Microsoft and Met Office partnered up and are working to build a weather forecasting supercomputer in the United Kingdom.

The companies stated that the supercomputer will provide more accurate weather forecasting and a better understanding of climate change.

Microsoft and Met Office's Deal

The UK government stated in February 2020 that it would invest £1.2 billion ($1.66 bilion) in the supercomputer project.

It is expected to be one of the top 25 supercomputers in the world when it is up and running in the summer of 2022. Microsoft plans to update it over the next 10 years as computing improves.

Morgan O'Neill, the assistant professor at Stanford University, said that this partnership between Microsoft and Met Office is an impressive public investment in the basic and applied sciences of weather and climate.

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O'Neill added that such a major investment in a state-of-the-art weather and climate prediction system by the UK is a great news, and people are now looking forward to the scientific advances that will follow.

The Met Office said that the technology could help increase their understanding of the weather, and it will allow people to better plan their activities, prepare for the weather, and get a better understanding of climate change.

The climate and weather supercomputer will be able to give more detailed weather models, run potential weather scenarios, help improve localized forecasts, and better predict severe weather conditions.

Penny Endersby, the chief executive of the Met Office, said that working together with Microsoft will help them provide the highest quality weather and climate datasets and give accurate forecasts that enable decisions to allow people to stay safe and thrive.

Microsoft UK chief executive Clare Barclay said that the supercomputer would help the UK remain at the forefront of climate science, according to ZDNet. 

Climate and Weather Supercomputer

The exact location for the new computer was not revealed by Met Office, however, the weather service said that it would be in the south of the UK. It will use Microsoft Azure's cloud computing services and integrate Hewlett Packard Enterprise or HPE Cray supercomputers.

The supercomputer will run on 100% renewable energy and it will have more than 1.5 million processor cores and 60 petaflops or 60 quadrillion calculations per second.

That will allow the supercomputer to handle more data, more rapidly, and run it through simulations of the atmosphere more accurately.

Microsoft's corporate vice-president, Azure Core, wrote in a blog post that the facility would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 7,415 tonnes in the first year of operational service, as per Computer Weekly.

Core said that this collaboration with the Met Office builds on Microsoft's commitment to a more sustainable future by reducing their environmental footprint, accelerating research, and helping their customers create sustainable solutions.

Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said that this partnership to build the world's most powerful weather and climate-forecasting supercomputer is a ringing endorsement for the UK's credentials in protecting the environment, as they prepare to host COP26 this year.

Kwarteng added that the new supercomputer, backed by a billion-pound UK government investment, will act as a catalyst for unlocking new skills, technologies, and jobs across the country's economy, from data scientists to AI experts.

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Written by Sophie Webster 

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