UPDATE: UK Met Office Super Polluter

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According to an article in today’s Telegraph, the UK’s most powerful supercomputer, used for climate change research, is also one of the biggest polluters in the country.  It requires enough energy to power a small [English] town and produces an estimated 12,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.  Spokespeople for the Met Office indicate the necessity of such a machine in order to predict weather and environmental change.

We recognize that it is big but it is also necessary. We couldn’t do what we do without it,” [Barry Grommett] said.

“We would be throwing ourselves back into the dark ages of weather forecasting if we withdrew our reliance on supercomputing, it’s as simple as that.”

The Met Office came in at number 103 of a list of 28,259 public buildings which are responsible for the highest carbon footprint in the UK.  The list was topped out by Manchester University’s Oxford Road campus.  For more info, read the full article here.

UPDATE: Andrew Jones sent us over a quick update to this article.  The building on Manchester University’s Oxford Road campus that is listed as the least green building houses a 10,000 sqft data center facility.  This data center housed the CSAR national academic computing machines.


  1. […] lineup with a green brush. Why try so hard to spin the story? This is possibly a reaction to the recent spate of bad press the UK Met has gotten for its IBM supers, or an attempt to get out in front of controversy in New […]

  2. […] Remember the flap over the  UK Met office’s supercomputer and the charges it was a “super polluter?” Good times. Well, it seems that the German Climate Computing Centre (DKRZ) does too, and is taking steps to sidestep the controversy they went through. From a story at Times Live 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. […]


  1. I encourage people to read the Register article. They did a good job of looking at the data in the spreadsheet to figure out what was really going on, and concluding that this isn’t worth the publicity its gotten. They point out that most of the facilities at the top of the list are EHS hospitals. (“UK’s government run health care is destroying the planet” 😉 That the Museum of Natural History is higher on the list than the Met Office. And there aren’t any power plants on the list.

    Appears to be a case of one UK journalist (using the term loosely) picking on the Met Office for some unstated reason. (Political? Bad forecast messed up his daughter’s wedding?). And then a bunch of other newspapers and blogs repeating and linking to the story without looking at what was behind it.