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

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

“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

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.