200. Data from observations has traditionally been
used to track changes but it is increasingly being used for modelling
future scenarios. These models can then be tested against real-life
events and the results fed back into the model to improve their
accuracy. In this way, scientists aim to be able to predict the
future and model how different actions might affect it. Models
in use or development at the moment include a Defra-funded £11m
pa research programme with the Hadley Centre. Ocean modelling
is an important component of this state-of-the-art climate model
which is being developed and run to inform policies to address
The Met Office also creates "complex models of the Earth
System which are used to make weather forecasts, seasonal forecasts
and to simulate the Earth's climate and changes in its climate".
Within these models, there are separate model components to simulate
the atmosphere, the oceans, sea-ice, land vegetation and other
components of the environment.
201. Access to these models by scientists and collaboration
in their development is an important factor in their effectiveness.
The Met Office told us that its policy was to enable NERC staff
to contribute to the scientific development of these models and
to have access to them for scientific experiments and evaluation.
We commend collaborations on modelling, such as those between
NERC scientists and the Hadley Centre and Met Office. We note
that it is also important to simulate alternative future economic
scenarios. This has been the basis of several IPCC predictions
for climate change and the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment that
looked at how global and regional biodiversity is likely to be
influenced by future development patterns. Economic predictions
underpinned the Stern Report on climate change, and a similar
approach might be considered for the UK's marine environment.