Met Office buys £33 million supercomputer

The Met Office is to buy a new supercomputer from IBM for 33 million.

The System P supercomputer will be the second-most powerful in the UK and in the top 20 in the world, with a peak performance of 125 trillion floating point operations per second. It will feature 13 terabytes of memory and 500TB of disk storage.

The contract will run to 2013 and include an upgrade in 2011, as well as support and maintenance. After that upgrade, it will have a peak performance of one petaflop per second.

The Met Office will be using the extra computing power to improve its short range forecasts and do more modelling on weather systems and climate change.

John Hirst, the Met Office's chief executive, said in a statement: "In a world where the effect of extreme weather events is becoming more severe and the potential impact of global warming is becoming ever more apparent, the Met Office plays an increasingly vital role in researching and forecasting these events. The new supercomputer is an important step in delivering our strategic targets."