Super computers to predict weather
- Published 05/07/12 7:00 am
Severe winter weather, as experienced over the last couple of years reduced the UK's GDP by 0.5%, and resultant travel disruption cost the economy £280 million per day.
The weather has a huge impact on the country, affecting transport, agriculture, energy use and leisure.
The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), the Met Office and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), have together embarked on a project to design and build a next-generation weather forecasting model that will exploit advanced ultra-fast supercomputers and improve the effectiveness of forecasts save money and also save lives.
By the end of the decade, scientists will be using supercomputers that are thousands of times faster than any of today's systems.
Known as "exascale" supercomputers they will contain millions of processors capable of performing a million trillion calculations per second.
Harnessing the power of these computers for weather and climate prediction could mean much more accurate forecasts of severe weather and also help the country adapt to climate change.
This research will be one of the first major projects to benefit from STFC's new future software research facility at Daresbury.
This centre was announced in March this year following £37.5m investment by the Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) into High Performance Computing (HPC) at Daresbury as part of its UK e-infrastructure initiative. It forms one of the world's foremost centres in software development and is host the UK's most powerful supercomputer, Blue Joule.
Andy Brown, head of Foundation Science at the Met Office, said: "The Met Office is at the forefront of scientific developments in weather forecasting and its forecasts are ranked in the top two national met services in the world. This project between the Met Office, STFC and NERC will ensure that the UK continues to benefit from the best science and advice available."
Pictured: Dr Mike Ashworth with supercomputer Blue Joule