Globally connected

Weather and climate are global issues which affect everyone, everywhere. As one of the world's leading experts in both areas, the Met Office is equally international in its outlook.

National and international collaborations are an essential part of our work. They enable the sharing of knowledge, expertise and technology to ensure research is carried out efficiently, effectively, and to the highest standard.

Earlier this year the UK's Royal Society, in its report called Knowledge, Networks and Nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st Century, concluded that some of the most pressing global challenges of our time will need strong international collaboration across the whole of the science community.

Professor Sir Chris Llewellyn Smith, who chaired the advisory panel for the report, said: "Global issues, such as climate change, potential pandemics, bio-diversity, and food, water and energy security, need global approaches."

The Met Office has long recognised this and has been steadily increasing its global connections.

Figures show that in 2011 alone, Met Office research papers included contributions from scientists from 49 different countries - a marked increase from 1990 when only 13 countries were involved.

In fact, about 80% of all Met Office peer-reviewed publications in 2010/11 were co-authored with external scientists. The vast majority of these include at least one international author.

Here are a few examples of our how our international collaborations are making an impact in both the UK and globally:

Space Weather

In 2011, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Met Office and NOAA (the US's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) as part of a coordinated US-UK partnership to deliver Space Weather alerts. Anomalies in space weather can disrupt critical infrastructure such as GPS navigation and even power transmission. Collaboration will help to deliver forecasts to warn of these dangers as well as conduct research to develop and improve capabilities.

Unified Model

The Met Office has worked with a number of different organisations around the world to help develop the capability of its Unified Model - a single model which can be used for prediction across a range of timescales (from weather forecasting to climate prediction). Our operational partners now include national meteorological services and research institutes in Australia, Korea, New Zealand, Norway, India and South Africa. The result is that the Met Office and UK now lead a world-leading international research and development partnership focussed to deliver improved models to provide forecasts and advice from days to century timescales. You can read more about collaborations on our UM Model here.

Capacity Building

The Met Office does a great deal of work in international capacity building for climate and weather forecasting around the world. This includes being a key member of the World Meteorological Organization's Voluntary Cooperation Programme, which provides support in the world's least developed countries. There are a host of other capacity building projects, such as the Department for International Development-Met Office Hadley Centre Climate Science Research Partnership (CSRP). This is a three-year programme working with climate centres in Africa to better understand and predict African rainy seasons and near-term climate change in the coming decade. Capacity building is a key part of this work, building links with African scientists and users. We are now establishing a similar long-term partnership with the Singapore Meteorological Service and Singapore universities to build local capability and expertise in order to generate climate scenarios for south-east Asia and Singapore.

You can read more about our collaborations and partnerships on our website.

Globally connected - facts and figures

  • Since 1981, a total of 3259 research papers which include at least one Met Office author have been published. These have been cited by other publications 104,778 times - an average of 32 times per paper.
  • Met Office publications were cited in about 14,000 other papers in 2011 alone - a record year reflecting the continuing growth in citations.
  • Met Office scientists have co-authored papers with scientists from 99 different countries and more than 1600 different institutions since 1981.
  • 80% of Met Office publications in 2010/11 were co-authored with a non-Met Office author.

Last updated: 14 March 2012