Powered by renewable energy, the supercomputer will be built using the HPE Cray system

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HPE selected to build the UWC-West supercomputer. (Credit: Hewlett Packard Enterprise Development LP)

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) said that it is building a new supercomputer for the United Weather Centres – West (UWC-West) with an objective to enhance weather predictions for Denmark, Iceland, Ireland, and The Netherlands.

UWC-West is a collaboration between the Danish Meteorological Institute, Icelandic Met Office, Met Éireann, which is the Irish national weather service, and the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute.

The supercomputer will be located in a data centre facility of the Icelandic Met Office. Powered by local renewable energy, it will be built using the HPE Cray system.

It is slated to be installed in the second quarter of next year, while its operations are likely to begin by early 2023.

According to HPE, the HPE Cray system delivers powerful, end-to-end performance to speed time-to-predictions with higher resolution. This will enable weather services in issuing timely alerts and boost public services, said the edge-to-cloud company.

HPE vice president and general manager Bill Mannel said: “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.”

Through the combination of national resources and learnings on the shared supercomputer, the four meteorological organisations are expected to enhance weather modelling to drive more detailed forecast updates as well as make hourly predictions.

HPE claimed that the overall advanced performance will also facilitate research into extreme weather events like heavy rain, heatwaves, snowstorms, and flooding. This will enable the meteorological services to issue timely warnings to alert local governments and communities to brace up for severe conditions and take actions for protecting human lives, property, and livestock.

UWC-West chair Marianne Thyrring said: “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.

“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.”

UWC-West’s new machine will be made up of two systems, of which one of them will be used exclusively for operational weather forecasting. The other system will be for wider research into weather and climate to help harness complex atmospheric and oceanic data that will enable in creating models and simulations of weather at a higher resolution.

HPE said that the supercomputer will particularly support HARMONIE-AROME, a next-generation numerical weather prediction (NWP) model.

Recently, the company won a contract worth $2bn from the US National Security Agency (NSA) to deliver high-performance computing (HPC) technology as a service through the HPE GreenLake platform.