A flood warning sign erected on a water-logged road

Climate Service UK

Throughout history society has faced risks arising from natural variations in climate. Today, we face additional challenges from human-induced climate change. However, with our expanding knowledge of climate science, ever-improving climate forecasts, and growing understanding of how climate hazards impact society and the environment, we are now able to be more strategic in our response to climate-related risks and opportunities.

The need for information and tools to enable both the UK and wider world to cope is real and urgent. Climate Service UK addresses this need by offering expert advice, bespoke climate information, value-added services and solutions to help build capacity in developing countries.

Climate Service UK - a national framework for climate services

Michel Jarraud, Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization explains the importance of national frameworks: "National frameworks for climate services are vital for empowering decision-makers to respond to the risks and opportunities of climate variability and change."

Climate Service UK will:

  • Draw on the necessary expertise to meet the needs of society and its decision makers, both in the UK and overseas.
  • Support timely, far-sighted and well-informed decisions to address the risks and opportunities posed by a varying and changing climate.
  • Promote sustainable growth in the face of extreme weather and climate challenges.

Through Climate Service UK, the Met Office will support climate-smart decisions to make society climate-resilient, meet international capacity development objectives, and provide a framework for ensuring that public investment in climate science can be used to maximum effect.

Edward Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, is confident that Climate Service UK will make the most of world-leading climate knowledge here in the UK and further afield. He said: "Climate Service UK builds on a foundation of world-leading science and I'm sure will become an essential framework for advising on the risks and opportunities of a changing climate."

Examples of Met Office climate services include:

Climate information

  • The Met Office's National Climate Information Centre (NCIC) - an accessible catalogue of UK weather and climate information going back hundreds of years, used by technical experts as well as the general public as a definitive source of historic climate information for the UK.
  • The Hunger and Climate Vulnerability Index produced by climate scientists from the Met Office Hadley Centre working with World Food Programme experts.
  • The Met Office's work with Egypt's Nile Forecasting Centre through the Danish Hydrological Institute has created climatological and hydrological tools and provided the necessary information to help water management in the Nile Basin.

Value-added services

  • The Regional Climate Change Tool is a new prototype online application developed for the Ministry of Defence now available to all government departments for viewing climate change projections. The tool helps to visualise regional changes in climate by region across the globe.

Expert advice

  • As delivered for Britain's National Rail Network to guide climate-informed decision-making for strategic investment, works maintenance, contingency planning and day-to-day operations in future decades.
  • A partnership involving the Department for International Development (DFID) and the Met Office Hadley Centre is working with African stakeholders to advance scientific understanding of African climate now and in the future and apply the latest science.

Capacity development

  • Such as through building climate capabilities in conjunction with Singapore's National Meteorological Service and National Environment Agency.
  • PRECIS, the regional climate modelling system designed to run on a Linux based PC that can be easily applied to any area of the globe to generate detailed climate change information. PRECIS, and associated training, has been used by over 70 developing countries to conduct their own climate simulations to help them with their climate change adaptation decisions.

Why do we need Climate Service UK?

Advice is needed worldwide to support decisions on managing exposure to climate variability and change. Recognising this need, the World Meteorological Organization and other United Nations agencies have created the Global Framework for Climate Services with strong engagement from users, donors and providers worldwide. This Global Framework will ensure climate information is used in decision-making effectively, at global, regional and national levels.

The UK has world-class capabilities and close interactions between the Met Office, research councils, universities, stakeholders and end users both at home and overseas. The UK therefore has the opportunity to take a world-leading role to develop and deliver climate services. For example, the Met Office already provides services globally, regionally and nationally (for the UK and for other nations) based on strong collaborations and will develop these further, particularly to draw on multidisciplinary expertise to support decision-makers.

Related pages