This month, we have been looking more closely at adaptation strategies and how the Met Office is working with government, industry and communities, providing actionable science to inform adaptation strategies to prepare for the climate change that is already happening, as well as future climate risk.
The Met Office Hadley Centre is one of the UK’s foremost climate change research centres. Our aim is to provide climate science and services to people and organisations, so they can make better decisions to stay safe and thrive.
We do this by building strong partnerships within the wider climate science community.
These partnerships facilitate the sharing of knowledge, skills and capabilities across closely aligned research and development programmes. By forging innovative partnerships outside traditional discipline boundaries, we can develop the evidence required to inform climate solutions and to address the challenges we face in climate science.
A multi-disciplinary approach to inform real-world solutions
This multi-disciplinary approach is required to understand our changing climate, its impacts and how to minimise these risks. Last year, the Met Office Academic Partnership (MOAP) was expanded to involve universities specialising in other sectors including health, technology, artificial intelligence and social sciences.
Last summer saw temperature records being broken across the UK, but there were also multiple heatwave events, bringing disruption and societal impacts to many communities. One of the priorities MOAP will help the Met Office to advance is around heat health.
Increasing frequency and intensity of heat events is something that society will have to adapt to. Scientists at the Met Office are working with MOAP partners specialising in health and social sciences to understand more about the high-temperature impacts on society, including heat stress and mortality, and to find the best ways to avoid the worst impacts.
Professor Dann Mitchell is the joint MOAP chair at Bristol University – a key partner in the delivery of the heat health aspect of MOAP research. He said: “The impacts of higher temperatures on health are numerous and often feedback on each other in negative ways. They range from immediate impacts, such as direct temperature stress on humans, animals, and ecosystems, to longer-term factors such as decreased cognitive health from persistent exposure to decades of hotter nights.
“To calculate the full health burden of increasing heat on society it is important to carry out research blending traditional climate and weather science with different disciplines such as health science, town planning, and social responses to emergencies.
“Blending these strands together and fusing them into new research is one of the reasons why I am so excited about the momentum and real-world solutions that the academic partnership brings.”
You can find out more about our work in this area is helping society and individuals become more resilient to the health impacts of climate change.
Climate science informing climate solutions
Through a strategic partnership with Esri UK, the Met Office has drawn on expertise beyond our own capabilities to widen the sphere of knowledge to generate a more sophisticated societal response to climate change. By integrating different sets of information and data into climate models, aided by the development of more powerful supercomputers, our scientists with specialisms in artificial intelligence and machine learning can, in turn, discover profound new ways of analysing data and improving insights.
Working with Esri UK, the Met Office has improved access to its climate data and other resources with the recent launch of the Met Office Climate Data Portal to allow organisations, to better understand and respond to climate change risks.
Combining the Met Office’s latest projections with Esri UK’s geospatial tools has greatly extended the reach and value of this data. UK stakeholders can investigate their physical climate risks over the next 50 to 100 years. For example, data on temperature extremes can be used to understand the impacts on transport infrastructure, health and energy demand.
Met Office expertise and authoritative data combined with Esri’s geospatial tools enables complex scientific climate projections to be presented in easy-to-use formats. Spatial analysis can be performed at a global, regional or local level enabling location-specific action plans to be developed to enable organisations to prepare for future impact of extreme conditions on their operations, including heatwaves, floods or droughts.
Professor Jason Lowe, Head of Climate Services at the Met Office commented: “Historically, climate science has defined the problem, now it’s moving to help with the solution, providing information at a local level which is highly relevant to UK organisations,”
Addressing the pressing demand for evidence to inform adaptation action.
The Met Office is working with wider stakeholders in a research partnership created, funded and run jointly by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC), to bridge critical gaps between science and action.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment Report on Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability emphasised the urgent need for adaptation and the critical need for solutions that cut across sectors and systems to address social inequities to enable a more climate-resilient future for everyone. The UK-Canada framework research programme on Climate Adaptation and Resilience, known as CLARE is responding to this challenge getting knowledge and evidence into use to drive socially inclusive, practical and sustainable adaptation action to build resilience to climate change and natural hazards in Africa and Asia-Pacific.
This initiative, primarily funded by UK aid from the UK government along with IDRC, aims to develop new tools and services to support partner governments, communities, and the private sector to use evidence and innovation to drive effective solutions to the climate challenge, whilst building capacity of both those carrying out the research and those using the resulting evidence.
Through long-term commitments and partnerships worldwide, and needs-driven, action-focused research, CLARE links up short-and long-term issues, enabling long-term, sustainable and equitable economic and social development in a changing climate, whilst supporting early action to reduce impacts of climate variability and providing a better understanding of the risks associated with climate.
CLARE includes three core pillars: ‘Research’, commissioning new substantive action-oriented research; ‘Services’ providing timely weather and climate services to inform investments and actions by FCDO, UK government and wider stakeholders; and ‘Partnerships’, supporting strategic alliances on climate science and adaptation such as the Adaptation Research Alliance (ARA) and Climate Risks and Early Warning Systems (CREWS).
The Met Office is the key partner of CLARE ‘Services’, in providing timely weather and climate services to inform investments and actions, and working with universities in Africa to deliver ground-breaking, action-oriented research.
You can follow our #GetClimateReady campaign across our social media channels to find out more about how Met Office science is supporting organisations with data and information in order to adapt to climate change.