Exceptional research and innovation continue to drive improvements in our science
Now more than ever, it is clear that we are living in uncertain times, and we have all felt unsure of what the future will bring. At this time of great need, science has given us a beacon of hope, providing governments with the information it needs to take action and help society combat a global threat. Thanks to science, we can see a way to a day when the situation will be brighter again.
Against the backdrop of a pandemic is perhaps a poignant time to launch the Met Office’s latest science strategy, priming us to provide the best support and advice to cope with the twin global threats of climate change and extreme weather events.
There are other changes in our world that we must also respond to. From technological innovation, to the need for clean growth, to the change in the climate itself. We need to ensure that our exceptional research and innovation continue to drive improvements in our science, technology and operations – and vice versa. As the Met Office Chief Scientist, it’s important to me that the Met Office takes a key role in the development of weather and climate science and we can ensure we continue to deliver improvements in our services for our sponsors and the society, in our ever-changing world.
I’ve been at the Met Office since 2012: formerly as Director of the Hadley Centre and more recently as Chief Scientist, overseeing a team of 500 scientists. I feel immensely proud of the work the Met Office has done to boost its science base even further, but this goes hand-in-hand with a huge feeling of responsibility. People’s lives and livelihoods increasingly depend on avoiding the worst impacts of extreme weather events and climate change, and the Met Office has a responsibility to help people make the best decisions to stay safe and thrive. If anyone doubts the threats, the weather and climate records chart them perfectly. The period from 2015-2019 has seen the highest average global temperatures recorded since before the start of the industrial revolution. This isn’t just happening at a global scale, as last year we saw records for the highest overall and winter temperature broken.
But we don’t just passively monitor the records: We recently showed that the odds of us experiencing another heatwave like 2018 are thirty times greater now than they were in pre-industrial times. By continuing pioneering research like this, we will be better able to prepare for the challenges of our changing climate.
How can we do this? In the past we’ve had a Science strategy, which gave direction to the Science programme. But now, the focus needs to shift to encompass the broader research and innovation activities across Science, Technology and Operations. In this way, we can better respond to the emerging needs of society and get the best value from our increased computing capacity. As our ability to better understand and predict future weather and climate continues to expand, so too do the expectations of our customers and stakeholders.
These evolving demands, together with the opportunities provided by new technology, such as the announcement of a new high-performance computer, provide the drivers for this Research and Innovation Strategy.
The strategy responds to these challenges and sets out the priorities needed to develop our exceptional science, technology and operations over the next 10 years. This gives us a pathway to take us through from fundamental science that will improve our weather observations, and models of weather and climate, right through to developing new tailored services that will really make a difference.
Latest News from
Creating a five-year window into future climate09/07/2020 15:15:15
Providing annually-updated five-year climate predictions at global and continental scales is the focus of a new international science collaboration co-ordinated by the WMO and led by the UK’s Met Office.
Innovative space weather monitoring projects receive UKRI funding07/07/2020 10:15:00
UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has announced funding for five projects focused on improving the UK’s capability to predict and mitigate the hazards of space weather.
EUMETSAT selects Phil Evans as its new Director General03/07/2020 08:15:00
We are very pleased to share the news that former Met Office Operations Director, Phil Evans, has been appointed as the new Director General of EUMETSAT.
End of June statistics02/07/2020 14:38:00
While June 2020 overall was not a record-breaking month, it has been notable for many, with some heavy rainfall at times.
Chances of 40°C days in the UK increasing01/07/2020 13:15:00
owards the end of the century parts of the UK could see 40°C days every 3-4 years on average under a high emissions scenario.
Hot and sunny with thunderstorms this week25/06/2020 15:15:15
It’ll stay hot and sunny with the risk of thunderstorms on Thursday and Friday, before fresher and cooler weather arrives through the weekend.
Met Office scientists receive prestigious Royal Meteorological Society Awards24/06/2020 15:15:15
Last month the Met Office Hadley Centre celebrated its 30th anniversary.
Global temperature: how does 2020 compare so far?24/06/2020 12:33:00
The Earth’s average temperature has increased by about 1 degree C since pre-industrial times, which for the climate record is calculated as the period 1850-1900.