International projects

We are actively involved in a number of international programmes, projects and initiatives, working with other partners to improve our joint capability and understanding of science. Some of these projects are described on this page.

Improving Model Processes for African Climate (IMPALA)

What it is and what it does

This research programme, led by the Met Office, aims to improve understanding of Africa's climate to help provide high-quality information that is crucial for effective decision making across the continent. It will lead to a step-change in global climate model prediction capability, which until now has not been available across many parts of sub-Saharan Africa.

Why is it important?

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warn that Africa could see temperatures increase by around 4oC this century and vast areas of the continent could face more intense drought or rainfall than has been known before.

The information gathered by the new research will help decision-makers reduce climate-related risks.

How are we involved?

IMPALA is part of a UK government-funded initiative entitled Future Climate for Africa (FCFA) aimed at supporting research to better understand Africa's changing climate. In addition to our leading role in IMPALA, Met Office scientists are also contributing to three other FCFA projects.

  • African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analysis 2050 (AMMA-2050)
  • Future Resilience for African Cites and Lands (FRACTAL)
  • Integrating Hydro-Climate Science into Policy Decisions for Climate Resilient Infrastructure and Livelihoods in East Africa (HyCRISTAL)

You can find out more on our IMPALA page


What it does

GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security), is a joint initiative of the European Commission and European Space Agency (ESA). It will integrate in-situ and satellite data to produce improved and more-easily-accessed services of relevance to the environment and civil security in the following areas.

Global Monitoring for Environment and Security

  • Atmospheric composition

  • Emergency response

  • Marine forecasting

  • Security

  • Land monitoring

  • Climate change

Why is it important?

GMES is the most significant environmental programme to come out of Europe in the past decade. It is viewed by the European Commission as increasing the efficiency with which environmental information is used within the EU. GMES will shape the future structure and provision of environmental services across Europe, and is likely to provide the information for future environmental policy development.

How are we involved?

Within Europe the Met Office will be a service provider of marine and ocean information for the north-west shelf region. Within the UK the lead Government department on GMES matters is Defra. Defra has established a UK co-ordination team of experts from key stakeholder institutions in order to co-ordinate the UK interaction, which the Met Office sits on.

You can find out more about GMES on External link icon European Commission website.

EU Framework Programmes

What it is and what it does

The EU Framework Programmes are the main financial tools used by the European Union to support scientific research and development, of which the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) is the latest with a budget of around €50 billion. The programme is aimed at a range of participants - from universities and public bodies through to private companies and researchers from developing countries outside the EU.

Why is it important?

Framework Programmes offer an opportunity for the Met Office, in collaboration with other institutions, to access funding for research projects. Framework Programme funding is currently being used to support the development of aspects of the GMES initiative.

How are we involved?

We are involved in a number of Framework Programme funded projects, which include areas such as climate prediction and research, ocean forecasting and observational research.

You can find out more about the Seventh Framework Programme on the External link icon European Commission website.

Global Climate Observing System (GCOS)

What it is and what it does

Global Climate Observing System

GCOS was established to be a operational system capable of monitoring the Earth's climate system and detecting and attributing climate change. It is co-sponsored by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the International Council for Science (ICSU), the International Oceanographic Commission (IOC) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). It is based upon existing observing systems, wherever possible, and sets stringent standards for observations so they are suitable for climate purposes. Variables measured by GCOS stations include air temperature, precipitation, wind, concentrations of greenhouse gases, and ocean temperature and salinity.

Why is it important?

GCOS observations are critical for detecting climate change and for the levels of greenhouse gases that are responsible. The observations are also essential in validating climate models.

How are we involved?

The Met Office is both a user and supplier of GCOS data. We run GCOS stations in the UK and on UK overseas territories. Through the WMO Voluntary Cooperation Programme we support GCOS stations in some small island developing states.

You can find out more on our GCOS page or the External link icon GCOS website.

World Climate Research Programme (WCRP)

What it is and what it does

World Climate Research Programme

WCRP is a joint programme of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the International Council for Science (ICSU) and the International Oceanographic Commission (IOC) established to determine the predictability of climate and the impact of human activities on climate. It focuses on:

  • aspects of climate which are too complex to be tackled by a single nation or scientific discipline;

  • research activity across countries and disciplines;

  • organising major observational and modelling studies.

Why is it important?

Research programmes co-ordinated by the WCRP have made huge contributions to our understanding of climate models, the climate system and the prediction and impacts of climate change.

How are we involved?

Our scientists are closely involved in all levels of WCRP activities.

You can find out more on the External link icon World Climate Research Programme website.

Other projects

Collaborative projects

Our scientists are continually working with other organisations around the world. The aim is to build academic and research relationships with centres of excellence, by combining skills, capabilities, and aligning research and development programmes.

Last updated: 23 November 2015