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£1.2bn supercomputer to predict the weather

Farmers could be among the beneficiaries from government investment in 'world's most powerful' climate supercomputer

£1.2bn supercomputer to predict the weather

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UK farmers may be set to benefit from better weather forecasting after the government unveiled plans for the world's most advanced climate supercomputer.

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy announced that £1.2 billion of funding will be made available to develop a new supercomputer capable of more accurately predicting storms, selecting the most suitable locations for flood defences and predicting global climate changes. 

Managed by the Met Office, the supercomputer will also be used to help ensure communities can be better prepared for weather disruption, including through more sophisticated rainfall predictions, helping the Environment Agency rapidly deploy mobile flood defences.

The investment comes as the government announced its Year of Climate Action ahead of hosting UN climate conference COP26, where the world will meet to agree more ambitious action.

Business and energy secretary and COP26 president 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 investment for a new supercomputer will further speed up weather predictions, helping people be more prepared for weather disruption from planning travel journeys to deploying flood defences.

"The new supercomputer will also strengthen the UK’s supercomputing and data technology capabilities, driving forward innovation and growing world-class skills across supercomputing, data science, machine learning and artificial intelligence."

Professor Penny Endersby, Met Office chief executive, added: "This investment will ultimately provide earlier, more accurate warning of severe weather, the information needed to build a more resilient world in a changing climate and help support the transition to a low carbon economy across the UK.

"It will help the UK to continue to lead the field in weather and climate science and services, working collaboratively to ensure that the benefits of our work help government, the public and industry make better decisions to stay safe and thrive."

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