European Weather Center: in Bologna the super computer for forecasts and climate change

Bologna hosts the datacenter of the European Weather Center ECMWF (European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts): the supercomputer Atos BullSequana XH 2000 will replace the current Cray XC 40 and will officially come into operation in the middle of next year within the Technopole and will be used for to improve the forecast of temperatures and winds and for “ make long-term forecasts daily, rather than biweekly “. These are important, indeed fundamental steps, considering the rapidly changing climatic conditions on the planet.

It will not only be the seat of a supercomputer, but a real one citadel of science , European hub of Big dat to where the European supercomputer Leonardo will subsequently be installed. The Bolognese Technopole

will concentrate in the Emilia-Romagna Data Valley beyond 80% of the national supercomputing capacity and the 20% of the European one, with practical applications in all sectors: ecological transition and fight against climate change, transition digital, healthcare, urban times and logistics, sustainable businesses and production processes, agriculture.

Operational and reliability tests are currently underway : until May it will work in synergy with the center of Reading, where ECMWF has its headquarters. And the decision to open the data center in the Emilian city arose from the need to install the new generations of supercomputers in larger and more suitable spaces (120 thousand square meters), with the possibility of further expanding in the future: the decision was taken in 2017 by the Member States of the European Union, and the works at the former Tobacco Factory in via Stalingrado (Park area Nord) left the following year. Despite the pandemic, the Atos installation works have been completed, and from 1 May 2022 the activities (operational and research) will be fully operational. By that date, the Data Handling System (DHS) will also be moved from Reading to Bologna. 1. 500 people will work at the Emilian office.

ECMWF is a research institute and an operational service 24 / 7 which offers medium and long range global numerical weather forecasts for its Members, cooperating States and the wider community. The Center also houses one of the largest repositories of numerical weather forecast data in the world.


  • increase the accuracy of temperature and wind predictions near the surface
  • increase the knowledge level of surface temperatures in snowy areas
  • make the long-term forecast daily (and no longer twice a week)
  • improve knowledge of machine learning in weather forecasting

Alongside Atos, it was said, there will also be the European supercomputer Leonardo , and the Italia Meteo Agency, the National Institute of Astrophysics, the Foundation will be located at the Tecnopolo Big Data and Artificial Intelligence for Human Development and various research centers.

The headquarters remain in Reading, and in addition to the Bologna datacenter there are offices in Bonn. At the same time, the UK will be able to count on a new supercomputer six times more powerful than the Cray XC starting next year 40: I will be used by the Met Office to improve the country’s weather forecast.

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