The Bureau of Meterology will purchase a new supercomputer and datacentre after a datalink upgrade.
Bureau of Meteorology director, Dr Rob Vertessy, said the data link upgrade and supercomputer project were elements of a significant IT transformation being undertaken by the Bureau.
It includes the replacement of weather forecasting and flood forecasting systems, the development of a new storm surge forecasting system and the introduction of several new water information products and services.
The upgrade has increased the connection between the Bureau’s two main data centres from 80 gigabits per second (Gbps) to 200Gbps.
The Bureau is also embracing mobile technology, with a weather app for Microsoft Windows and Apple iOS platforms to be released by the end of this year.
Vertessy, said the new data link would enable the Bureau to further improve the accuracy and timeliness of its weather forecasts and warnings, and increase the agency’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) resilience.
“The installation of a high speed data link helps us greatly now and positions us well for the future,” he said.
The Bureau will soon go to the market to purchase the supercomputer and datacentre announced by the Australian Government as part of the 2014-15 Federal Budget.
Vertessy said the Bureau’s weather forecasting process generated more than a terabyte of data each day, which was set to grow by a factor of ten within the coming decade.
“Producing a weather forecast involves the collation of massive streams of weather data from satellites, planes, ships and ground stations from around the world and this data is fed into complex mathematical models that run four times per day to predict hourly variations in the weather for the week ahead," he said.
“The new supercomputer will be almost 20 times faster than our current machine, giving us the ability to ingest even more data, run our weather prediction models more frequently and at higher resolution.
“This will result in even better forecasts but it also means a lot more data transfer between our datacentres and we have to upgrade our communications infrastructure accordingly.”
The new data link consists of two fibre cables of 100Gbps each, which operate concurrently.
As a mission-critical operational agency, the bureau design its systems to minimise service disruption. Having two separate data links ensures ongoing service delivery in the unlikely event that one of the cables fails.