A new "supercomputer" will soon take weather forecasts in Ireland to "the next level" 2 months ago

A new "supercomputer" will soon take weather forecasts in Ireland to "the next level"

The supercomputer will be capable of 4,000 trillion calculations per second.

Met Éireann has announced that a new "supercomputer" will soon provide more accurate weather forecasts in Ireland.

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To mark World Science Day, the Irish meteorological service revealed that it will join forces with national weather services in Denmark, Iceland and the Netherlands to jointly operate the high-performance computer, which it said will bring "short-term weather forecasting to the next level".

In a statement, Met Éireann explained that modern weather forecasting requires vast amounts of data from weather observations, atmospheric conditions and satellite imagery, as well as significant processing power only available through high-performance computing.

Through the pooling together of the four countries' resources, this new supercomputer will be able to perform 4,000 trillion calculations per second and handle millions of weather observations every 24 hours.

This will enable it to produce detailed weather forecasts every hour, something "especially critical" ahead of severe weather.

Built by Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and planned to be operational by early 2023, Met Éireann says the supercomputer will also serve to advance climate science research.

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This research will then support the governments involved and businesses with long-term decisions and policy-making as they prepare for and make efforts to mitigate the impacts of climate change.

The supercomputer's "high-resolution weather forecasts" will be used to:

  • Provide more accurate and timely weather warnings that will allow our emergency services to prepare for potential impacts of severe weather
  • Help people and communities make better decisions to protect lives, homes and businesses when impacted by extreme weather events such as heatwaves, flooding or heavy snow
  • Enable the agricultural sector to make earlier decisions to protect and better manage their crops and livestock
  • Provide more timely and focused information to marine communities
  • Support the transport and energy sectors with more detailed and timely weather information to allow increased economic and environmental benefits.

It comes as weather patterns are expected to become "more extreme and more challenging to forecast" over the next decades as global temperatures are projected to rise further.

Meanwhile, the supercomputer itself will be powered entirely by renewable Icelandic hydropower and geothermal energy sources, with the country's temperate climate helping its components to stay cool.

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As such, this will keep its running costs and CO2 footprint to a minimum.

Roll on more timely forecasts of "looks like rain, Ted" come 2023...