Unified Model Partnership

The Unified Model Partnership is a global enterprise consisting of a small number of operational and research centres that use and develop a world leading seamless modelling system for weather and climate applications.

Aims and benefits

The Unified Model (UM) is a suite of earth system modelling software used for weather and climate modelling applications. The UM Partnership enables scientific and technical collaboration on a shared modelling system, across a range of modelling and science issues relevant for weather and climate prediction. Working together reduces the cost and increases efficiency of the development through shared scientific and technical knowledge and development. It leverages science and technical effort beyond that possible from a single organisation.

"If you look at our numerical weather prediction performance, you can see a very distinct step change in the reliability of our warnings. For instance, when there was severe flooding in Victoria, warnings were issued five days in advance - a timeframe that would only have been dreamt of ten years before." Peter May, Assistant Director of Research & Development at the Bureau of Meteorology, 2014

Early successes

Built on a number of operational centres using the UM in 2008, the first priority for the UM Partnership agreed in 2014 was to develop a common technical infrastructure, allowing scientists and software engineers to use common development tools. One new tool built for the purpose of running and monitoring complex modelling suites is Cylc, originally developed at NIWA, and now an Open Source collaboration involving NIWA, Met Office, and others.
 
Rose is another tool developed in the early days of the UM Partnership aimed at making it easier for users to build, run and manage complex suites. Rose has now been implemented, tested and shared across the UM partnership, reducing the complexity of the use of the UM, and allowing scientists across a wider range of organisations and disciplines to contribute to its development.

Structure

Core and Associate Partners use the UM for operational weather forecasts and climate modelling. They contribute financially and with dedicated human resources to the partnership. The amount of commitment and influence differs between Core and Associate Partners. In addition there are a range of Research Partners in the UK and in our partner countries, which are not involved in real-time operational services. They contribute in various ways to the quality of the UM by using, testing and developing the model for their research activities.

Core Partners

Associate Partners

Australia

Bureau of MeteorologyPhilippinesPAGASA
CSIROPolandICM
India

MoES / NCMRWF

South Africa

SAWS
New ZealandNIWAUnited StatesUS Air Force
South KoreaKMA
United KingdomMet Office

Governance

Strategic directions of the UM Partnership and shared activities are decided by the Core Partners in the UM Partnership Board. The Board manages the use of the UM Partnership fund, defines a joint science and technology programme and prioritises shared work. Associate partners are consulted regarding their needs and interests by the Board. A Technical Advisory Group leads the joint technical infrastructure and advises the UM Partnership Board.

UM_Partnership_Info

Activities

Research and development programmes

The UM Partnership aims to develop the UM in a directed and structured way. Coordinated joint programmes provide the direction of the work undertaken by the UM Partnership. Additional strategic investment projects are used to concentrate resources on joint interests. Active science and technology programmes currently include:

  • Technical infrastructure development with a focus on development of ancillary tools and suites, and coordinated development of observation capability, avoiding duplication of development across the UM Partnership
  • Coordinated model evaluation and development programmes aimed at developing consistent science packages for global and regional modelling around the globe  

In addition to the shared work agreed within the UM Partnership, partner organisations carry out independent research and development. Output from these programmes are shared within the Partnership where possible and help to build common capabilities. The INCOMPASS project involved a large-scale field campaign in India and over adjacent oceans in 2016, together with a programme of computer modelling, with the specific aim of improving predictions of the monsoon. INCOMPASS includes UK and Indian partners, and involves several UM Partners merging their efforts together.

Operational Numerical Weather Prediction

Whilst some UM Partners are capable of running their own global UM for NWP, other have access to real-time datafeeds to drive downstream regional versions of the UM. This service requires partners to be either a national meteorological service or to have contracts with their government to carry out operational forecasting on their behalf.

Collaboration

The UM Partnership is facilitated by our Science Partnerships scientists, through community and relationship management, planning of science and technology, technical infrastructure development, model support and training activities. An annual model workshop, scientist exchanges and partner site visits are used to promote the shared work and to build a globally distributed research and development team. The UM Partnership team can be contacted via UM_collaboration@metoffice.gov.uk.

"Our ACCESS User Training Course is going very well.  The presentations are excellent, and all the participants from across the ACCESS community are really getting a lot out of it." Mike Naughton, Chair UM Partner Technical Advisory Group and Senior Research Scientist, Bureau of Meteorology, 2016

Last updated: 22 September 2016

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