Page last updated at 20:13 GMT, Monday, 27 July 2009 21:13 UK

Computer 'to improve' forecasts

Met Office image of severe weather
The new computer can predict severe weather and storms more accurately

A powerful new computer which gives more accurate and detailed forecasts is being used at the Met Office in Devon.

The computer is about the size of two football pitches and can make about 750 trillion calculations a second - equivalent to 100,000 PCs.

It is 30 times more powerful than the one installed by the Met Office, in 2003, ahead of its move to the new headquarters in Exeter.

The system is expected to be fully up and running by August.

Chief technology officer Steve Foreman said it was probably the second most powerful computer in the UK and would be in the top 20 in the world.

We should get a much better idea of where showers will occur
Nick Grahame, Met Office

In order to give a more accurate forecast, the new computer breaks down the atmosphere into grid boxes of about 1.5km - considerably smaller than the previous computer's boxes of 4km.

"We should get a much better idea of where showers will occur and also the areas where there will be no showers, so people can plan their day," chief forecaster Nick Grahame told BBC News.

"Another important thing is these models should give us a better representation of severe storms and sever weather.

The system will also be used for research on climate change and its impacts on society and the economy.



Print Sponsor


SEE ALSO
New weather supercomputer tested
21 May 09 |  Devon
Met Office moves to central base
31 Jan 06 |  England

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific