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Weather bureau's $12m super computer yet to deliver

Brothers Mason and Reef Gorman make the most of the weather at Mooloolaba. Picture: Lachie Millard
Brothers Mason and Reef Gorman make the most of the weather at Mooloolaba. Picture: Lachie Millard

THE Bureau of Meteorology is upgrading its weather forecasting models as its multi-million dollar "supercomputer" comes under fire over its accuracy.

It follows a number of failed short-term forecasts in Queensland, where heavy rainfalls failed to eventuate and gale-force gusts were not predicted during a storm last June.

The bureau's $12 million-a-year XC40 supercomputer was installed last year to "successfully support the Bureau's capacity to predict".

A spokesman said the benefits of the computer were yet to be seen.

"As we continue to implement the program, the increase to computing power and storage capability will allow the Bureau to run more detailed numerical models more often, run forecasts more frequently, issue warnings more often and provide greater certainty and precision in our forecasting," he said.

American supercomputer manufacturer, Cray Inc, signed a six-year contract with the Bureau of Meteorology in 2015, totalling around $77 million.

The supercomputer's capabilities and accuracy came under fire last week after the bureau forecast a week of heavy rain in Brisbane, which failed to eventuate.

Fellow meteorologists have defended the bureau's "challenging" job.

Weatherzone senior meteorologist Jacob Cronje said despite the amount of technology around, predicting the weather was always tricky.

"Uncertainty will always be part of weather forecasting," he said.

"We may predict one thing but the slightest change in weather conditions will change the outcome exponentially."

A 40 per cent chance of showers and a possible storm is predicted tomorrow, with a maximum of 31C.

Topics:  bureau of meteorology editors picks weather

News Corp Australia

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