Met Office spends £100 million on computer

metcrayStung by criticism that its weather forecasts aren’t quite as accurate as they could be, the UK Met Office has decided the answer to the whingers is to buy a supercomputer that cost it £97 million.

How will the Cray supercomputer help?  The Met Office helpfully explains that it’s 13 times more powerful than the current system and has 120,000 times more memory than a top end smartphone.

That means it can deliver incorrect forecasts 13 times faster than it does now.

Of course, it’s all in the software or as the Met Office explains “sophisticated forecasts are anticipated to deliver £2 billion of socio economic benefits to the UK”.

Politician Danny Alexander, who is chief secretary to the Treasury,  said: “We are a country fascinated by the weather.”

The supercomputer is based at the Exeter Science Park and the Met Office says it weighs the equivalent of 11 double decker buses.

But we’ll have to wait nearly a year before the 16,000 trillion calculations a second supercomputer grinds into action.  The first phase will be operational in September 2015 and it won’t reach full capacity until 2017.