Arwel Griffiths

Applying expertise

28 March 2012

The Met Office puts its experience and know-how to good use, says Arwel Griffiths, Met Office Director of Business Development.

2012 is a big year, with the Olympic Games and Queen's Diamond Jubilee giving us extra reasons to (hopefully) enjoy the weather.

The Met Office will be forecasting for the Diamond Jubilee, when many people hope to be holding street parties - weather permitting! We will also be providing forecast advice to the Olympic event organisers, for the competing athletes and their coaches and, importantly, for visitors and those responsible for the massive logistical exercise of transporting and ensuring the safety of huge numbers of visitors and tourists from overseas.

And while all this is going on, we will be supporting the everyday weather decisions that affect people's lives and livelihoods across the nation. The Met Officesupports UK business growth by applying our expertise across a range of industries, helping businesses understand the impacts of weather and climate on their operations.

One example of how our expert knowledge is critical to the nation is our wind power forecasts. Wind power will be a key source of energy in the future with the National Grid already making increased use of electricity generated by the wind. Wind power supplied an average of 5.3% of the UK's demand for electricity coming into this year and reached a record share of 12.2% in December 2011. We're also supporting the development of wind energy opportunities around the world.

Many people are astounded by the extensive services we offer beyond the daily weather forecast. Using social media, we're now getting our messages across to an even wider audience than we reached traditionally. By communicating in a new way, different people are now seeking out our forecasts and becoming aware of our trusted warnings and services.

To understand our customers, the Customer Attitude Survey asked our government and private sector business customers what's important to them. Although over three quarters of respondents trust the Met Office - and think that we are the best weather and climate service in the world - we know we can't stand still. We'll continue to adapt to help our customers achieve their goals.

The appointment of Professor Stephen Belcher as the new Head of the Met Office Hadley Centre helps us to build upon our world reputation in climate science. Our Climate Service is a global offering and it is vital for the UK to have a strong voice that can inform the world economy and achieve a sustainable balance. Another example of our international reach is the work of Dr Richard Graham, who received an OBE in the New Year's Honours list for his contribution to longer range forecasting in the developing world, especially Africa.

Through our collaboration with the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) we're now recognised as having our own capability in space weather forecasting. Incorporating our capability into the Hazard Centre in partnership with others is a significant contribution to national resilience by helping to protect infrastructure such as telecommunications and satellites.

Word-class science underpins all that the Met Office delivers. Specific developments, such as advances in forecast modelling, are fascinating. It's essential for us to continue to develop our science to provide even more reliable predictions, such as our seasonal to decadal forecasting.

We have the necessary knowledge, experience and flexibility to be able to apply our science in relevant ways. Often working in partnership, we're contributing to economic growth by helping businesses manage risks and opportunities from our weather which, ultimately, is good for everyone.

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