Met Office Hadley Centre

One of the world’s leading centres for climate change research

The Met Office Hadley Centre is one of the UK's foremost climate change research centres.

We produce world-class guidance on the science of climate change and provide a focus in the UK for the scientific issues associated with climate science.

Largely co-funded by Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and Defra (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), we provide in-depth information to, and advise, the Government on climate science issues.

As one of the world's leading centres for climate science research, our scientists make significant contributions to peer-reviewed literature and to a variety of climate science reports, including the Assessment Report of the IPCC. Our climate projections were the basis for the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change.

History of the Met Office Hadley Centre

The Met Office Hadley Centre was opened in 1990, by the Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, when the Met Office was at its previous headquarters in Bracknell.

Prior to the opening of the dedicated centre different areas of the Met Office had been undertaking climatology research. By the late 1980s the Synoptic Climatology Branch was working closely with the Climatic Research Unit to produce an integrated global land surface air and sea surface temperature data set. This was the primary data set used to assess observed global warming by the IPCC in 1990.

Three events occurred in 1988 that assisted greatly in bringing the issue of man-made climate change to the notice of politicians:

  1. A World Ministerial Conference on Climate Change in June hosted by the government of Canada.
  2. A speech in September by Margaret Thatcher where she mentioned the science of anthropogenic climate change and the importance of action to combat climate change.
  3. The first meeting of the IPCC in Geneva in November 1988. Delegates from many countries agreed to set up an international assessment of the science of climate change, together with its likely impacts and the policy options.

In December 1988 the UK Government announced it was committed to extending its influence internationally to provide information about climate science and to supporting appropriate research. Discussions were held with the Department of the Environment to strengthen climate research at the Met Office. This led, in November 1989, to an announcement of a new centre for climate science research in the Met Office - then called the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research.

Internal link iconOur scientists

Met Office Hadley Centre Climate Programme Met Office Hadley Centre Climate Programme (PDF, 1 MB)  

Met Office Hadley Centre aims to:

  • Understand physical, chemical and biological processes within the climate system and develop computer models of the climate which represent them
  • Use computer models to simulate the differences between global and regional climates, the changes seen over the last 100 years, and to predict changes over the next 100 years
  • Monitor global and national climate variability and change
  • Attribute recent changes in climate to specific factors

We undertake studies of the global climate using similar models of the atmosphere, as are used for the prediction of weather

An independent review of the Met Office Hadley Centre commissioned by Defra and the MoD in 2007 concluded that:

'It is beyond dispute that the Met Office Hadley Centre occupies a position at the pinnacle of world climate science and in translating that science into policy advice.'

Last updated: 26 September 2013

The work of the Met Office Hadley Centre
Stephen Belcher explains the work of the Met Office Hadley Centre.