Meet "deep black" the Met Office supercarbon footprint climate computer

The original press release from the Met Office that started this story is here. There’s no mention of a carbon footprint in it, but they did manage to provide a photo of it with a green halo, shown below. When such a machine is powered up, does it make a “giant sucking sound’?  In other news, Obama inauguration sets new record for private jet use. – Anthony

From the Times online, UK

Met Office forecasts a supercomputer embarrassment

A new £33m machine purchased to calculate how climate change will affect Britain, has a giant carbon footprint of its own

For the Met Office the forecast is considerable embarrassment. It has spent £33m on a new supercomputer to calculate how climate change will affect Britain – only to find the new machine has a giant carbon footprint of its own.

“The new supercomputer, which will become operational later this year, will emit 14,400 tonnes of CO2 a year,” said Dave Britton, the Met Office’s chief press officer. This is equivalent to the CO2 emitted by 2,400 homes – generating an average of six tonnes each a year.

The Met Office recently published some of its most drastic predictions for future climate change. It warned: “If no action is taken to curb global warming temperatures are likely to rise by 5.5ºC and could rise as much as 7ºC above pre-industrial levels by 2100. Early and rapid reductions in CO2 emissions are required to avoid significant impacts of climate change.”

However, when it came to buying a new supercomputer, the Met Office decided not to heed its own warnings. The ironic problem was that it needed the extra computing power to improve the accuracy of its own climate predictions as well as its short-term weather forecasting. The machine will also improve its ability to predict extreme events such as fierce localised storms, cloudbursts and so on.

Alan Dickinson, Met Office Director of Science and Technology, said: “We recognise that running such massive computers consumes huge amounts of power and that our actions in weather and climate prediction, like all our actions, have an impact on the environment. We will be taking actions to minimise this impact.”

Dickinson believes, however, that the new computer will actually help Britain cut carbon emissions on a far greater scale than those it emits. He said: “Our next supercomputer will bring an acceleration in action on climate change through climate mitigation and adaptation measures as a consequence of a clearer understanding of risk. Ultimately this will lead to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.”

Machines like the Met Office’s new computer are important tools in the battle to slow climate change. They are the only way to assess the potential impact of rising CO2 levels over the coming years and decades.

This is because producing even a short-range weather forecast requires billions of calculations, something that would take weeks to do by hand. Computers enable forecasts to be generated in time to be useful.

Dickinson said: “Our existing supercomputer and its associated hardware produce 10,000 tonnes of CO2 each year, but this is a fraction of the CO2 emissions we save through our work. We estimate that for the European aviation industry alone our forecasts save emissions close to 3m tonnes by improving efficiency.

“Our next supercomputer will bring an acceleration in action on climate change through climate mitigation and adaptation measures as a consequence of a clearer understanding of risk. Ultimately this will lead to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.”

When it is finally completed, around 2011 the Met Office machine will be the second most powerful machine in Britain with a total peak performance approaching 1 PetaFlop — equivalent to over 100,000 PCs and over 30 times more powerful than what is in place today.

However, supercomputers and data centres require vast amounts of power – a problem that increasingly confronts the global information technology industry. Last week Google admitted its systems generate 0.2g of CO2 per search, even though each one lasts just 0.2 seconds.


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The left doesn’t care … their rules only apply to others. Plus they’ll rationalize everything and eventually it will become George Bush’s fault.
Maybe the anti-climate changers should act like the environuts and barge in and destroy the supercomputing monstrosity … they could plead they were only doing it to save the polar bears.


I find it interesting that part of their justification for the CO2 emitted by this computer’s operation is that it will “accelerate action on climate” (reducing CO2, in turn) as a consequence of the better data it produces.
If they already KNOW that these newer, better models are going to produce results that generally confirm their existing dire predictions, why build it and produce all that CO2 in the first place?

Ah, the old saying “Do as I say, not as I do” in full swing there…
Could this be the reason that the MET are forcasting a warmer 2009? Lol!


Would that be “carbon black”?


Just on a bet, I’d like to see that office do “billions of calculations” by hand in any reasonable number of weeks.
So they’ve got a new computer to make calculations using the current models at a faster pace. Have they improved the models or are we just making the same errors more rapidly?
On the positive side, in two years there will be that much more data to look at. Heck, they might just use the current computer to predict those two years and see how close they get.


Heh! No problem.
For another £33 million they could build a windmill farm to power it and take the fould polluting monster off grid.
I think they should be challenged to do just that to see what the response is.


A Super-computer used to calculate a no-problem… great!!!
Maybe they should add a link to WUWT in the computer and just find out the truth.
Or maybe they should have just use a few Playstation 3 to do the calculations instead of this useless behemoth.
As you see, there is a lot of money involved in the AGW business. How could they now say that CO2 is not the problem and that the earth will not warm up?

Gary Palmgren

This is neat having a whole PetaFlop to play with. They will be able to run models that assume a constant solar output and constant relative humidity really fast. They will be able to ignore more measured data and create more errors per second than has ever been computed before. Hello, Guinness Book of World Records.
Steve McIntyre said it best. Ooga in, Chaka out; and at one PetaFlop, thats a lotta Chaka


From Reason Magazine today:
“While there might be a moratorium on new coal-fired plants in the U.S., the rest of the world will not be joining it. The International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2008 projects that fossil fuels will still account for 80 percent of the world’s primary energy production in 2030. Nearly 90 percent of the increase in world electricity demand will be driven by the economic growth of developing countries, especially that of China and India. In other words, coal will still be fueling civilization for the next couple of generations. ”
This suggests that there will be no net reduction in emitted CO2 levels for at least another two decades. At best the rate of increase will be slowed. No matter what happens there will still be a lot of carbon being pumped out all the way until 2050. Hansen has stated that Obama has 4 years to save the world from the “tipping point”. How? By asking the UN to mandate the shut down of every Coal fired plant in the world? It’s clear CO2 PPM will scream right past 450 while the world will wonder how to keep warm as temperatures fall and crops begin to fail due to shorter growing seasons. In the future, will Climatologists still use GCM’s to forecast constantly falling temperatures down to absolute zero i.e. a reverse hockey stick?

Ron de Haan

I reject “Green Inventions” like “carbon footprint” which is nothing more but a cheap tool from the propaganda machinery of the Global Warming Doctrine demonizing CO2.
Recently an article was published stating the worldwide use of the internet produced more CO2 than the entire aviation industry.
From this perspective “Deep Black’s” emissions is nothing but a cow fart in the wind.
However, if we take a close look at the energy consumption of processors and the cooling equipment we see a constant reduction in energy use.
In a few years “Deep Black” will be scrapped, recycled and replaced by a more powerful super computer that probably will use 40% less energy.
It’s the best proof that the Green objective to cripple the western economies in order to save the planet is the most stupid and devastating idea in human history.

Leon Brozyna

From the “do as we say, not as we do” department?

Pearland Aggie

Anthony, Anthony, Anthony….it’s off to the re-education camp with you!

Ron de Haan

In regard to the increasing use of private jets I can only say that I am a big fan of individual transport.
The manufacturing of aircraft is a pillar of the high tech industry.
Development of aircraft is an important source of income for many universities and provides a constant push for innovation.
At this moment we experience a revolution in the field of avionics, navigation and flight management, applied materials, aerodynamics and engine development.
Humanity can’t afford to hold these developments in the name of Gaia.

Cassandra King

Mirror mirror on the wall? The met office spending vast sums on a computer which cannot work as expected unless it is fed with selective data which is then ‘adjusted’ to find the required answers, rubbish in and rubbish out.
One wonders what the AGW/MMCC believers will do should their beloved models not give them the answers they require, hide the data/fix the data/ignore the data/ask for a refund/kick the computer/phone the helpline!
‘Computer sez no'(British joke) and I wonder if after months of grinding and churning the computer chucks out the number 42(another British joke) sorry but ya gotta laugh at the hubris and stupidity of people.

Bet some of those Hollywood [snip] ‘stars’ that believe in AGW flew in on their private jets…

“When it is finally completed, around 2011 the Met Office machine will be the second most powerful machine in Britain…”
When switched on, and given the task of finding the answer to Global Warming, it will probably ponder for many years, and then give the result: “42”. It will then be up to the most powerful computer in the land to calculate the question to the answer…
My own answer to Global Warming is “Don’t panic” (preferably written in large, friendly letters.) :o)

Shawn Whelan

So you think these scientists are expected to live like us regular old peasants. Think of Castro to get an idea. Why do you think David Suzuki so loves Castro and his oxen based farming system?


It would seem the met office isn’t a great believer in the Precautionary Principle after all…..
So if you need something that produces CO2, just buy it. Everyone has just as good a reason as them for doing things…. Or are Bureaucracies somehow different and more important than us simple folk in the ranks of the great unwashed???

George E. Smith

So a Google search emits 0.2 grams of CO2 footprint.
How much CO2 footprint is generated by getting into your car, and driving over to the Stanford, or Santa Clara, or San Jose University Library, and searching on foot to find that information stored on dead tree?
Just asking !

Steve Berry

The Met Office should be more embarrassed about their rotten predictions. The UK was supposed to have “Hotter, drier summers and wetter winters”. Oddly, the exact OPPOSITE has happened since goreball warming began in the late 1970s

Chris Knight

Trust the MetO to buy a coal-fired computer. They could have got a wood-burner for half the price.

Allan M

Some years ago I sat in on a presentation by a guy from the Met Office about AGW. At the end he told us that their two supercomputers were nicknamed “The Kray Twins.”
The real “Kray Twins” were a pair of gangsters running an extortion racket in London!
Nothing changes.

Tim F

How many tons of CO2 does the average person emit in a year?
How many tons of CO2 are produced annually from all sources? What percentage of this total is economic/industrial?
How many total tons of CO2 in the atmosphere?

Jeff Alberts

Dickinson said: “Our existing supercomputer and its associated hardware produce 10,000 tonnes of CO2 each year, but this is a fraction of the CO2 emissions we save through our work. We estimate that for the European aviation industry alone our forecasts save emissions close to 3m tonnes by improving efficiency.

Too bad their forecasts (or ANY weather/climate forecasting) aren’t worth the chips used to process them.

Alan the Brit

Cassandra King:-)
The Met Office is spending our taxes, not its own money! They have to justify there own existence as much as possible in these hard times to stop the cash tap from turned off or at least the flow reduced, which it no doubt will be.
Guess what everyone, the good ol BEEB has just released a new story on the 6:00pm news, (an old one by this site’s standards). It’s about “proof” that Antarctica is actually warming, they highlighted the peninsula all nice & red with the rest all white, with just a casual mention that some other parts have cooled only slightly, but that the warming was as usual unprecedented. Funnily enough, they seemed to say that there is no proof that man-made greenhouse gases are responsible, but that “some scientists believe they are!” I think this was put out in Science or Nature journals a few weeks or even months ago. They must want to spice things up now President Obama is in office I suspect in the belief he will take the AGW torch all the way to the precipice!
Curiously there was no evidence of it on their website, so I suspect they do a trade off with mix ‘n match stories so that they pick here & there what environment stories they want to tell. Doesn’t sound that professional to me! What they did manage to do, was wonderfully manage to link into a story that the same reporter followed scientists to the region 8 years ago so that the same recycled news can be trotted out. Oh I’m getting far too cynical these days.

W. A. McQuiddy

Look on the Met side of things. They will be able to correct their predictions at giga-flop speed.
On a side note, it would appear the EU is reducing their carbon footprint drastically, courtesy of Russia and the Ukraine. But who gets the credit thereby enabling them to emit more CO2? The EU, Russia or Ukraine?

Thanks for the ‘snip’…it was probably the right thing to do..I was a little ‘fired-up’ when I made the first post! 🙂
CookevilleWeatherGuy (10:08:46) :
Bet some of those Hollywood [snip] ’stars’ that believe in AGW flew in on their private jets…

Mike McMIllan

£ I G O


It’s now a race between the Met office and AlGore to see who can tell the biggest lie and look the stupidest!

Tim F (10:42:22) :
How many tons of CO2 does the average person emit in a year?
How many tons of CO2 are produced annually from all sources? What percentage of this total is economic/industrial?

I have to say, I’ve seen many a theory on what humans produce, but the truth is, we don’t really, really know. We can guess by using predictions and maths but not until we can tag each particle with “Human” or “Nature” lables will we ever really find out.

M White

Remember the BBCs computer model predictions
2020 I wish
“New evidence on Antarctic warming”

Bill Junga

Garbage and Pounds Sterling in, Garbage and CO2 out

Dave Wendt

It is amazing how thoroughly the malignant fallacy that energy is an inherent evil has suffused human discourse. A machine that brings a 30X improvement in performance must be chided because it uses 40% more energy. This highlights the unrecognized damage inflicted on the world by the warmist propaganda efforts. If, as I suspect, the next few years do finally bring public recognition of the falsification of warmist theories, I fear the anti-CO2 prejudice has become so deeply rooted in human consciousness that it may take another decade for decisions to begin to be made without its’ pernicious influence. Since every unit of energy introduced into our society yields a significant multiple of wealth to our collective coffers and does so for other places about the globe to a greater or lesser extent, continuing to limit the development and deployment of energy resources will inevitably limit the growth of wealth in the world. A society’s ability to deal with the vagaries of climate and natural disaster has been shown to be directly related to its’ relative level of wealth, so limiting the world’s ability to create wealth will inevitably lead to more people in the developing world suffering and dying as a result of weather disasters than has been envisioned in the worst case warmist nightmares.


OT (I wish there was an separate place for this sort of thing??)
Any comments on this story in Nature as reported in the Australian saying the Antarctic is melting after all and not getting colder?,25197,24946572-12377,00.html


I’m not sure what you wanted above for the website so left it blank. Anyway, I’ve been reading and following this site for several months. On my Reuters News site (get it as a part of a commodity info site), an article was posted today by one of their correspondents that was titled ” Antarctica is warming, not cooling – study shows”. The author was Eric Steig of the Univ of Washington in Seattle. I’m guessing you’ve already read. Just wanted your or other’s thoughts regarding it.

Jeff L

So this is what the Met office would call good science ??? – as they seem to have the conclusion in hand ( drastic warming) before the machine is even hooked up & the models run. Absolutely no consideration to an alternative outcome. Astounding ! Do they have any idea how stupid that makes them look? Do they realize how this completely supports what the skeptics have been saying all along (that AGW is about politics, not science) ? I guess I shouldnt be surprised given the alarmists track record, but it is still very disappointing as a scientist to see such conduct.


We estimate that for the European aviation industry alone our forecasts save emissions close to 3m tonnes by improving efficiency.

If they just got the computer which calculates carbon effects, how do they know their effects upon aviation? And wasn’t the carbon budget already fully understood so they already knew human effects?


When your computer model runs faster, you get to have more runs in the same amount of time, thereby enabling you to incrementally improve the tuning of your data and/or model towards the desired results. These models are too complex for simple one-time faking of data towards specific desired results.

Many years ago, in the late 1970’s I think, the first non-governmental Cray supercomputer was to be alloted to a university through a competition based on the good that would result from having the Cray at that university. The University of Texas at Austin won, beating competition from Stanford, MIT, and Cal Tech among others.
UT used the Cray for three primary tasks: oil field simulations, nuclear fusion simulations, and underwater acoustics (submarine technology, we were told).
The oil field simulations were successful, the nuclear fusion simulations were frustrating, and apparently the underwater acoustics went pretty well but nobody was talking.
The benefit from oil field simulations was the cost to find oil went down dramatically. The lay-language used was that before that, oil formations were thought to be like a watermelon, just find the rock with the oil, poke a hole in it and the oil would flow. The Cray results showed oil formations were more like a bunch of grapes, and required poking a hole in each one to produce more oil.
Or so we were told. Perhaps others have more accurate information on that first Cray outside of government.
Roger E. Sowell
Marina del Rey, California

Gary Plyler

All animals are equal, and some animals are more equal than others.

An ancient document (1991) re Supercomputer usage. (includes the oil reservoir reference)

All we have to do is spread the word:
Increased CO2 and warmth = better pot crops
Boom! All the 60s hippies will be on board… oddly enough, that probably includes the majority of warmist evangelists…

L Nettles

Let’s rename it Carbon Black


Jeff L,
“Our next supercomputer will bring an acceleration in action on climate change through climate mitigation and adaptation measures as a consequence of a clearer understanding of risk. Ultimately this will lead to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.”
Not just a foregone conclusion, but apparently a plan to produce ever-worsening predictions, in order to cause “an acceleration in action …” as they say above.
“Do they realize how this …?” Well, given politician’s and the media’s track records, they know can likely afford to be brazen and blatant.
…and people are stupid. When my daughter’s incompetent German teacher departed for Germany for a years-long teacher exchange, I warned him of some of the fact-free antiamericanism he was likely to encounter. Response: “well, some of it is deserved. Since Bush rejected Kyoto in 1996 …” I cut him off right there and pointed out the impossibility, but few people take a correction like that as a trigger to question their worldview and the sources of their “knowledge”.


Alan the Brit.
That was a quick posting! I too heard that newsitem on the BBC and was equally surprised by their statement that there was “no proof” of AGW but that “some scientists believe” there is. Had it not been for the evident joy with which the newscaster announced “scientific proof of global warming in Antartica” as the leadin to the story, one could be forgiven for thinking that the BBC was rowing back from their position of total belief and apostacy of climate change to one of unbiased reporting. On the other hand……..

Cassandra King

Jeff L makes a very valid point, the met office seem to be saying they want this new system to ‘verify their own predetermined position’ NOT to actually find whether there is a problem.
This does seem to be the equivolent of the Giant North Korean speakers overlooking the DMZ, look at our shiny new toy it agrees with us, quelle surprise!
BTW by the time this beast is hooked up and shaken down it will be obsolete!.


“Eventually it will become George bush’s fault.” How true. And as it should be. Here’s a guy who fires all the legitimate scientists but leaves Hansen.


OT – Micheal Mann has written a paper or something that states the Antartic has been warming for the past 50 years. The I found it at
Is this the same Micheal Mann who drew the discredited “Hockey Stick” temperature graph? Could somebody with more expertise than I check his math? I don’t trust the guy myself but I am not in a position to refute his claims.

Pierre Gosselin

Antarctica Warming – Seth Boringstein:
According to Svensmark’s theory, a warming Antarctica would actually confirm his theory that cosmic rays cause cloudiness and cool the globe while warming Antarctica.
Certainly coincides with our current solar activity.


Computers do not ’emit carbon’ unless they are burning.
Why are they burning up a ~$50 million dollar computer system?