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UK environmental prediction

The United Kingdom on 07/01/2010, imaged by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument on board the Terra satellite (image credit: NASA/GSFC, MODIS Rapid Response;

The UK Environmental Prediction Initiative project is a Joint Weather and Climate Research Programme (JWCRP), Met Office and National Environmental Research Council (NERC) collaboration that brings together scientists from a number of environmental science organisations to accelerate the pull through and integration of national-scale high resolution environmental prediction capabilities to useful science and service.

It is hypothesised that more accurate prediction and warning of natural hazards, such as of the impacts of severe weather through the environment requires a more integrated approach to forecasting. This might include flooding, drought, storm surge, harmful algal blooms and poor air quality episodes. As the societal impacts of hazardous weather and other environmental pressures grow, the need for a more complete prediction of our complex and interdependent environment is greater than ever to help society make more informed decisions, protecting lives, livelihoods and property, and enabling social and economic prosperity.

To address this need, the Met Office, NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, NERC National Oceanography Centre and Plymouth Marine Laboratory, working under the banner of JWCRP, have begun to develop the foundations of a coupled high resolution probabilistic forecast system for the UK at km-scale. This links together existing model components of the atmosphere, coastal ocean, land surface and hydrology.  Initial progress has been delivered through  Prototype project which  demonstrated the UK coupled prediction concept in research mode. As part of this work, a UK Environmental Prediction system (UKC2) was delivered, incorporating models of the atmosphere (Met Office Unified Model), land surface (JULES), shelf-sea ocean (NEMO) and ocean waves (WAVEWATCHIII®). These components are coupled at unprecedentedly high resolution across the UK and the north-west European regional domain. A research framework has been established to explore the representation of feedback processes in coupled and uncoupled modes, providing a unique new research tool for UK environmental science. Further information on the Prototype project is available in a Research News article

Ongoing work will build on these foundations through Phase 2 work. This aims to consolidate the progress delivered so far and further develop national and international collaborations to exploit this new capability, to deliver new research and pull-through to impact.

Other Met Office research teams contributing to the Prototype project include team working on Coupled Forecasting DevelopmentSurface and sub-surface processesHigh Resolution Model Development and weather forecasting.  


Centre for Ecology & Hydrology

National Oceanography Centre

Plymouth Marine Laboratory

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