HPE is to build a supercomputer for a consortium of weather services across north and western Europe.
The company announced this week it has been contracted to build a supercomputer for the United Weather Centres – West (UWC-West); a collaboration between national weather services across Denmark, Iceland, Ireland, and The Netherlands, to advance weather forecasting.
The new HPE Cray supercomputer will be comprised of two systems; one dedicated to operational weather forecasting and another for broader weather and climate research.
It will be based in the Icelandic Met Office data center facility and is due to be installed by Q2 2022 and operational by 2023. The supercomputer will be powered by hydroelectric and geothermal energy.
HPE said the new system will improve weather modeling to generate more detailed forecast updates and make predictions every hour and enable research into extreme weather events, such as heatwaves, heavy rain, flooding, and snowstorms.
“As European nations continue to face challenges with new, dynamic weather patterns caused by climate change, weather forecasters will need powerful high-performance computing (HPC) capabilities to evolve weather models and simulate vast amounts of complex data to unlock accurate, real-time forecasts,” said Bill Mannel, vice president and general manager, HPC, at HPE. “We are pleased to see Denmark, Iceland, Ireland, and The Netherlands take action and join forces in the United Weather Centres- West (UWC –West) to strengthen weather services in Europe.”
The United Weather Centres – West (UWC-West) is a collaboration between the Danish Meteorological Institute, Icelandic Met Office, Met Éireann, Ireland’s national weather service, and the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) to advance weather forecasting for the four nations.
“Our countries have a long history of working together in weather forecasting – often the weather experienced in Ireland or Iceland today is the same weather experienced in Denmark and The Netherlands tomorrow,” said Marianne Thyrring, the UWC-West Chair.
“The UWC-West supercomputer is the first step in a powerful collaboration between weather services in Europe, and it is vital that we continue working closer together to improve our weather forecasts and understanding of how climate change will impact our countries.”
The United Weather Centres came together in 2018 to develop and operate a common numerical weather prediction (NWP) model. Other members of UWC include Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, and Sweden.
"The UWC-West supercomputer is the first step in a powerful collaboration between other weather services in Europe and it is vital that we continue working together to improve our weather forecasts and understanding of how climate change will impact our countries,” said Árni Snorrason, Director General of the Icelandic Met Office.
The new system will specifically support a next-generation NWP model called HARMONIE-AROME, which has been developed under the HIRLAM-ACCORD collaboration; a consortium now comprised of 26 national meteorological services across Europe and North Africa that is aimed at improving short-range weather predictions.
Earlier this year the UK’s Met Office selected Microsoft and HPE-Cray for its new 60 petaflops supercomputer.