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By placing their weather computers in Iceland, Danish meteorologists hope to save money. The accuracy of their forecasts may improve too

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When Danes check their weather reports starting next autumn, they can thank cheap, Icelandic energy, rather than the weatherman himself, that the forecasts have become more accurate.

DMI, Denmark’s national weather office, is in the midst of a regular upgrade of the supercomputer it uses to generate weather forecasts, and, like an increasing number of commercial business, the agency has seen the value of placing its power-hungry equipment in the North.

The reason, DMI says, is because energy in Iceland is cheaper than in Denmark and because Iceland’s generally lower temperature means the computer will require less cooling.

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Typically, DMI calculates that only half of its supercomputer budget goes to acquiring a replacement. The other half, it says, is used to pay for the power needed to run it. By placing the new supercomputer, which is ten times faster than the current model, in Iceland, DMI estimates that it will be able to cut its energy bill by half, even though it will use twice as much energy.

The funds, it says, will be used to buy a faster computer.

The decision to move the physical location of the computer from Copenhagen to Reykjavik, where it will stand in the offices of the IMO, the Icleandic weather agency, changes where the Danish numbers get crunched (weather observations will still be made over Denmark), but Icelandic forecasts stand to be improved as well.

Some of the increased computing power will be used to study Greenlandic weather patterns (DMI is responsible for Greenlandic weather forecasting), which typically also influence Icelandic weather.

The new weather computer is due to come on line in a year. It is expected to remain in service for six years.

Both countries will be hoping that by that time, its replacement can improve not just the forecasting, but also the forecast as well.