Teams from the UKCEH and the Met Office met recently for a half-day science workshop...

The UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH) and Met Office have a long and trusted relationship of working together across a broad range of topics. UKCEH provides the UK Hydrological Advisor at meetings of the World Meteorological Organization, and the two organisations both contribute to the Natural Hazards Partnership and the Flood Forecasting Centre. Scientists at both centres collaborate on land surface science to develop modelling systems such as the Joint UK Land Environment Simulator (JULES) and Hydro-JULES. UKCEH will also be contributing to the interface between LFRic and JULES for the Met Office’s Next Generation Modelling System.

On 7 March 2023, a small Met Office delegation led by Sean Milton (Associate Director of Foundation Science) and including Martin Best, George Pankiewicz, Verity Payne and Jenn Brooke travelled to Wallingford for a half-day science workshop. Topics covered included opportunities for developing integrated hydrology with Hydro-JULES and Regional Environmental Prediction (REP); better exchange and use of UKCEH and Met Office datasets; monitoring of greenhouse gases; earth system modelling under the Natural Environment Research Council-funded TerraFirma project; and opportunities to align international partnerships.

The UKCEH team was led by Doug Wilson (Director of Science) and included Nick Reynard, Simon Dadson, Eleanor Blyth, Doug Clark, Matt Fry, Harry Dixon, Alan Jenkins and Anita Petrie. UKCEH and Met Office teams were also joined online by Huw Lewis, Segolene Berthou, Andy Wiltshire, Matt Hort, Alistair Manning and Jon Taylor (Met Office), and Steve Cole, Nick Wells, Eiko Nemitz, Pete Levy and Garry Hayman (UKCEH).

A small number of actions were agreed to re-affirm existing collaborations, exploit new opportunities (eg, data sharing), and improve the ways the two organisations work together. These included:

  • Improved sharing and alignment of plans on Hydro-JULES, REP and other projects, through Martin Best and Simon Dadson connecting on a regular basis;
  • Connecting the National Capability portfolios between the two organisations, with Sean Milton and Eleanor Blyth providing some recommendations;
  • Agreement that we share and use each other’s data to maximise their benefit, with an initial plan for Martin Best to provide details of Met Office use cases for land cover datasets and look at differences as a result of UKCEH’s annual updates, and for Met Office to make use of flux tower measurements and soil moisture (COSMOS-UK) measurements to evaluate key processed in global and regional models.
  • Identifying opportunities based on our common need to recruit and retain research software engineers.

The group agreed to review progress on these actions and to identify future opportunities of working together. These might include joint investment through the Environment Agency’s Flood and Coastal Resilience Innovation Programme; developing a longer-term plan for the UK Climate Change Risk Assessment, eg, CCRA5; and the potential for joint work in the international arena.