Getting people talking

We get people talking

28 March 2012

The weather is well known for breaking the ice in conversations, and we've decided to get people talking in a series of critical debates.

As a world-leader in weather and climate science, it's our job to provide expert advice and information wherever the weather and climate change make their presence felt. Thanks to the recognition and the strength of the Met Office brand, we're also able to start dialogues with our customers and work together with them to make the most of changes, and avoid the potential dangers, to come.

Met Office Conversations 3

Met Office Conversations is a set of roundtable discussions designed to encourage key stakeholders to talk about shared issues. The events bring together thought-leaders in different industries - significantly from both the government and business sectors - to share their views on a variety of topics.

Met Office Conversations

So far, this series of debates has covered:

  • Climate security and what it means in the UK and globally.
  • Natural hazards and how the UK can better prepare for and manage them.
  • Airport-Collaborative Decision Making and how sharing information in real-time - including the latest weather forecast - can make airports more resilient, airlines more efficient and improve services for passengers.
  • Renewable energy and how to maximise its potential so that it continues to play a significant role in meeting the energy demands of the future.

Met Office Conversations 1

By giving people the chance to talk freely these discussions bring out ideas from different perspectives, experiences and areas of expertise. Where there is consensus, attendees might meet within their own industries to take work forward. Some ideas might also be developed in working groups hosted by the Met Office.

Climate security

At this event the group recognised that using a common language was key to formulating joined-up and meaningful climate change adaptation strategies for the UK and other countries. They also felt that maximum benefit would be achieved by bringing in experts from others areas such as social science, economics and global security.

Natural hazards

Attendees agreed to meet more often in future to share information and join-up initiatives around hazard management and national resilience. As natural hazards do not respect geographic boundaries, it was also important not to look at the UK in isolation but to consider the impacts of international events. A working group is being set up by the Met Office to look at shared communication issues.


Here, the group recognised that staying one step ahead of the weather could make airports more resilient, airlines more efficient, and improve services for passengers. But more should be done first to make sure weather information was used more fully and widely across the industry as part of Airport-Collaborative Decision Making.


At our next discussion, attendees will look at what can be done to maximise renewable energy, given its variable nature, and how it can continue to play a significant role in meeting the energy demands of the future. 

Met Office Conversations 2

In addition to Met Office Conversations, we regularly go out to customers to better understand their needs. For example, our transport customers were invited to take part in a symposium in February, while a workshop for emergency responders is planned for the summer. Together with our Customer Attitude Survey, these activities are critical for getting feedback on how to improve our services.

At the Met Office, we know that talking about the weather does more than break the ice in conversations. It brings people together, fosters new ideas and leads to new ways of working. Importantly, events like Met Office Conversations help different industries to develop shared strategies on the impacts of the weather and climate change, and identify new opportunities for development and growth.

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In brief