Our new supercomputer
In October 2014 the Government confirmed its investment of £97 million in a new high performance computing facility for the Met Office. Enhanced processing power will help us protect life and property and will also enable us to turn more science into services for the benefit of government, business and the public.
The first phase of this supercomputer went live on 25 August 2015, five weeks ahead of schedule.
More detailed forecasts
Turning research into highly detailed operational forecasts and services will enable us to produce innovative forecasts - for example focussing high resolution models on strategically important infrastructure such as airports and flood defences. More detailed forecasts will make it possible to predict small-scale, high impact weather features with greater skill, such as thunderstorms that have the potential to lead to flash flooding.
Greater computing power will enable us to run numerous forecasts simultaneously. The spread of the forecasts allows us to determine the levels of confidence across a range of possible outcomes. A probabilistic approach is useful in helping business, government, responders and the public to manage risk.
An element of the new computing facility will be located at Exeter Science Park, which will help create a collaborative environment where we can work with others on science and service delivery. Sharing the supercomputer will enable collaborative research such as:
- A UK-wide research project to create a next-generation climate model (known as an Earth System Model) which captures all major aspects of the Earth's climate system (oceans, atmosphere, atmospheric chemistry, terrestrial carbon cycle and ocean biogeochemistry).
- Working with NERC (the Natural Environment Research Council) and STFC (Science and Technology Facilities Council) we will develop the next generation Met Office model, suitable for running accurately and efficiently on future computing architectures.
- Improving UK environmental prediction by using weather forecasting models together with other detailed prediction models, such as for flooding, coastal and river impacts, and atmospheric dispersion (used for volcanic ash, disease spread).