Updated Apr 23, 2021

Climate supercomputer to be built in the UK

The Met Office in conjunction with Microsoft, have announced that they are going to build the most powerful climate forecasting supercomputer in the world.

They have confirmed the computer will be built in the UK, although the location of which city this will be done in has not yet been disclosed.

The project estimated to cost £1.2 billion, aims to generate data that can be used to create more accurate warnings for severe weather conditions and in doing so help protect from the impacts of climate change. It will make use of simulations to help prepare local authorities for what could be emergency situations including heavy rainfall, flooding and local storms.

They have said that the new system will also create detailed city simulations to help provide localised climate reports to assist in future-proofing infrastructure. The computer can also be used to help the aviation industry by providing more accurate forecasts for wind and temperature that can be used to improve fuel efficiency.

Plans say the supercomputer will be powered by 100% renewable energy, and it is anticipated that it will help to save an estimated 7,415 tonnes of CO2 in its first operational year. Alongside carbon savings, they claim it will also help to bring £13 billion into the UK's economy over its 10 year life span.

Chief Executive of Met Office, Penny Endersby, commented: "This will be a unique capability which will keep not just the Met Office, but the UK at the forefront of environmental modelling and high-performance computing."

Clare Barclay, Chief Executive Officer, Microsoft UK, also commented: "The potential of the deep expertise, data gathering capacity and historical archive of the Met Office, combined with the sheer scale and power of supercomputing on Microsoft Azure will mean we can improve forecasting, help tackle climate change and ensure the UK remains at the forefront of climate science for decades to come."