Met Office turns to AWS cloud for ‘faster and more accurate’ weather forecasts

The Met Office has launched a new mobile app supported by a hybrid cloud platform it calls Weather Cloud, hosted on Amazon Web Services.

The UK's national weather service claims the platform will allow it to deliver forecasts and warnings faster and more accurately.

The platform optimises and processes complex meteorological data for mobile, at scale, across all Met Office platforms.

Moving critical infrastructure into the cloud enables the Met Office to react faster to the demands for data that arise at times of extreme weather events. The ability to upscale the infrastructure more easily allows the public to get the information they need quicker.

When the Met Office issues a Severe Weather Warning to the UK, the public, businesses and government respond by accessing its platforms – either desktop, mobile or app, and via its web-based services for business and UK network.

>See also: Supercomputers, cloud and the Internet of Things: the evolution of the weather man

The Weather Cloud helps the Met Office to manage this demand by automatically scaling and adapting to the increased load, ensuring the weather information that they need is always available.

During Storm Katie, the Met Office received a 200% increase in traffic, with over 8 million throughout the weekend.

The Weather Cloud will ensure that the new mobile app, along with the rest of the Met Office’s public-facing web pages, can handle increasing traffic and facilitate better planning for short-term weather events, it claims.

The increased flexibility will also help save public money by scaling down hardware when demand reduces during the summer months.

IT Security of government services

The Weather Cloud will help to provide greater resilience for non-public services by enabling the separation of the services the Met Office provides to the general public from those that it supplies to the government, military, aviation industry and commercial organisations, on-premise.

The organisation also alleges that the platform will help protect it from the growing risk of targeted attacks from anti-government agencies.

The previous weather app launched in 2012 and achieved 10 million downloads. However, as technology progressed, the Met Office needed to develop a modern platform that could power its future capability and innovation, enabling the public to make more informed decisions based on the weather.

Leveraging some of the power its the new supercomputer, the Weather Cloud will enable faster access to detailed forecasts at more locations through increased geospatial data density.

>See also: Met Office looks to enhance weather services by publishing more open data

It also provides the Met Office with a platform to experiment and develop its services for new technologies that are embraced by consumers and businesses, such as wearable devices and the Internet of Things.

The Met Office’s digital and technology team worked in collaboration with the App Business to develop the mobile app as part of a combined and co-located agile team. The Weather Cloud was implemented in Amazon Web Services (AWS) by CloudReach.

“We know that more and more people are choosing mobile devices to access their weather information from the Met Office and it’s vital we continue to address this changing behaviour so we can deliver our world-class weather service,” said Owen Tribe, head of digital for the Met Office.

“The new app technology will enable us to evolve our digital presence and the ways in which people want to access their weather information in the future.”

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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