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Scale of the object compared with a human 1.8 metres (6 feet) tall.

Curriculum links

About the object

Shizuo Ishiguro, an electrical engineer and mathematician, developed this electronic storm model to simulate the North Sea, and increase our ability to predict the impact of storm surges on our coastline.

It simulates a body of water using currents of electricity, which pass over an electrical grid, demonstrating how specific weather conditions affect the sea.

There was a huge increase in funding for this mathematical research after a severe storm with winds of up to 126mph caused a surge from the North Sea on 31 January 1953. It hit the UK and parts of northern Europe, flooding 24,000 homes and killing more than 2500 people.

Oceanography today

Research continues today, with oceanographers using a range of engineering and mathematical techniques to collect and analyse vast quantities of data about the weather and the oceans. This research is helping us to predict and detect the effects of global climate change.

Learn more about this object on the Science Museum Group Collection website.

Learn more about modelling the oceans on our Objects and Stories blog.

Discussion questions

  1. If you could use a machine to predict anything, what would you want to know?
  2. If you were told to evacuate for a few days and could only take a few items, what would you bring with you?
  3. Today, we have many more types of devices and instruments to measure and predict the weather. Is it always accurate? If not, what do you think makes it so challenging to predict?

Explore the storm model