New science strategy published: Delivering science with impact
October 2015 - Our new science strategy aims to deliver science with impact, maximising the benefit to society of our weather and climate expertise, and making the most of the UK government's investment in Met Office high performance computing.
World class science
Met Office Science underpins the weather and climate services that we deliver to protect the public, help businesses and advise government. All will need advice and services that help them minimise the risks and exploit the opportunities presented by prior knowledge of what the weather and climate will do.
The success of our service delivery has depended crucially on the world-class science base that has existed in the Met Office for over 40 years. This has enabled the UK to attain a world leading position in weather forecasting, climate prediction and climate change projection, and to sustain a reputation as a premier centre of excellence in weather and climate research. Our scientists are our most precious resource, and we will sustain our mission to make the Met Office an exciting and rewarding environment in which to work, where scientific careers can flourish.
Investment in supercomputing
In 2014 the UK Government announced an investment of £97 million in the next supercomputing facility for the Met Office. This will deliver a transformational change in the operational and research capabilities of the Met Office; it will ensure that the UK has access to the best operational services and policy advice in the coming decade; and it will ensure that the UK's weather, climate and environmental services remain fit for purpose in the decade beyond.
Consequently this strategy is shaped by this step-change in capability and the new opportunities it will offer for ground-breaking research. But as importantly this strategy must also ensure that the science we undertake in the next five years demonstrates real social and economic benefits to justify the investment.
The main drivers for this strategy are therefore focused around ensuring that Met Office science is designed and delivered so that the services we provide continue to:
- save lives and livelihoods and protect critical infrastructure;
- contribute to a more resilient nation, better prepared for weather and climate risk;
- help government and business make wise choices for future investment in adaptation;
- underpin mitigation policies to avoid dangerous climate change;
- support economic growth through better use of weather and climate intelligence.
Admiral Robert FitzRoy, founder of the Met Office
"Man cannot still the raging of the wind, but he can predict it. He cannot appease the storm, but he can escape its violence, and if all the appliances available for the salvation of life [from shipwreck] were but properly employed the effects of these awful visitations might be wonderfully mitigated." - Letter to 'The Times' in 1859 following the loss of the Royal Charter in a storm off the Welsh coast.
Our science programme
In response to the above drivers our science programme will focus on improving our prediction systems across all timescales from hours to decades, and from the global to the local. We will deploy a structured programme of model improvements, greater exploitation of observations, and a drive to deliver more complete estimates of the probabilities of particular outcomes, so that society has more robust and reliable information on the risks associated with particular weather and climate events.
We will accelerate and enhance the pull-through of our deep science base to high value products, services and advice by investing in translational science and scientific consultancy. In turn a greater understanding of customer needs will increasingly provide valuable drivers for our core research priorities.
We will also look forward to what science and services will be required beyond the lifetime of this strategy. We will accelerate the development of new model codes and forecasting systems and increasingly invest in scientific software engineering so that we are prepared to meet the exascale challenge posed by computing platforms of the 2020s.
The scale of resource needed to develop and maintain world-leading weather and climate models and deliver accurate and reliable predictions requires a breadth of expertise that no single centre can encompass. Consequently our Science Partnerships will continue to play a pivotal role in enabling us to access an increasingly broad range of science and technology and in cementing our links across national and international research and service organisations.