Met Office Hadley Centre Climate Programme

The effects of climate change are already clear, both in the UK and worldwide.

These effects include:

  • Warming of land, ocean and atmosphere
  • Increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events
  • Melting snow and ice
  • Rising sea levels

These effects are already evident globally across human communities and natural systems. The poor and most vulnerable are at greatest risk from impacts.

The Paris Agreement, signed in 2015, marked a turning point in international climate negotiations. 195 governments, as parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, agreed to take collective global action to tackle climate change. Under the agreement, countries have committed to limiting global warming to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels. Efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C, increase measures to adapt to climate change, and provide enhanced support to developing countries were also agreed.

The latest assessments from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change show that warming of the climate system is unequivocal. Human activities are the dominant cause of warming since the mid-20th century. The second UK Climate Change Risk Assessment Evidence Report, published in 2017, set out 56 climate change risks and opportunities that the UK faces, with six key areas of urgent risk. This report fundamentally changed the focus of the UK Government's climate evidence. That climate change is happening no longer needs to be proven. Instead, there is a growing need to understand the nature of this change to inform mitigation efforts and resilience planning.

Robust, impartial and targeted climate science is essential for understanding and managing the risks of climate change. It's important to find opportunities, trade-offs or co-benefits of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and limiting warming. We refer to this as 'mitigation'. At the same time, and of equal importance, we need to consider ways to increase resilience and reduce vulnerability to unavoidable climate impacts. This is referred to as 'adaptation'.

What does the Met Office Hadley Centre Climate Programme do?

The Met Office Hadley Centre Climate Programme undertakes scientifically excellent research. Our research benefits UK climate science and develops the core UK climate science infrastructure. We have significant collaborations with academic partners in the UK and internationally. MOHCCP research also contributes to major international climate science initiatives such as IPCC reports.

The programme serves the UK Government by providing timely and policy-relevant scientific evidence and advice.

The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) support the MOHCCP. 

The MOHCCP builds on successful developments from previous programmes. This includes:

  • New techniques for attribution of extreme weather events
  • HadGEM3, a new physical climate model
  • UKESM1, a new Earth System Model

HadGEM3 and UKESM1 form the UK’s contribution to the latest Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP6).

By using high performance computing, the programme will:

  • Advance the prediction and projection of global and regional climate change, with greater focus on climate-induced risks and impacts.
  • Provide authoritative scientific advice on the benefits and risks associated with different levels of global warming.
  • Develop prediction and monitoring systems for the rapid delivery of advice to Government. This advice is critical before, during and in the aftermath of extreme climatic events, which affect the UK and other regions of the world.

Met Office Hadley Centre Climate Programme key questions

There are four key questions that the UK Government has agreed the climate science community need to answer over the next five years and beyond.

1. Current weather and climate risks

  • What are the current weather and climate risks in the UK and globally?

2. Future weather and climate risks

  • What are the future risks we face from weather and climate, under a range of possible scenarios?

3. Avoiding the impacts of climate change

  • How can we avoid the most dangerous impacts of climate change?

4. Different amounts of future warming

  • What are the impacts and opportunities of limiting warming to different warming targets?

The 2018-21 work plan focuses on the four questions. The Met Office Hadley Centre will play a vital role in answering them, working with national and international partners.