A sphere with points of blue and purple light over it signifying data

Transatlantic Data Science Academy

What is the Transatlantic Data Science Academy?  

The mission of the Academy is: “to develop an enabling environment to attract, retain and grow the skilled and diverse workforce needed to realise the potential of a new frontier in Data Science in weather and climate science now and in the future”. 

The Transatlantic Data Science Academy (TDSA) was launched in 2023 by the UK Met Office and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Funded by the UK Government, it is enhancing data science skills to drive forward advances in weather forecasting and climate projections. 

The Academy is developing an international training and skills exchange programme, through shared learning and continuous professional development opportunities. It is  enhancing skills in data science, data engineering, research software engineering and data assimilation – as well as enabling innovation through joint projects exchanges and hackathon-style events.  

We are experiencing more extreme weather around the world, due to climate change. By enhancing our capability to predict storms, floods, heatwaves and droughts, we can help to protect people from the impact of these events, and ultimately save lives.  

Stephen Belcher, Penny Endersby and Michael Morgan launching the Transatlantic Data Science Academy in August 2023The Transatlantic Data Science Academy was launched in summer 2023. Pictured: Professor Stephen Belcher and Professor Penny Endersby of the UK Met Office with Dr Michael Morgan, of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Establishing a Data Assimilation Consortium 

As well developing data science and software engineering skills, making advanced data assimilation will be essential to improving weather forecasts and climate projections. So, NOAA is establishing a multi-university Data Assimilation Consortium in the US.   

The consortium will provide strategic workforce development in data assimilation: fostering collaboration, training and exchange of expertise. The Academy will work with successful applicants to advance data assimilation and support improvements in weather and climate modelling.  

By training the next generation of data assimilation scientists, we will accelerate advances in forecast skill to help tackle the extreme weather challenges facing communities across the globe. 

Kate Huxtable, Met Office Foundation Scientist - Data AssimilationKate Huxtable, Met Office Foundation Scientist - Data Assimilation

Initial exchanges and meetings  

In summer 2023 Kate Huxtable was the first person to do a TSDA exchange, designed to foster bilateral shared learning and help build skills in data science and related fields. Kate spent a summer at the Joint Center for Satellite Data Assimilation (JCSDA) in Boulder, Colorado to collaborate with a partner on differing approaches to data assimilation.  

Tom Hill, Met Office Foundation Scientist - Data AssimilationTom Hill, Met Office Foundation Scientist - Data Assimilation

Tom Hill also did a placement at the JCSDA in autumn 2023 to develop code for a new data assimilation method and build connections with other scientists.  

Academy representatives attended the American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland in early 2024 (see social media post above). They presented an overview of the Academy’s development, including results of initial pilot projects, scoping work by the Met Office Academic Partnership (MOAP), and plans for the coming years. Then Met Office colleagues met with NOAA counterparts in Washington to help shape the future of the Academy.  

Met Office staff met with NOAA colleagues in Washington in February 2024Met Office staff met with NOAA colleagues in Washington in February 2024

Priorities for 2024-25  

The Met Office and NOAA have four key joint activities of work to progress between April 2024 and March 2025:  

  • Exchanges and joint projects: we will offer placement opportunities to Met Office and NOAA staff, as well as selected partners, to foster bilateral exchange of learning and closer collaboration in areas of mutual interest.  

  • Learning and development: we will support staff through the delivery of structured career frameworks, shared training and learning-and-development activities.  

  • Sandpit: we will review existing infrastructure and develop requirements. We’ll run an initial hackathon in summer 2024 related to AI data, and develop a common platform for sharing data sets and software. Through hackathons and joint projects, an understanding will be gained of the software tools and environment needed to build a sustainable sandpit for the Academy.” 

  • Communication – we will promote the opportunities available via the Academy to relevant stakeholders in the UK and US. This includes the promotional video featured on this page, as well as highlighted key updates and events.  

A report, commissioned by the Met Office to scope and shape the TDSA, was published in May 2024. You can read and download the full report via Zenodo. 

Graphic to illustrate the Transatlantic Data Science AcademyThe Transatlantic Data Science Academy is a partnership between the UK Met Office and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.