Science and Technology CommitteeSupplementary written evidence submitted by the Met Office (CLC068)

In our written evidence and in the oral evidence session in September we informed the Committee we had seen an increase in the level of interest shown by the public in climate related science. The Committee asked us to provide further evidence in support of that statement.

The Met Office has a number of routes through which the public can access information and engage directly when they have specific questions and the following tables provide details on the numbers of enquiries received through each.

1. Traditional communication routes remain popular and, as shown in the following tables, we have seen a steady increase in the number of enquiries received by letter, email, fax and telephone about climate and climate science over the last few years. In addition we have seen a rise in the number of requests presented under the FOI and EIR Acts.

TELEPHONE/LETTER/EMAIL/FAX ENQUIRIES

April 2011 to
March 2012

April 2012 to
March 2013

April 2013 to
August 2013

Total number received

255

279

206

Average per month

21

23

41

FOI/EIR REQUESTS

2011

2012

2013 (to August)

Climate related requests

4

11

15

2. Social media provides increasingly important channels through which the Met Office can connect directly with the public. We provide a range of information, videos and blogs across a number of social media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

Website

We are continually collecting feedback from the public on ease of navigation of our website, how useful they find the content and what they would like to see. In addition to accessing our website directly, the public are also able to access content through an email subscription service designed specifically for the Public Sector and managed by Gov Delivery.

MET OFFICE WEBSITE—CLIMATE PAGES1

2011

2012

2013 (to end August)

Page views

548,696

728,722

536,501

AR5 page (launched 20 Sept)

-

-

662 to 14 October

Blog

The Met Office blog was launched in July 2010 and has proven invaluable as a route to publish rapidly updatable information and to provide commentary on news and stories about the Met Office and our science.

MET OFFICE BLOG (http://metofficenews.wordpress.com/)

2011

2012

2013 (to end August)

Visits to climate posts

518

90361

46460

Comments on climate posts

0

433

298

Twitter

The Met Office started its Twitter feed in 2010 and is used primarily as a customer service tool. In addition to providing alerts of National Severe Weather Warnings, we are able to directly respond to specific questions from the public in as near real-time as possible and have found our following grow year on year.

TWITTER (@metoffice)

2011

2012

2013 (to end August)

Re-tweets and favourites of climate content

0

0

75

Followers (approx at August)

92,000

116,000

144,000

Facebook

The Met Office’s Facebook page complements the blog and allows users to “Like” posts and share them across the other social media channels.

FACEBOOK (http://facebook.com/metoffice)

2011

2012

2013 (to end August)

Interaction with climate content

11

32

65

YouTube

The Met office has several pieces of video content on YouTube around the subject of climate and climate change. The two highest profile pieces are What is climate? and What is climate change? The following table provides viewing figures for climate related content broken down by video.

Videos

2011

2012

2013 (to end August)

AVOID symposium2

n/a

n/a

1,700

Importance of satellite imagery in predicting climate in the polar regions

n/a

n/a

512

The work of the Met office Hadley Centre (video1)

693

330

205

The work of the Met office Hadley Centre (video2)

n/a

348

405

What is climate

7,767

14,510

7,636

What is climate change

3,262

8,665

9,772

How does the climate system work

n/a

5,799

9,318

How do climate models work

n/a

1,225

417

Total

11,722

30,877

29,965

Recognition of Social Media Engagement

The Met Office’s continued and successful engagement with social media has been recognised by a number of awards:

In February 2011, the Met Office received an “Excellence in Communication” award from Gov Delivery.

In November 2011, and as the result of a public vote, the Met Office won the IBM sponsored “Best Use of Social Media in the Public Sector Award” in the Computer Weekly Social Media Awards in recognition of our work in using social media to reach the public with the latest weather and climate information when it matters.

In November 2012 the Met Office won the Social Buzz Award for Best Public Sector Social Media Strategy in recognition of our strategy to utilise social media to place ourselves at the centre of online conversations about weather and climate.

1 http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate-guide

2 The AVOID final symposium took place on 12 February 2013 to showcase programme research results to high-level Government policymakers, senior researchers, and key representatives from research bodies and the business world. AVOID is a UK research programme funded by DECC/Defra and led by the Met Office in a consortium with the Walker Institute, Tyndall Centre and Grantham Institute.

Prepared 1st April 2014