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New German super-computer to predict climate change


German scientists have inaugurated what they describe as the world’s most powerful climate-predicting super-computer.

The custom-built machine at the German Climate Computing Centre (DKRZ) in the port-city of Hamburg can take any region and forecast how that place’s climate will alter with global warming.

Scientists said the supercomputer enables much more detailed climate calculations than were possible until now.

“It’s the biggest computer in the world to be dedicated solely to climate research,” said German Science Minister Annette Schavan at the inauguration.

The 35-million-euro “brain” has been working since April but its official commissioning was delayed to coincide with the Copenhagen climate summit.

The computer, rated at 160 teraflops, a measure of calculating speed, is 60 times faster than the model it replaces and can cope with around 10 times as much data, saving 10,000 terabytes of data a year, said a spokesman.

Supercomputers tend to be heavy users of power, but the experts at the DKRZ said it was carbon neutral because DKRZ only purchases for it “green” electricity generated by wind and from other renewable sources.

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