Met Office ComputerSource: Microsoft

What you need to know

  • The UK Meteorological Office will predict weather and climate change using a new supercomputer built by Microsoft.
  • Once completed, it will be among the top 25 supercomputers in the world.
  • The supercomputer will be built with £1.2 billion of funding from the UK Government

The UK Meteorological Office (Met Office) will use a supercomputer worth £1.2 billion (roughly $1.7 billion) to forecast the weather and climate change. The computer will be built in partnership with Microsoft with funding announced by the UK Government last year. Once finished, it will be among the top 25 supercomputers in the world and twice as powerful as any in the UK. Microsoft announced the partnership in a recent blog post.

The supercomputer will be used to predict severe weather, which will help the UK Government determine what areas need to be built up to withstand natural disasters. It will also be used for climate change modeling and is part of the UK's government to reach net zero by 2050.

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"This partnership between the Met Office and Microsoft to build the world's most powerful weather and climate forecasting supercomputer is a ringing endorsement for the UK's credentials in protecting our environment, as we prepare to host COP26 later this year," said business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng.

Penny Endersby, chief executive of the Met Office, said, "We are delighted to be working in collaboration with Microsoft to deliver our next supercomputing capability. Working together, we will provide the highest quality weather and climate datasets and ever more accurate forecasts that enable decisions to allow people to stay safe and thrive."

The supercomputer should be operational in summer 2022. Powered by 100% renewable energy, it will be one of the world's most sustainable and environmentally friendly supercomputers. The supercomputer will have a lifespan of 10 years. Microsoft Azure will help power the supercomputer.

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