Supercomputer "catalyst" for South West growth
The government has said a new £97m weather predicting supercomputer, which will be based at the Met Office on Exeter Science Park, could be a catalyst for growth in the South West as it will support partnerships between universities, scientists and businesses in the region.
Plans for the new computer, which is 13 times more powerful than the current system, were unveiled today.
It will give forecast updates every hour and is expected to generate £2bn for the UK economy by providing enough time for people to prepare homes and businesses against adverse weather conditions.
"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 chief secretary to the treasury Danny Alexander.
"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. By bringing world-class technology to the South West, we are also boosting regional investment and expertise, creating a stronger economy and fairer society."
Universities, science and cities minister Greg Clark said: "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.
"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 system will be operational by September 2015, reaching full capacity in 2017.