The Met Office has bought a £1.2bn Microsoft supercomputer from the company. The supercomputer is far more powerful than any other computer in the country, ranking among the top 25 in the world.
The supercomputer will be used to improve the accuracy of weather forecasts, potentially providing street-level forecasts. It will also be used to simulate global warming and extreme weather.
"In the short term, you'll see a more accurate weather forecast, it may reflect your region in more detail, you'll be able to customize it more and affect your life in ways that you don't know about, for example, by serving airlines. So you don't realize that it's the supercomputer that makes your flight safer, smoother, more efficient." Met Office chief executive Penny Endersby.
"Similarly, as climate change evolves, policy makers make choices about how much tidal barriers we need or where to build flood defences so that your home won't be flooded, what you think is lucky, is actually related to planning. In fact, we know how big tidal surges are going to be because it's been modeled so well, we know the flood risk of more intense surface rainfall, so we can prepare ahead of time, so a lot of things are actually where you wouldn't see the downside, but you would see the upside."
"The Met Office has long been a byword for excellence and innovation in our understanding of the impact of weather and climate," said Clare Barclay, chief executive of Microsoft UK.
"Innovation, technology and partnerships are needed to make progress on the ecological challenges we face."
"The Met Office's deep expertise, data collection capabilities and the potential of historical archives, combined with the huge scale and power of supercomputing on Microsoft Azure, will mean we can improve forecasting, help tackle climate change and ensure the UK remains at the forefront of climate science for decades to come."
The Microsoft supercomputer will provide predictions starting in the summer of 2022.