Monday 17 February 2020 1:00 am

Government pledges £1.2bn climate supercomputer

The government will spend £1.2bn on a new supercomputer to forecast adverse weather faster and more accurately.

The investment announced today by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial comes the day after the UK was rocked by Storm Dennis.

Read more: Storm Dennis causes travel disruption around the UK

It is hoped that the new computer will enable authorities to plan to prevent disruption in the travel and energy sectors.

Business secretary Alok Sharma, said: “Over the last 30 years, new technologies have meant more accurate weather forecasting, with storms being predicted up to five days in advance.

“Come rain or shine, our significant new investment for a supercomputer will further speed up weather predictions, helping people be more prepared for weather disruption from planning travel journeys to deploying flood defences.”

Sharma was appointed in last week’s reshuffle and is also president of COP26 which the UK is hosting in November.

The supercomputer is expected to be operational in 2022 when its existing computer is decommissioned.

Once in use, it will be managed by the Met Office.

Computer technology predicted the 2018 ‘Best from the East’ and the recent Storm Ciara five days in advance.

Chair of the Science Review Group Professor Ted Shepherd, said: “The agreement to upgrade the Met Office high performance computer is welcome news.

“Improved daily to seasonal forecasts and longer-term climate projections will equip society with a greater ability to proactively protect itself against the adverse impact of climate change.”

Read more: Storm Ciara: Travel chaos and ‘danger to life’ warning as gales batter the UK

Separately, the government has announced £30m investment for advanced supercomputing services.

This has been made to clusters of universities across the UK for various projects.