Weather agency to upgrade supercomputer to improve rainfall forecast

Japan Economic Newswire |

The Japan Meteorological Agency said Wednesday it will start operating an upgraded supercomputer next month that can help predict more precise rainfall 15 hours ahead.

With the first upgrade in six years, the supercomputer will be able to calculate at a speed 10 times faster than its current model that can forecast detailed rainfall distribution just six hours ahead.

"By keeping track of the potential impact of typhoons and localized downpours at an early stage, we can help local governments to issue earlier evacuation orders and take other disaster prevention steps more swiftly," an agency official said.

The agency invested about 4 billion yen ($36 million) to install the supercomputer made by Cray Inc. of the United States. Some 6 billion yen will be invested over the next five years to operate the system, located in the agency's facility in northwestern Tokyo.

By the first half of next year, the new system is expected to be able to calculate the central pressure and maximum wind speed of a typhoon five days ahead instead of the current three days.

With the new supercomputer, the agency also plans to predict average temperatures around two weeks ahead.


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