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IBM super is Met Office's 'chief weapon against British cynicism'

Losing battle?

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In the UK these days, everyone loves to hate the Met Office, sometimes for getting long-range forecasts wrong - it predicted a barbecue summer and a warm winter for 2009 - but mostly because they don't make the weather right.

Following the coldest winter for many years, the Met Office "appears to be in a losing battle with British cynicism", writes the Daily Mail, the newspaper of choice for El Reg's British readers.

It may even lose its contract to supply forecast for another tarnished British institution, the BBC.

In a sympathetic profile, the Mail takes a peek at the Met Office's "chief weapon", a £33m IBM supercomputer which went fully operational last year at the organisation's headquarters in Exeter.

Weather is big business. And it requires big computers. But does the improved compute power at the Met Office's disposal encourage the institution to attempt longer range forecasts and hence make more mistakes in public? [Some critics think that the Met's forecasting software has a "warm bias", which magnifies the errors.]

So for more on that IBM supercomputer and on the Met Office and the weather busines, read on. ®

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