Faster, more accurate weather forecasts promised by BOM

Weather forecasts and warnings across the country will be more accurate and delivered faster thanks to a new supercomputer for the Bureau of Meteorology. The signing of a US$59 million contract with global supercomputer leader Cray Inc was announced today.

Funding for the new supercomputer had been announced by the Australian Government in the 2014-15 Federal Budget.

The supercomputer will significantly increase the Bureau’s current supercomputing power, delivering about 16 times the capacity of the current computer.

This will enable the Bureau to issue forecasts and warnings more often and with greater certainty and precision than ever before, giving the community and emergency services unprecedented information, particularly prior to and during severe and extreme weather.

Bureau services are vital in warning of weather associated with bushfires, thunderstorms, tropical cyclones, flooding, rain, and dangerous winds; and providing the information people need to plan and act in response.

They are also essential to the economic livelihood of the nation, including for the construction, resources, agriculture and marine industries and those who keep our international trade routes open; and to the nation’s defence forces which depend on a wide range of the Bureau’s products, ranging from specialist forecasts for pilots to ocean forecasts for naval operations.

The purchase of the supercomputer will ensure the Bureau is well positioned to continue to provide these essential forecast and warning services.

Procurement and installation of this vital piece of national infrastructure is on track for delivery in mid-2016.

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