Partnership with Met Office will further climate research
30 September 2022
The University of Reading have renewed their partnership with the Met Office as part of an expanded initiative to understand the increasing impacts of extreme weather and climate change.
Through a competitive process, the University has been chosen for the Met Office Academic Partnership (MOAP), which fuses the research excellence of the Met Office and leading UK universities through a formal collaboration to advance the science and skill of weather and climate prediction.
The partnership will embrace the challenges set out in the Met Office’s newly refreshed Research and Innovation strategy.
Dr George Pankiewicz is the Met Office Head of Science Partnership who jointly oversees the partnership. Commenting on the future of MOAP, he said: “Tackling the challenges of high-impact weather and climate can no longer be treated as a single discipline as it increasingly requires involvement from scientists in other sectors including health, technology, artificial intelligence, and the social sciences.
“So, we are developing our academic partnership to bring together the best of UK scientific research. By working with other centres of expertise we can cover topics where the Met Office doesn’t necessarily have an acknowledged expertise.
“A good topical example of how this program is expected to make great advances is in the sphere of heat health. This summer we saw temperature records being broken across the UK. But around the northern hemisphere there were also multiple heatwave events, bringing disruption and societal impacts to many communities.
“The increasing frequency and intensity of heat events is something that humanity will have to increasingly adapt to. Scientists at the Met Office and elsewhere are building the body of research about these events, but we recognise that isn’t sufficient alone to help society rise to future challenges.”
Dr Phil Newton, Dean for Special Projects (Environment), said: “Our long-term partnership with the Met Office is a bedrock of our University, which has delivered many activities of mutual benefit over the past 50 years. We are delighted that the new partnership will enable us to collaborate further with the MOAP partners to support their aims”.
Dr Verity Payne, who is the Met Office’s UK Science Partnership Manager, also jointly oversees the partnership. She added: “We also need to work with scientists 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 of mitigating the worst impacts.
“This will involve integrating lots of different sets of information and data into climate models, aided by the development of novel supercomputers providing more power. Scientists with specialisms in artificial intelligence and machine learning can, in turn, discover profound new ways of analysing data and improving insights.
“The wider the sphere of expertise we can draw upon, the more sophisticated societal response can become.”