Groundbreaking steps forward in scientific climate solutions

Research teams in the UK will unite as part of a novel project to make significant advancements in scientific climate solutions.

Seven Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) centres will work alongside the Met Office under the umbrella of the UK National Climate Science Partnership (UKNCSP). The novel partnership will work towards developing scientific climate solutions.

Acknowledging the necessity of reaching the objectives of the Paris Agreement and UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, UKNCSP will play a vital role in developing an end-to-end climate strategy.

Professor Paul Monks, Chief Scientific Adviser for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), has introduced the collaboration at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP26.

He summarised how the Met Office and the seven NERC-supported research centres will bring together their science research capabilities with universities across the country, explaining how they will integrate the UK’s abilities for monitoring, modelling, and predicting climate change and its effects.

Adapting to pressing challenges

The solution-focused approach led by the UK’s major climate science organisations will assist the government in advancing and evaluating solutions to the challenges of alleviating the impacts of and adjusting to climate change.

The partnership will also work with the public and private sectors to guarantee that decision-makers and businesses have access to the climate information they need. They will have to build resilience and adjust to the pressing challenges of the coming decades.

Dr Iain Williams, NERC’s Director of Strategic Partnerships, said: “As the UK’s leading public funder of environmental science, our centres of expertise are essential to supporting policy and innovation that makes it possible for the environment, people and businesses to succeed together.

“The new UKNCSP maximises investment to help ensure that the UK meets its net zero ambitions and, during the year of COP26, we remain a core part of international efforts to build our understanding of our environment and find solutions to climate change.”

Developing technologies and modelling new approaches

As a core area of focus, post-COP26, the UKNCSP will pool its partnerships’ assets to guarantee the development of aligned and integrated modelling and sustained observing programmes for the evolving global and UK climate.

Other areas of study will be:

  • enhancing the UK’s capability by extending observational and modelling approaches
  • developing the use of new technologies, establishing major programmes of trans-disciplinary research
  • providing training for a new generation of policy and decision-makers and expert intermediaries.

Professor Albert Klein Tank, Director of the Met Office Hadley Centre for Climate Science and Services, added: “Climate science needs to evolve to deliver to the new solutions agenda and this requires collaboration with experts in related science areas, as well as with practitioners in policy, planning and business.

“There is an urgent need for a sustained, coordinated vision and investment in long-term observations and numerical models to answer how the climate is changing and why, what might happen next, what impacts may arise, and which solutions will be most effective.”

A world-leading, strategic partnership

The seven NERC-supported research centres are:

  • British Antarctic Survey
  • British Geological Survey
  • the National Centre for Atmospheric Science
  • the National Centre for Earth Observation
  • the National Oceanography Centre
  • Plymouth Marine Laboratory
  • the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology.

Professor Rowan Sutton, Director of Climate Science at the National Centre for Atmospheric Science, explained: “At a time of rapid climate and technological change, the UKNCSP will enable a new solutions-focused approach by bringing together the UK’s major climate science organisations to deliver the climate information needed for climate solutions.

“By pooling the power of the UK’s wide-ranging capabilities in climate observing and prediction, we can shape a world-leading, strategic partnership that is driven by policy and decision-making needs.”

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