather at hourly intervals at a resolution of one mile, allowing for fine-grained weather variation over entire cities. But more impressive is that it can also provide weather predictions at unprecedented levels of accuracy – with a resolution of 300m. That's down to street level.

The Met Office suggests that such intense computation will be reserved for predicting things like the timing of fog over airports – so what will it do the rest of the time? Actually, when it gets a break from weather predictions, it will be put to work by climate-modelling scientists to see how climate changes is affecting Blighty.

The new computer will arrive in the firm's Exeter offices soon, but won't hit its full stride until some time in 2017. [Met Office via Engadget]

Image by KittyKaht under Creative Commons license