Britain will investing £1.2 billion into a state-of-the-art supercomputer which will predict the “impacts of climate change” and severe weather events faster than ever before, the UK government announced on 17 February 2020.
The declaration was made by Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Secretary Alok Sharma who is also the President the UN’s 2020 Climate Change Conference (aka COP26).
We're investing in the world's most advanced supercomputer dedicated to weather and climate ☀️❄️☔— Dept for BEIS (@beisgovuk) February 17, 2020
The @metoffice supercomputer will predict storms, select locations for flood defences and help meet #NetZero emission targets 🌍https://t.co/XnOtJHs1eS#ClimateAction pic.twitter.com/cy1NIK09Sf
The UK’s Meteorological Office (Met Office) will manage the new super computer which will:
· Help the Environment Agency rapidly deploy mobile flood defences by offering “more sophisticated rainfall predictions”;
· Assist airports to plan for potential disruption with superior forecasting; and
· Advise electricity and heating providers to help “mitigate against potential energy blackouts and surges”.
Met Office Chief Executive, Professor Penny Endersby, welcomed the announcement saying that the new supercomputers “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”.
Today @beisgovuk announced government funding for the world’s most advanced supercomputer dedicated to weather & climate. @metofficece Penny Endersby confirms investment will enable more accurate, timely, local forecasts for weather & climate https://t.co/WCHxKQ4JiG @UK_yoca pic.twitter.com/kf3SqqpEwV— Met Office (@metoffice) February 17, 2020
The government also announced £30 million to provide researchers with access to advanced super computing services to, “help them speed up scientific breakthroughs like developing ‘food fingerprinting’ to detect chemical contaminants in food and improving drug design”.
Britain was battered by Storm Dennis over the weekend which resulted in a record of 594 number of warnings and alerts on 16 February from Cornwall, southwest England all the way to Scotland’s River Tweed. At least three people are suspected to have died in the UK thus far due to Storm Dennis and and tens of thousands of homes have been left without power in Britain and France.
There's a record number of flood warnings across England - don't walk or drive through flood water and check your flood risk https://t.co/xeEdR9teRc #StormDennis #flooding #FloodWarnings #floods pic.twitter.com/wfjmaDuBV8— Environment Agency (@EnvAgency) February 16, 2020
The week prior Storm Ciara resulted in severe weather conditions and flooding resulting in transport, airline, and event cancellations in the UK and northern Europe, along with electrical outages for thousands of homes.