New climate service launches with helping hand from Reading
07 March 2023
A new government-funded climate information service - which will enable the UK to create, maintain and expand climate data from space - launched today (7 March) in partnership with the University of Reading.
The UK Earth Observation Climate Information Service (EOCIS), led by the National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO, is a new national project funded by the UK government through the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). Earth Observations (EO) from space capture critically valuable measurements of the climate for the UK and worldwide. The EOCIS aims to transform these EO measurements into information usable for world-class science, climate services and decision support for policymakers. Trustworthy data will enable action to be taken on heatwaves, urban flooding and the health of coastal waters. EOCIS will create climate information to increase knowledge about issues ranging from polar ice change, to landscape carbon, to drought impacts on food security.
Building on the UK-wide Space 4 Climate group, the EOCIS consortium involves some of the UK’s most prestigious research institutions for climate and earth systems. NCEO, is the UK’s leading centre for monitoring the climate and environment using satellites. For EOCIS, NCEO scientists based at eight institutions across the UK will be leading research activities together with colleagues from the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), the Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling, the University of Southampton and Bangor University.
Professor Chris Merchant, scientific lead of EOCIS and an NCEO climate data expert at the University of Reading, said: “The EOCIS will enable many talented scientists all across the UK to work together, creating information needed to respond to the climate crisis. The new climate data from EOCIS will be used to better understand growing climate risks and how to respond to them. We’ll see new and better climate data from space, for the UK and the world. And we’ll see innovation around getting that information readily into the hands of people who need to use it.”
The first of its kind in the UK, the programme will deliver up-to-date research leading to critical data for understanding the climate in the UK, regionally and globally. Key datasets produced will include the surface temperature of the UK including cities, the health of our lakes and coastal waters and the productivity and resilience of vegetation. Other research will capture methane change across northern Europe and Asia. UK scientists are world leaders in sea surface temperature, polar ice change, fire emissions and polluting gas concentrations.
EOCIS will maintain and grow the UK’s reputation for excellence in exploiting space for climate science, contributing to the UK’s aspirations as a science superpower. EOCIS will enable the UK to operate its own climate data supply chain and develop new UK-focussed opportunities to support UK science, policy making and the response to UK Net Zero objectives.
NCEO scientists based at the following institutions will be leading research activities for the EOCIS - University of Reading, University of Leicester, Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML), the University of Edinburgh, University of Leeds, University College London, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL), and King’s College London.