UK National Climate Science Partnership (UKNCSP)

The UK’s leading climate science organisations are joining forces to develop a new national alliance focused on climate solutions for society. Seven Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) supported centres andOcean and Climate: we use global-scale modelling at the National Oceanography Centre to understand how storage and transport of heat by the oceans will influence climate change. the Met Office will work together as the new UK National Climate Science Partnership (UKNCSP) to respond to threats posed by a rapidly changing climate by putting climate science at the forefront of the solutions agenda.

Aim of the partnership: 

Investment in science and computing has made the UK a world leader in climate change research, but as we see from recent extreme weather events worldwide, understanding and predicting climate change is not enough. To respond to the threats posed by a rapidly changing climate, climate science needs to move from defining the problem to enabling solutions. 

The new UK National Climate Science Partnership (UKNCSP) will provide the foundations to enable the UK to be a global leader in climate science for climate solutions to tackle climate change and its impacts.

We will do this by combining the UK’s wide-ranging capabilities in climate observing and prediction to shape a world-leading, strategic partnership that will work with the public and private sectors to ensure decision-makers and businesses have access to the climate information they need, in order to build urgent resilience and adapt to the pressing challenges of the coming decades.

What will the partnership do? 

·   Play a leading role in the development of climate solutions, by connecting climate data and analysis of climate vulnerabilities, impacts and risks to inform the assessment of policy options, making climate science relevant and meaningful for policy impact.

·   Support UK government and society in the development of climate solutions that will address the global challenges of climate change through innovation in mitigation and adaptation.  

·   Enable UK businesses to respond to the challenges and opportunities of climate change, by providing quantitative information about the potential impacts of climate change on their assets and operations, as well as the associated risks. This will grow the green economy and create jobs, for example through UK leadership and innovation in climate services.

·   Support the UK science community to maintain its world-leading status and influence in international programmes and in the application of science to climate policy and decision making, protecting the UK’s authoritative position in international negotiations.

How is the Partnership different from other collaborations?

The Met Office and NERC Centres have a long history of productive collaboration in numerical modelling. This new partnership will build on these strong foundations to integrate key observational capabilities with climate models in order to more effectively monitor, model and predict the evolving UK and global climate, and emerging impacts of climate change.

Climate science must also reach out beyond its traditional disciplines to collaborate with experts in many other scientific fields – such as hydrology, agriculture, economics and human behaviour – and with practitioners in policy, planning and business. The UKNCSP will therefore build much broader multidisciplinary partnerships that are required to meet emerging needs for climate policy advice and solutions, addressing the challenges of net-zero and building a climate-resilient United Kingdom.  

How will the Partnership work?

The seven Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) supported research centres and the Met Office will work together as the new UK National Climate Science Partnership (UKNCSP). Responding to threats posed by a rapidly changing climate, the UKNCSP will provide a co-ordinated national capability in climate science needed to inform climate solutions across society. 

Recognising the urgency of accelerating climate action to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement and UN Convention on Climate Change, Professor Paul Monks, Chief Scientific Adviser for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), introduced the partnership at the Met Office’s Future of climate modelling session at COP26 in Glasgow. 

Professor Monks outlined how the Met Office and seven NERC-supported research centres will combine and develop their climate science research capabilities with universities across the country to encompass the entirety of climate science – identifying the causes and impacts of climate change, and making predictions for the coming decades.

Priorities

The UKNCSP will extend observational and modelling approaches to monitor and predict the impacts of climate change on the UK’s natural and built environments, on human activities and on lower-and middle-income countries. 

Developing the use of new technologies to make the increasing volumes of climate data readily accessible to subject experts involved in climate-sensitive decision-making across society will also be at the heart of the UKNCSP. 

In addition to establishing major programmes of multi-disciplinary research and training for a new generation of policy and decision-makers and expert intermediaries.

Funding

Initial funding from the partnership comes from the Met Office and NERC Centres aligning relevant National Capability activities to address the shared goals of the NCSP.  As the partnership develops, the partners will seek opportunities to fund new projects from public and private sector sources.

The Partners

Met Office

The UK’s National Meteorological Service, providing 24x7 world-renowned scientific excellence in weather, climate and environmental forecasts and severe weather warnings for the protection of life and property. www.metoffice.gov.uk 

The Met Office Hadley Centre for Climate Science and Services provides world-class guidance on the science of climate change and is the primary focus in the UK for climate science. Its work is, in part, jointly funded by BEIS (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) and DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs).  

NERC-supported research centres:

British Antarctic Survey 

Delivers a portfolio of ‘National Capability Science’ activities that provide the backbone for UK polar science. Our programmes of Sustained Observation focus on crucial Earth System indicators in Antarctica. These are vital to the UK and global scientific effort to understand our changing world.

British Geological Survey (BGS)

A world-leading geological survey and global geoscience organisation, focused on public-good science for government and research to understand earth and environmental processes.

The UK’s premier provider of objective and authoritative geoscientific data, information and knowledge, BGS helps society to use its natural resources responsibly, manage environmental change and be resilient to environmental hazards.

National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS)

A world-leading research centre, dedicated to the advancement of atmospheric science. Our research falls into three key areas. These are air pollution, climate and high-impact weather and long-term global changes in our atmosphere. We play a significant and influential role in many international science programmes and provide advice, leadership and national capability in atmospheric science. 

NCAS provides the UK with state-of-the-art services for observing and modelling the atmosphere includes a research aircraft, advanced ground-based observational facilities, computer modelling and support, and facilities for storing and analysing data

National Centre for Earth Observation

The National Centre for Earth Observation provides the UK with core expertise in Earth Observation science, data sets and merging techniques, and model evaluation to underpin Earth System research and the UK’s international contribution to environmental science. With more than 100 scientists distributed across leading UK universities and research organisations, its internationally leading research delivers long-term, rigorous, climate data sets from satellites in space, new observation of climate processes and leadership of major, international satellite missions.

Plymouth Marine Laboratory 

Plymouth Marine Laboratory is an International Centre of Excellence in Marine Science & Technology. It carries out innovative and timely fundamental, strategic and applied research in the marine environment from the uppermost reaches of estuaries to the open ocean.

PML is an independent, impartial provider of scientific research in the marine environment, with a focus on understanding biodiversity and ecosystem function, biogeochemical cycling, pollution and health, towards forecasting the role of the oceans in the Earth System.

The National Oceanography Centre (NOC) 

The UK’s leading institution for integrated coastal and deep ocean research. NOC undertakes and facilitates world-class agenda-setting scientific research and technology development to understand the global ocean by solving challenging multidisciplinary, large scale, long-term marine science problems to underpin international and UK public policy, business and societal outcomes. 

UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH)

A centre for excellence in environmental science across water, land and air. Our 500 scientists work to understand the environment, how it sustains life and the human impact on it – so that together, people and nature can prosper.

We have a long history of investigating, monitoring and modelling environmental change, and our science makes a positive difference in the world.

UKCEH brings unique expertise in assessing and quantifying the current and projected effects of climate change on ecosystems and the water cycle, including plant and animal species distribution, as well as the likely occurrence and severity of future floods and droughts.