Storm waves crashing against a harbour wall

Avoiding the impacts of climate change

In the 2015 ‘Paris Agreement’, countries committed to limiting global warming to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels. They will also pursue efforts to limit this to 1.5°C. Some warming is inevitable due to historical emissions. The amount of further warming we could avoid depends on our ability to cut emissions. To achieve this, we need to calculate how much carbon is left to emit under these limits. We must also understand which actions are most effective at minimising future emissions.

Some of the key questions we are trying to answer are:

  • What global carbon budgets and emission pathways are compatible with different levels of warming?

  • What is the required scale and rate of emissions reduction needed to stay below these levels?

  • When do we need to deliver net zero emissions by within these targets?

  • What is the effect of delaying mitigation actions?

  • What are the consequences if we overshoot temperatures? What will the physical impacts be and is there potential for irreversible changes?

How do we answer these questions?

We produce a range of deliverables to help answer this question. Our verbal and written advice includes briefings, reports, expert reviews, model development, and website content.

Here are some of the main things we deliver:

Support for UNFCCC COP

Each year, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) holds an annual action summit on climate change, the Conference of the Parties (COP) meeting. Delegates from around the world come together to discuss the science of climate change. They lay out their own countries’ plans and ambitions to meet climate targets and explore possible solutions. The Met Office provides support to this important conference.

The Met Office website

We update the climate science pages of Met Office website. This includes a central resource that ties together information on extreme weather events.

Thresholds and tipping points

We provide updated assessments of tipping points and thresholds in the climate system.

Updates to climate models

UKESM1 and HadGEM3-GC3.1 are two state-of-the-art climate models. We use these to study the Earth-system and climate. They are both the result of years of work, featuring a host of advances over previous models.

Research from the Met Office Hadley Centre

Scientists at the Met Office Hadley Centre also publish papers in leading scientific journals. The team collaborates with other institutes from around the world.

Names in bold are lead authors from the Met Office.

2020 papers

2019 papers

2018 papers