An external view of the Met Office building at night.

Nicola Golding

Areas of expertise

  • Leading the delivery of climate service projects and programmes in the UK and Internationally.
  • Co-development of climate services using multi-disciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches.
  • Communicating climate risk information to inform policy and decision making.
  • Understanding and improving the critical interface between climate science and decision-makers.
  • Supporting provision of guidance and sharing of good practice through the World Meteorological Organisation.

Current activities

Nicola is a Science Manager in the Climate Services Development team within International Applied Science & Services at the Met Office. The team works with partners and organisations from across the world to co-develop and deliver climate services, helping to address the risks associated with climate variability and change. Nicola's particular focus is on understanding and improving the interface(s) between climate science and decision-making, addressing key barriers such as accessibility, trust, translation, relevance and fit-for-purpose. To do this she is exploring themes of co-production, 'other' forms of knowledge such as traditional knowledge, and exploring innovative use of narrative and participatory approaches.

Co-production and user engagement

Under the UK Climate Resilience Programme Nicola has led work bringing together learning about co-production from across a range of projects, developing our understanding of what has been conducive to co-production and what barriers have prevented research from benefitting fully from co-production. This work has recently been presented as an insight paper which will shortly be published.

Nicola also leads the Climate Services Work Package under the Climate Science for Services Partnership between the UK and China, where researchers and other key stakeholders are working together to build on the latest climate science and co-develop prototype climate services for agriculture, urban, water and energy sectors. Examples include Co-developing a seasonal rainfall forecast service for the Yangtze River Basin and Building climate resilient food systems.

Traditional Knowledge

Nicola is currently exploring the potential for and value of combining traditional knowledge of weather and climate with modern/western scientific knowledge. She leads a global working group on Traditional Knowledge for Climate Services (TraKCS) where a team of experts bring together knowledge, experience and resources on this topic and are seeking to provide accessible and simple guidance and case studies to enable the more effective bringing together of knowledge for improved resilience and adaptation. Nicola is also exploring the use of traditional knowledge by rural economies in the south west of the UK for climate resilience by farmers and coastal fishing communities.

Frameworks and guidance for improved climate services

Nicola is co-lead of the World Meteorological Organisation Expert Team on Climate Services for Decision Making. This team is developing guidance on the provision of climate services under National Frameworks for Climate Services, including National Climate Fora, links to Regional Climate Fora, tailoring climate information for decision making, and the design of Climate Risk Management Workshops.

Under the UK Climate Resilience Programme Nicola co-led a consultative project delivering Recommendations for the UK National Framework for Climate Services. This process engaged across the UK Climate Services Community and highlights priority areas for the improved community, exchange and quality of climate services. A Central Hub group are now developing a Road Map for the implementation of the recommendations, including consideration of UK Standards for climate services, professionalisation, network building, and ethics.

Nicola also convenes a group of individuals representing European countries who are actively developing National Frameworks for Climate Services to share informal guidance, learning and support. This group is in the process of capturing this learning to support a wider group of countries in this area.

Career background

Nicola joined the Met Office in January 2011. Prior to this she was Content Developer at the London Science Museum, contributing to the Atmosphere exhibition focused on the complex science behind climate change and our options for adaptation and mitigation responses. 

Nicola also spent time in Australia working at Monash University, CSIRO, and Charles Darwin University building up our knowledge and tools for understanding fire-climate interactions and fire management. She continued this research on joining the Met Office and contributed to research on Amazon fire and dieback, seasonal prediction of European fire risk, and UK Climate Change Risk Assessment fire risk information, and convening two UK-wide wildfire research dialogues. She was science lead for wildfire previously, improving the provision of weather warning information by co-developing bespoke interpretation for more expert decision-makers. She continues to maintain an interest and input to this work through activities led by other Met Office staff and international partners.

Her previous work at the Met Office has also included providing country-based risk information on behalf of the UK government for CoP negotiations, strong partnerships with the Centre for Climate Research Singapore and the development of the Singapore National Climate Projections, and developing guidance for understanding and measuring Socio-economic Benefits of climate services through the Weather and Climate Science for Services Partnership with South Africa.

Nicola graduated in 2007 with a degree from Oxford University in Geography, where she specialised in Climate Change and Variability and Dryland Environments, completing a dissertation on Climate Change and Global Fire Hazards.

Key publications

Golding, N. et al. (2023) Towards a Step Change in Co-production for Climate Resilience, in Quantifying Climate Risk and Building Resilience in the UK’ edited by Dessai et al. In Publication.

Li, S., J. Lu, E. Pope, N. Golding, T. Zhou, F. Li, W. Duan (2022) Influence of multi-timescale precipitation indices on primary tea production in Baoshan, Yunnan, China.  Environ. Res. Commun. 4 

Hewitt, C. D., N. Golding, P. Zhang, T. Dunbar, P. E. Bett, J. Camp, T. D. Mitchell and E. Pope (2020) The process and benefits of developing prototype climate services – Examples in China, Journal of Meteorological Research, 34, 893–903

Wang, Y., L. Song, C. Hewitt, N. Golding and Z. Huang (2020) Improving China’s Resilience to Climate-Related Risks: the China Framework for Climate Services, Weather, Climate and Society, 12, 729–744

Golding, N., C. Hewitt, P. Zhang, M. Liu, J. Zhang, P. Bett (2019) Co-Development of a Seasonal Rainfall Forecast Service: Supporting flood risk management for the Yangtze River Basin. Climate Risk Management 23: 43-49.

Hewitt, C., N. Golding. (2018) Development and Pull-through of Climate Science to Services in China. Adv. Atmos. Sci., 

Bett, P., A. Scaife, C. Li, C. Hewitt, N. Golding, P. Zhang, N. Dunstone, D. Smith, H. Thornton, R.Lu, H.Ren (2018) Seasonal forecasts of the summer 2016 Yangtze River basin rainfall. Adv. Atmos. Sci.

Golding, N., C. Hewitt, P. Zhang. (2017) Effective Engagement for Climate Services: Methods in Practice in China. Climate Services.

Golding, N., C. Hewitt, P. Zhang, X. Fang, P. Bett, S. Nobert, (2016) Improving user engagement and uptake of climate services in China, Climate Services.

Hewitt, C., V. Silva, N. Golding, R. Gao, C. Coelho, R. Duell, J. Pollock, K. Onogi and WMO Secretariat. (2016) Managing Risk with Climate Prediction Products and Services: WMO Bulletin nº : Vol 64 (2)

Bedia, J., N. Golding, et al. (2016) Calibration of Fire Weather Index from seasonal forecast predictions and their potential for operational applicability in Mediterranean Europe. Journal of Geophysical Research.

Betts, R. A., N. Golding, P. Gonzalez, J. Gornall, R. Kahana, G. Kay, L. Mitchell, and A. Wiltshire (2015) Climate and land use change impacts on global terrestrial ecosystems and river flows in the HadGEM2-ES Earth system model using the representative concentration pathways: Biogeosciences, 12, 1317-1338

Contributed to: Settele, J., R. Scholes, R. Betts, S.E. Bunn, P. Leadley, D. Nepstad, J.T. Overpeck, and M.A. Taboada, 2014. Terrestrial and inland water systems. In: Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Part A: Global and Sectoral Aspects. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA, pp. 271-359.

Golding, N. and R. Betts (2008) Fire risk in Amazonia due to climate change in the HadCM3 climate model: Potential interactions with deforestation (2008), Global Biogeochemical Cycles, Vol 22.