Part II: Three decades of Met Office Hadley Centre science, and counting…
In Part I of this two-part blog series (published yesterday) Professor Albert Klein Tank described the history and highlights of the Met Office Hadley Centre over the past 30 years. Here the Director of the Met Office Hadley Centre focuses on the future.
The next 30 years
In the next 30 years, the role of climate science at the Met Office Hadley Centre will evolve to one of quantifying the predicted changes in climate, and providing more detailed information on what these changes mean to individuals.
How can we help societies plan for the future and manage the risks from extreme climate events and avoid impacts which are too drastic to cope with?
The next 30 years are extremely important regarding the need for stronger mitigation by proceeding towards a transition to a net zero emissions economy. Climate science will play an important part in informing adaptation to the consequences of climate changes that are already unavoidable, whilst informing the mitigation actions aiming to avoid more severe impacts. The emphasis on action and solutions implies a shift from climate science to climate services. But, underpinning science aimed at understanding climate system processes remains crucial. Albert Klein Tank said: “I strongly believe that the climate services of the future rely on the pioneering and underpinning research of today.
“New frontiers of research including capability to robustly simulate and predict weather and climate extremes will bring additional utility to our forecasts and projections, both nationally and internationally.”
Following the 5th IPCC Assessment Report, the Paris Agreement in December 2015 marked a turning point in climate negotiations with 195 governments agreeing to take global action to tackle climate change and limit global temperature increase.
As a result of the Paris Agreement, the focus of climate research at the Met Office has changed to reflect these changing drivers:
- moving from proving that climate change is happening and predictable to monitoring, understanding and managing current and future weather and climate risks
- informing the development of strategies for lowering greenhouse gas emissions to avoid the most dangerous impacts of climate change and assessing the risk of abrupt, potentially irreversible, Earth system change (including so-called tipping points)
Preparing for inevitable climate changes will require more local information, an example of which is provided for the UK as part of the recently issued UK Climate Projections. Future projections require even more information on how global warming translates into local-scale changes in weather and climate extremes, such as windstorms, heat waves and coastal and inland flooding events.
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