Sir Bob Kerslake was given a tour of the Met Office in Exeter to see how they use cutting edge science to provide vital information about the weather, natural hazards and climate change.
Sir Bob said:
“It was great to meet the dynamic team at the Met Office and to find out about the fascinating work being done there. The team really are leading the way globally, using cutting edge science and highly sophisticated super computers for forecasting and carrying out world leading research into climate change.
“The information they provide helps us to make informed decisions about the weather and helps key services plan for emergencies for example heavy snowfall or flooding. I was really impressed with the commitment and enthusiasm of the staff I met and their passion for their work.”
Sir Bob heard from scientists how the Met Office work in partnership with 188 other countries to monitor the state of the atmosphere 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They explained how the team works closely with weather and climate experts from around the world to collate information which is then pulled through into the Met Office’s world-leading Unified Model and used to generate weather and climate predictions.
In the 24/7 Operations Centre, Sir Bob met the operational staff interpreting the vast amounts of information generated by the computer models to provide trusted advice which millions of people rely on as part of their everyday life. The emergency services also depend upon this team to provide advice and information to manage and mitigate the impact of severe weather.
Rob Varley, Operations Director at the Met Office, said:
“It was a pleasure to introduce Sir Bob to some of the different civil servants at the heart of what we do.
“Not only did he meet Met Office staff but colleagues from partner organisations like the Environment Agency (EA) and the British Geological Survey (BGS).”
Sir Bob was also interested to hear about the work the Met Office is doing on climate change. The team work with the Department for International Development to help developing countries build capability to prepare for the impacts of severe weather. Closer to home it provides DWP with the evidence it needs to make cold weather payments.
Environment Agency staff sit alongside Met Office staff working together as part of the Flood Forecasting Centre providing warnings to the emergency services on all natural forms of flooding. The BGS and Met Office are two of thirteen members of the new Natural Hazards Partnership which will provide joined-up advice and information for all natural hazards including volcanic ash and space weather.