Submission from Professor Paul Hardaker,
Chief Executive, Royal Meteorological Society, the UK's Professional
and Learned Society for Meteorology
I noted from a recent evidence session carried
out under the "Investigating the Oceans" enquiry that
you expressed an interest in the supercomputing capacity available
to the Met Office for modelling and forecasting.
Through the efforts of both the Natural Environment
Research Council and the Met Office, the UK has a world leading
reputation in the field of atmospheric modelling and climate prediction.
I believe that this leading position is important because of the
role of the meteorological community in both the UK's civil contingencies
and in driving forward global and national climate change policy.
Our science and innovation in these areas leads the current levels
of technology investment and our global lead in climate in particular
is being threatened as other countries significantly increase
their supercomputing resources.
At present the current shortfall of our supercomputing
resources is limiting the UK's ability to deliver the benefits
from the investment in the underpinning science. This is particularly
relevant to the climate modelling work that is focusing on both
mitigation and adaptation issues, both of which require a far
greater ability to unravel these complex policy issues at regional
This was highlighted recently in an independent
review of the Met Office's Hadley Centre, which concluded that
although "it is beyond dispute that Hadley occupies a position
at the pinnacle of world climate science, and in translating that
science into valuable policy advice" it also stated that
"world leading climate research is not sustainable over any
reasonable period of time without continued access to supercomputers
amongst the world's fastest". The full report is available
My belief is that investment can come in terms
of both increased financial support and in the greater integration
of existing facilities and the programmes of work that surround
these. The latter, of course, is more practically challenging
but offers significant benefits if it can be effectively achieved.