The government has unveiled plans for a new weather supercomputer worth £97m

The government has

today unveiled plans for a new £97m Met Office supercomputer that will provide

significantly more accurate weather forecasts. 

Set to be operational

from September 2015, the supercomputer will be 13 times more powerful than the

current system and will have 12,000 times more memory than a top-end

smartphone.

The new system will also

mean forecasters are able to give updates every hour and provide highly

detailed weather information for precise geographical areas and help to predict

disruptive weather events such as flooding, strong winds, fog and heavy

snowfall more effectively.

Chief secretary to the

Treasury Danny Alexander said: “We are a country fascinated by the weather, so

it’s no surprise that from early barometers to this weather supercomputer,

we’ve always led the way in developing technology to predict the weather.

“This £97m investment

is a crucial part of the government’s wider drive to make the UK the best place

in the world to do science and research.”

The supercomputer, which

will be based at Met Office and Exeter Science Park, is anticipated to deliver

£2bn of social-economic benefits to the UK by enabling better advance

preparation and contingency plans to protect people’s homes and businesses.

Universities, science

and cities minister Greg Clark said: “This is an investment that says the UK

believes in science, putting us up there with the very best in the world

enabled by technology that will make huge strides in weather and climate

forecasting.

“I am confident that the

supercomputer will make this nation more resilient and better prepared for high

impact weather and boost the economy – improving lives up and down the

country.”

The supercomputer will

be able to perform more than 16,000 trillion calculations per second, and at

140 tonnes, will weight the equivalent of 11 double decker buses.

The first phase of the

supercomputer will be operational in September 2015, with system expected to

reach full capacity in 2017.