Planet under pressure

Natural variations in the climate and longer-term changes due to human activities are increasingly affecting us and the environment we live in

The 2012 conference provided a comprehensive update on the understanding of the Earth system, the pressure our planet is now under and a vision for the future

Planet Under Pressure 2012 brought together some of the world's leading climate scientists ahead of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20). Some of our scientists were invited to speak about climate projections, impacts and adaptation.

Climate service

Natural variations in the climate and longer-term changes due to human activities are increasingly affecting us and the environment we live in, such as the availability of fresh water, food security, our health, and social and economic infrastructures. Tackling these issues to ensure that society is sufficiently resilient and prepared requires the development and delivery of operational climate services - climate information prepared, interpreted and delivered to meet society's needs.

The Met Office is the UK's national weather service and a centre of excellence in weather and climate science. It is our job to provide information that allows decision-making on all timescales - from whether or not to take an umbrella to work, to how best to invest in large infrastructure projects, given the projected changes in climate this century and beyond.

By dealing with weather and climate as a combined entity and using much of the same science, we are uniquely placed to forecast today's weather and the future climate as part of a seamless service.

To do so, we call upon the brightest scientific minds, both here at the Met Office and through collaborations with experts across the globe.

Our capabilities allow us to support the UK, and the international community, in ways far beyond the weather forecasts that make us a household name. Our skill in turning weather and climate science into services is recognised around the world. As the World Meteorological Organization prepares to embark upon a Global Framework for Climate Services, we will share our knowledge and expertise with others.

These case studies provide an insight into what we currently do and the services that we can already provide.

Core capabilities - Observations and monitoring Core capabilities - Observations and monitoring (PDF, 197 kB)

Core capabilities - Met Office Hadley Centre Core capabilities - Met Office Hadley Centre (PDF, 364 kB)

Water - Adapting to climate-change induced water stress in the Nile Basin Water - Adapting to climate-change induced water stress in the Nile Basin (PDF, 360 kB)

Food - Food insecurity and climate change Food - Food insecurity and climate change (PDF, 1 MB)

Health - Urban heat islands Health - Urban heat islands (PDF, 386 kB)

Energy - Assessing the potential impact of climate change on the UK’s electricity network Energy - Assessing the potential impact of climate change on the UK's electricity network (PDF, 365 kB)

Capacity building - Building the climate capability of the Meteorological Service Singapore Capacity building - Building the climate capability of the Meteorological Service Singapore (PDF, 216 kB)

Business - Weathering the storm Business - Weathering the storm (PDF, 734 kB)

Civil contingencies - Providing forecasts for national emergencies Civil contingencies - Providing forecasts for national emergencies (PDF, 500 kB)

Adaptation - Thames Estuary 2100 project Adaptation - Thamas Estuary 2100 project (PDF, 392 kB)

Further information on the event Planet under pressure 2012 or our Climate services

Climate science

Some level of climate change is now inevitable over the coming decades. This is already adding to the stresses faced by societies vulnerable to hazardous weather and natural vagaries of climate. The world's increasing vulnerability demands greater preparedness and resilience now. To help plan for and adapt to climate variability and change, information is needed on global, regional and local scales and for lead-times of months to years ahead.

At the Met Office, science is at the heart of everything we do. We take the time to understand how all our customers, in government and business, are sensitive to the weather and climate now, and how their sensitivity may change in the future. Our climate science is underpinned by the Met Office Hadley Centre, which delivers world-leading science advice to the UK Government to guide policymaking and international negotiations.

A key area of development for us is the delivery of a seamless operational forecasting service from weeks to decades ahead. This is already providing unprecedented detail at regional and local scales,
and is made possible through advances in our science as well as progress in technology and computing power.

Using valuable information from these probabilistic forecasting systems, we help our customers make better informed risk-based decisions.

Last updated: 2 October 2013