Select Committee on Science and Technology Written Evidence

Memorandum 50

Supplementary evidence from the Met Office following oral evidence session on 16 May 2007

  During oral evidence on 16 May, Dr Mike Bell offered to provide a written response on the sort of marine science research that MoD is looking for from the Met Office.

  MOD funded marine research is carried out in three programmes at the Met Office: the Defence Climate Research Programme (DCRP), which forms part of a much larger Integrated Climate Research Programme that incorporates the Defra Climate Prediction Programme; the Defence Environmental Research and Technology Programme (DERTP); and the Defence Oceanographic Programme (DOP).

  The Climate Research Programme includes research and development of ocean models as components of Earth system models for use in seasonal and decadal predictions and to provide advice on the likelihood, magnitude and patterns of climate change. This includes patterns of sea level rise and effects of climate change on shelf seas.

  The DERTP includes a range of research and development activities in the marine area that have potential or specific application to military operations. These activities both underpin the basic science (e.g. water clarity) and engage with stakeholders to demonstrate the application of ocean models to military decision making, for example through the development of improved water column visibility products for underwater operations.

  The DOP supports research and development of the Met Office's ocean forecasting systems that are used to provide operational weather forecasts for the Navy through the Fleet Weather and Oceanographic Centre (FWOC) at Northwood. In the past this research and development was focussed on the conditions which affect sound propagation, particularly the depth of the layer of nearly uniform temperature near the ocean surface and the forecasting of temperature fronts and eddies. More recently the focus has been on near-shore waters including near-shore waves and water clarity.

  In the case of DCRP and DERTP, MOD's requirements are formulated by the Research Acquisition Organisation (RAO). These requirements originate from a range of MOD stakeholders, including various Equipment Capability Customer areas, frontline Commands and, for the DCRP, policy areas.

  Funding for the requirements formulated by the RAO is currently channelled through seven Science and Technology Outputs (these are the "pillars" Dr Bell referred to in his oral evidence). Each Output is owned by a high level customer in MOD such as the S&T Director for advice availability and the Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff (Equipment Capability) for advice to capability management. Funding for Met Office ocean R&D is currently channelled through the DERTP and DCRP from three of these seven Outputs. However, during the current financial year the seven Outputs are being re-organised into three channels: enabling research capability, capability planning and management, technology development. Nevertheless, the basic model of funding being channelled to the above Met Office programmes from higher level themes remains unchanged.

  In the case of the DOP, MOD's requirements are formulated by DI ICSP (Defence Intelligence, Intelligence Collection Strategy and Plans) under the Chief of Defence Intelligence. This is informed by regular stakeholder gatherings such as the Forecast Ocean Model Working Group whose membership includes FWOC, Fleet Warfare, Dstl, the Maritime Warfare Centre and ICSP. The Forecast Ocean Model Working Group also oversees the ocean elements of the DERTP ensuring coherence between the programmes.

  All three programmes, the DCRP, the DERTP and the DOP are encapsulated within Customer Supplier Agreements, which define the services required by the customer (expressed in output terms) including quality measures where applicable.

June 2007

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