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Thursday, May 26, 2022

Lives ‘at risk’ over delay in building £1.2BILLION weather supercomputer

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LIVES are at risk due to delays in building the world’s “most advanced” weather supercomputer, a court has heard.

Met Office boffins had hoped the new £1.2billion forecasting system would be up and running by July.

The huge computer project was signed off by ministers in 2013 after years of bungled forecasts by the Met Office

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The huge computer project was signed off by ministers in 2013 after years of bungled forecasts by the Met OfficeCredit: Not known, clear with picture desk

But, with the old system close to collapse, it has already faced “significant delays” because of global microchip shortages and technical problems.

Court documents claim a crisis looms with “unacceptable” outages threatening “critical UK weather and climate services” — and even risking “safety of life”.

The huge computer project was signed off by ministers in 2013 after years of bungled forecasts by the Met Office.

Microsoft was given the contract to build the supercomputer by Whitehall.

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But details of the delays have emerged in court documents lodged at London’s High Court by its rival, Atos, in a row over the deal.

Atos is demanding more than £10million in damages, claiming the contract award was unfair.

The supercomputer, based near the Met Office’s HQ in Exeter, Devon, will help the UK tackle the changing climate.

It will predict storms more accurately, plan flood defences and improve airport forecasting.

The Met Office said: “We are aware of likely delays in the delivery of the first phase of our new supercomputing capability primarily due to the Covid pandemic, which has caused global supply chain issues.”





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