Met Office Prepares for £1.2bn Forecasting Supercomputer

By Gary Cutlack on at

The Met Office is already scrolling through supercomputer catalogues with an eye on replacing its current £97m supercomputer, and is about to invest a staggering £1.2 billion of government funding on an even super-er-computer that'll be able to tell us it's raining in less time than ever and then freeze and spin around the actual droplets in bullet time, and you'll be able to see the shed reflected in the droplets.

The government's Business and Energy Secretary has agreed to the investment because of climate reasons, and it's perhaps not quite as expensive at it initially seems, as the £1.2bn is the cost of the computer and the running costs for the next decade and almost certainly includes a nice new mouse mat and a special chair for the user. And two monitors. It's bound to have two monitors.

Met Office chief exec Penny Endersby said: "This investment will ultimately provide earlier more accurate warning of severe weather, the information needed to build a more resilient world in a changing climate and help support the transition to a low carbon economy across the UK."

The ultimate plan is to increase the resolution of weather monitoring to cover areas of just 100 metres across, quite the change from the current forecasting grid that's based on 1,500m squares outside of London. [Met Office via BBC]