Skip to main content

Meteorological Office

Volume 455: debated on Monday 8 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the extent to which the Meteorological Office has achieved value for money exploiting synergies between its weather service and its research on climate change. (110413)

There is significant interdependency between weather forecasting and climate research and significant financial efficiencies are derived from collocation of these programmes within the Met Office. As a result the Met Office has a world leading capability in weather forecasting and climate research.

The Met Office's Unified Model is used for both numerical weather prediction and climate modelling as well as a variety of related research activities, and shared development of the model brings huge benefits to both disciplines.

Significant value for money is also derived by maximising the utilisation of the Met Office's supercomputing capacity. Weather forecasting requires short bursts of supercomputing capacity, allowing climate research activities to be scheduled when the supercomputer would otherwise be idle.

Climate change research also benefits from ready and efficient access to global observational data collected by the Met Office for its global weather forecasting capability and by utilising research of atmospheric processes carried out by the Met Office's research aircraft.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what work the Meteorological Office's Hadley Centre for Climate Change Research undertakes (a) to enable the Government to plan for the impacts of climate change in the UK and (b) to assess the impact of climate change in developing countries; and if he will make a statement. (110414)

The Met Office's Hadley Centre provides advice on the impacts of climate change to a number of Government Departments, including MOD and Defra. The Hadley Centre provided extensive input to the Stern Review about climate impacts and helps develop scenarios of future climate change for the UK Climate Impacts Programme (UKCIP). In addition, the Hadley Centre's model for tides and storm surges in European coastal waters helps the UK improve its plans for protecting against changes in extreme sea levels.

The Hadley Centre also takes a lead in international science, and is central to the production of the forthcoming Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report on "Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability".

The Hadley Centre has developed a regional climate modelling system, Providing Regional Climates for Impacts Studies (PRECIS) that is available free of charge to developing countries, enabling them to produce high resolution climate change scenarios and assess regional vulnerability to climate change. There are currently over 190 users of PRECIS from more than 60 countries worldwide.

The Hadley Centre is expanding its programme of research into the impacts of climate change. The research has both a global and UK focus. The main areas are currently water resources, flood risk, agricultural yields, natural ecosystems, sea level rise and human health.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what targets have been set for savings by the Meteorological Office; and what assessment he has made of the implications of savings measures for the office’s climate change research programme. (109487)

Met Office climate research activities depend on funding from a number of sources, including MOD, through the Government Met Research and Public Weather Service programmes, and Defra.

It is important that MOD regularly reviews its spending plans, balances relative priorities and drives efficiency in public spending. Ministerial decisions on the forward Defence programme will be taken in the first quarter of 2007, and appropriate announcements on the outcome of the planning round will be made in that timeframe.