supercomputer weather UK Met office
The UK Government is to plough £97m into the creation of a "weather supercomputer" to predict forecasts months in advance.Reuters

The UK's obsession with the weather is about to take a dramatic technological leap forward with the development of one of the world's most powerful supercomputers to more accurately measure meteorological events.

The £97m High Performance Computer (HPC) will provide detailed weather information for precise geographical areas and will be able to predict UK winter forecasts months in advance.

"We are a country fascinated by the weather, so it's no surprise that from early barometers to this weather supercomputer, we've always led the way in developing technology to predict the weather," said Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury.

"This £97m investment is a crucial part of the Government's wider drive to make the UK the best place in the world to do science and research."

The HPC will be 13 times more powerful than the current system used by the UK Met Office and will be able to deliver higher resolution models to pinpoint small-scale, high-impact weather.

By better predicting regional impacts of major meteorological events like floods, droughts and heatwaves, it is anticipated that the supercomputer will deliver £2 billion worth of socio-economic benefits.

"This is an investment that says the UK believes in science, putting us up there with the very best in the world, enabled by technology that will make huge strides in weather and climate forecasting," said Science Minister Greg Clark.

"I have been eager to make this happen for some time, and I am confident that the supercomputer will make this nation more resilient and better prepared for high impact weather and boost the economy - improving lives up and down the country."

The first phase of the supercomputer will be operational in September 2015, based at the Met Office and Exeter Science Park. It is expected to reach full capacity in 2017.