‘World’s most powerful’ climate supercomputer to be built in the UK

The £1.2bn project follows a partnership of Met Office with Microsoft

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Today, while the world is celebrating Earth Day, Met Office has announced a new partnership with Microsoft to build what is claimed to be the world’s most powerful climate forecasting supercomputer in the UK.

The £1.2 billion project is designed to generate data that could inform more accurate warnings of severe weather conditions, aiming to protect Brits from the impacts of climate change.

The new supercomputer will also create very detailed city-scale simulations to provide localised climate reports to future-proof critical infrastructure including public transport.

The offering, which will be based in an undisclosed city in the south of the UK, will also forecast local-scale weather making use of high-resolution simulations to prepare local authorities for looming emergencies such as local storms, heavy rain and flooding.

Met also said the supercomputer will help the aviation industry with an accurate forecast of wind and temperature information that could improve fuel efficiency.

The project will also be powered by 100% renewable energy helping save an estimated 7,415 tonnes of carbon dioxide in the first year of operations.

It is also predicted to bring £13 billion to the UK’s economy over its ten-year lifespan.

The technology is expected to start operations in the summer of next year.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “This partnership between the Met Office and Microsoft to build the world’s most powerful weather and climate forecasting supercomputer is a ringing endorsement for the UK’s credentials in protecting our environment, as we prepare to host COP26 later this year.”

Penny Endersby, Chief Executive of Met Office, said: “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, said: “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.”

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