The UK’s Met Office and Microsoft have joined forces to build one of the world’s most powerful weather and climate forecasting supercomputers.
The data generated from the supercomputer will be used to provide more accurate warnings of severe weather, helping to build resilience and protect the UK population, businesses and infrastructure from the impacts of increasingly extreme storms, floods and snow.
It will also be used to take forward ground-breaking climate change modelling, unleashing the full potential of the Met Office’s global expertise in climate science. The precision and accuracy of its modelling will help to inform government policy as part of the UK’s fight against climate change, and its efforts to reach net zero by 2050.
It follows the announcement by the UK Government in February 2020 which committed £1.2bn (US$1.7bn) of funding to develop this state-of-the-art supercomputer. It is expected that the investment will result in financial benefits totalling up to £13bn (US$18bn) for the UK over its 10-year lifespan.
Penny Endersby, chief executive, Met Office, said, “This investment by the UK government is a great vote of confidence in the Met Office’s world-leading status as a provider of weather and climate science and services as well as in our national commitment to build a more resilient world in a changing climate, helping build back greener across the UK and beyond.”
Clare Barclay, CEO, Microsoft UK, added, “The Met Office has long been synonymous with excellence and innovation in our understanding of the impact of weather and climate. To make progress with the ecological challenges we face requires innovation, technology and partnerships. 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.”
The supercomputer is due to be up and running in Summer 2022. Based in the south of the UK and in line with Met Office, Microsoft and UK government ambitious commitments to Net Zero, the supercomputer will be one of the world’s most environmentally sustainable, powered by 100% renewable energy and delivered through market leading energy efficiency. It is expected that this will save 7,415 tonnes CO2 in the first year of operational service alone.
Watch the office Met Office and Microsoft announcement here: