Home NewsTechnology Europe UK Government confirms £1.2 bn funding for weather and climate supercomputer

UK Government confirms £1.2 bn funding for weather and climate supercomputer

The UK Government has today confirmed that £1.2 billion of funding will be made available to develop a state-of-the-art supercomputer, meaning that predicting severe weather and the impacts of climate change will be faster and more accurate than ever before.

A Government statement said the latest supercomputing technology would unlease the full potential of weather and climate data for the UK and improve severe weather and climate forecasting,

Data from the supercomputer, which will be managed by the UK Met Office, will be used to inform Government policy as part of the fight against climate change and meeting net zero emission targets.

Data from the new supercomputer – expected to be the world’s most advanced dedicated to weather and climate – will be used to help more accurately predict storms, select the most suitable locations for flood defences and predict changes to the global climate.

Professor Penny Endersby, Met Office Chief Executive commented:

“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.

“It will help the UK to continue to lead the field in weather and climate science and services, working collaboratively to ensure that the benefits of our work help government, the public and industry make better decisions to stay safe and thrive.

“We welcome this planned investment from UK Government.”

The new supercomputer will also be used to help ensure communities can be better prepared for weather disruption, including through:

  • More sophisticated rainfall predictions, helping the Environment Agency rapidly deploy mobile flood defences
  • Better forecasting at airports so they can plan for potential disruption
  • More detailed information for the energy sector to help them mitigate against potential energy blackouts and surges

The new supercomputer will also strengthen the UK’s supercomputing and data technology capabilities, driving forward innovation and growing world-class skills across supercomputing, data science, machine learning and artificial intelligence.

The Met Office is at the forefront of supercomputing, using its current technology to drive advances in environmental forecasting.

Chair of the Science Review Group Professor Ted Shepherd added:

“The agreement to upgrade the Met Office high performance computer is welcome news. The improved processing power will deliver a step-change in weather forecasting and climate modelling capability for the UK, such as the further development of the Earth Systems Model, which involves collaboration with the many UKRI-NERC funded research centres.

“Improved daily to seasonal forecasts and longer-term climate projections will equip society with a greater ability to proactively protect itself against the adverse impacts of climate change.”

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