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Met Office to build £97m supercomputer


knocker
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Posted
  • Location: Camborne
  • Location: Camborne

     

    Funding has been confirmed for a £97m supercomputer to improve the Met Office's weather forecasting and climate modelling.

     

    The facility will work 13 times faster than the current system, enabling detailed, UK-wide forecast models with a resolution of 1.5km to be run every single hour, rather than every three.

     

    It will be built in Exeter during 2015 and become operational next September.

     

    The Met Office said it would deliver a "step change" in forecast accuracy.

     

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-29789208

     

    http://investors.cray.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=98390&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1982080

    Edited by knocker
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    Posted
  • Location: Newton in Bowland
  • Location: Newton in Bowland

    How much did they spend recently on the other one from a few years back? It's an awful lot of  the taxpayers money which would be better spent elsewhere IMHO.


    How much did they spend recently on the other one from a few years back? It's an awful lot of  the taxpayers money which would be better spent elsewhere IMHO.

    I've should have read the full article first, so apologies for that. :oops:

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    Posted
  • Location: Manchester Deansgate.
  • Weather Preferences: Heavy disruptive snowfall.
  • Location: Manchester Deansgate.

    Would it not have been better to keep the regularity of runs the same but try to decrease the size of the grids by spending more money on manned weather stations thus increasing the accuracy and amount of the data fed into the computers.

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    Posted
  • Location: Home near Sellindge, 80m/250feet, 5miles from Coast
  • Weather Preferences: Severe Storms and Snow
  • Location: Home near Sellindge, 80m/250feet, 5miles from Coast

    Improve it? HAH! They've been trying to improve it for years. 

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    Posted
  • Location: Darlington
  • Weather Preferences: Warm dry summers
  • Location: Darlington

    Sky news saying "it is set to give the UK its most accurate weather forecasts ever and can perform more than 16,000 trillion calculations per second"

     

    "The first phase of the system will be operational in September 2015 and it will reach full capacity in 2017"

     

    http://news.sky.com/story/1361615/huge-supercomputer-to-boost-weather-forecasts

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    Posted
  • Location: Camborne
  • Location: Camborne

    Would it not have been better to keep the regularity of runs the same but try to decrease the size of the grids by spending more money on manned weather stations thus increasing the accuracy and amount of the data fed into the computers.

     

    Manned weather stations are not more accurate than AWS. Back in the day the cost of manning and running weather stations was a huge chunk of the METO budget and these days is unnecessary. An upgrade is essential to vastly improve warnings to public services and to maintain their position as one of the leading and respected organisations in the world.

     

    The other pluses are they will be more competitive vis a vis the 'professionals' on NW and the Yanks are eating their heart out.

     

     

    NOAA left in the dust again. UK MetOffice joins ECMWF in buying monster, American made Cray Supercomputers

    Edited by knocker
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    Posted
  • Location: Manchester Deansgate.
  • Weather Preferences: Heavy disruptive snowfall.
  • Location: Manchester Deansgate.

    ^^

     

    Its no good having models that are the same grid size but run every hour, those snow / freezing rain events in 2012 surely taught people that, better to reduce the grid size else they will still be wrong but this time wrong every hour should a similar event happen again.

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    Posted
  • Location: The Purbeck Microclimate, Dorset.
  • Weather Preferences: warehamwx.co.uk
  • Location: The Purbeck Microclimate, Dorset.

    I'm all for it

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    Posted
  • Location: Ski Amade / Pongau Region. Somtimes Skipton UK
  • Weather Preferences: Northeasterly Blizzard and sub zero temperatures.
  • Location: Ski Amade / Pongau Region. Somtimes Skipton UK

    Improve it? HAH! They've been trying to improve it for years. 

    I remember being shown around the new super computers installed in Bracknell some 40 year ago. Could not really understand what it was all about then, only Dr Mason knew ! Yes, as the Met Office say another step. Still when I look back at all those excellent weather forecasters and observers I worked with, who poured over plotted charts, upper air data, surface weather plots , land and out in the Atlantic, they were never far off the mark with predictions. So what I am saying , there is not a massive advance in forecasting with the increased computer technology over the skilled eye for detail from doing it the old way. Long term weather forecasting seems to be the spur for investment but are the results satisfactory in relation to this cost ?

     C

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    Posted
  • Location: Osmotherley, North Yorkshire
  • Weather Preferences: Extreme Events
  • Location: Osmotherley, North Yorkshire

    I don't think 97 million is too bad when you compare it to the ridiculous amount of money being spent in say football or something these days. I know that's not tax payers money but ultimately it is the public who have to pay with increased ticket prices etc.

    I mean 97 million is probably Gareth Bale plus his wages for a year, if it's moving science forward it can only be a good thing.

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    Posted
  • Location: Manchester Deansgate.
  • Weather Preferences: Heavy disruptive snowfall.
  • Location: Manchester Deansgate.

    I don't think 97 million is too bad when you compare it to the ridiculous amount of money being spent in say football or something these days. I know that's not tax payers money but ultimately it is the public who have to pay with increased ticket prices etc.

    I mean 97 million is probably Gareth Bale plus his wages for a year, if it's moving science forward it can only be a good thing.

     

    What annoys me about it though is they then censor the data on the grounds that they are selling it to other companies, they should decide whether they want to be commercial and play by the same rules as everyone else like Netweather etc or they want to be public funded.

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    Posted
  • Location: Newton in Bowland
  • Location: Newton in Bowland

    I remember being shown around the new super computers installed in Bracknell some 40 year ago. Could not really understand what it was all about then, only Dr Mason knew ! Yes, as the Met Office say another step. Still when I look back at all those excellent weather forecasters and observers I worked with, who poured over plotted charts, upper air data, surface weather plots , land and out in the Atlantic, they were never far off the mark with predictions. So what I am saying , there is not a massive advance in forecasting with the increased computer technology over the skilled eye for detail from doing it the old way. Long term weather forecasting seems to be the spur for investment but are the results satisfactory in relation to this cost ?

     C

    Sums up my views nicely carinthian. I see an over reliance on computers and not enough old school metrology where  human intuition and know how still surpasses technology. I think it's an awful amount to spend when the economy is already in dire straits, but that's another kettle of fish altogether. 

     

    Will it be able to predict if it will snow IMBY though? :D

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    Posted
  • Location: Camborne
  • Location: Camborne

    I remember being shown around the new super computers installed in Bracknell some 40 year ago. Could not really understand what it was all about then, only Dr Mason knew ! Yes, as the Met Office say another step. Still when I look back at all those excellent weather forecasters and observers I worked with, who poured over plotted charts, upper air data, surface weather plots , land and out in the Atlantic, they were never far off the mark with predictions. So what I am saying , there is not a massive advance in forecasting with the increased computer technology over the skilled eye for detail from doing it the old way. Long term weather forecasting seems to be the spur for investment but are the results satisfactory in relation to this cost ?

     C

     

    I was working at Dunstable (then the headquarters) in 1959 and they had a Ferranti Mercury computer and it used punched tape and it had valves! That was when the great minds like Dr, Sawyer, Fred Bushby, et al were getting numerical forecasting off the ground.

     

    Not to forget climate research which is hugely important.

    Edited by knocker
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    Posted
  • Location: Ski Amade / Pongau Region. Somtimes Skipton UK
  • Weather Preferences: Northeasterly Blizzard and sub zero temperatures.
  • Location: Ski Amade / Pongau Region. Somtimes Skipton UK

    I was working at Dunstable (then the headquarters) in 1959 and they had a Ferranti Mercury computer and it used punched tape and it had valves! That was when the great minds like Dr, Sawyer, Fred Bushby, et al were getting numerical forecasting off the ground.

     

    Not to forget climate research which is hugely important.

    Knocker, you old boffin ! I was only in shorts in 1959, but remember it was a nice late summer. Would that be Basil Ferranti ?

    C

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    Posted
  • Location: Camborne
  • Location: Camborne

    What annoys me about it though is they then censor the data on the grounds that they are selling it to other companies, they should decide whether they want to be commercial and play by the same rules as everyone else like Netweather etc or they want to be public funded.

     

    What data are they censoring? Perhaps they should censor the radar data as well.

    Knocker, you old boffin ! I was only in shorts in 1959, but remember it was a nice late summer. Would that be Basil Ferranti ?

    C

     

    The whole summer was great and I think it was Basil Faulty.

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    Posted
  • Location: Manchester Deansgate.
  • Weather Preferences: Heavy disruptive snowfall.
  • Location: Manchester Deansgate.

    What data are they censoring? Perhaps they should censor the radar data as well.

     

    The whole summer was great and I think it was Basil Faulty.

     

    Where do you want me to start????   The mogreps, the 168 GM op, all ensembles, the UKV, the uk4 until recently!!!!

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    Posted
  • Location: Camborne
  • Location: Camborne

    Where do you want me to start????   The mogreps, the 168 GM op, all ensembles, the UKV, the uk4 until recently!!!!

     

    That isn't data they are products.  What i tend to find on here is that people who do all the shouting and denigrating the METO actually know zilch about the METO structure and financing  Companies like NW don't have the same responsibilties nor do they require the same infrastructure ( do they use their own radars?) so they are the ones who aren't playing on a level playing field.

     

    Although the METO has had a commercial arm for many years now if you want a first class national met, office coupled with a world class research facility then it has to be financed much the same as satellites that everyone takes for granted.

    Edited by knocker
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    Posted
  • Location: Near King's Lynn 13.68m ASL
  • Weather Preferences: Hoar Frost, Snow, Misty Autumn mornings
  • Location: Near King's Lynn 13.68m ASL

    It does seem a bit perverse that weather enthusiasts are decrying money being spent to improve weather forecasts.

     

    As noted above, the MetO is now a commercial operation and it cannot afford to stand still if it wants to remain competitive.

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    Posted
  • Location: Newton in Bowland
  • Location: Newton in Bowland

    That isn't data they are products.  What i tend to find on here is that people who do all the shouting and denigrating the METO actually know zilch about the METO structure and financing  Companies like NW don't have the same responsibilties nor do they require the same infrastructure ( do they use their own radars?) so they are the ones who aren't playing on a level playing field.

     

    Although the METO has had a commercial arm for many years now if you want a first class national met, office coupled with a world class research facility then it has to be financed much the same as satellites that everyone takes for granted.

    Whilst their can be no arguments as to the MetO's credentials at being thee finest it does seem strange that only a couple of years ago they spent a fortune upgrading their computers. Maybe I'm old fashioned but I still believe as good as computers are there's no substitute for experience.

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    Posted
  • Location: Camborne
  • Location: Camborne

    Whilst their can be no arguments as to the MetO's credentials at being thee finest it does seem strange that only a couple of years ago they spent a fortune upgrading their computers. Maybe I'm old fashioned but I still believe as good as computers are there's no substitute for experience.

     

    In the modern world of meteorology and climate then I think we will all agree that computer power is essential.

     

    As to your second observation, yes you have a point. Not that many years ago the METO had weather centers littered around the country. (come in John all is forgiven) and there is no question that forecasters with years of experience and local knowledge were a distinct advantage. For example Plymouth Weather Center was ideal for my neck of the woods. But they were hugely expensive to operate and when commercial companies, operating from a tin shack in saffron Walden, started to spread their wings and the government demanded more for their money the METO couldn't compete.

     

    This was part of the cycle of moving from one age to another. We used to have eight manned radiosonde stations but they cost £2m a year to run. Now we have two.

     

    EDIT

    I hadn't read John's post when I wrote this. Suffice it to say I totally agree.

    Edited by knocker
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