The UK’s Met Office has launched the Climate Data Portal, providing organizations with improved access to climate data and other resources, thereby enabling them to better understand and respond to climate change.
Built using geospatial technology from Esri UK, the free resources make it easier for businesses or government organizations to combine open climate data with their own data and reveal the future impact of extreme conditions on their operations, including heatwaves, floods or droughts. The project is part of the strategic partnership between the Met Office and Esri UK who have been working together for more than 20 years.
Combining Met Office expertise and authoritative data with Esri’s geospatial tools, the portal presents complex scientific climate projections in easy-to-use formats, ready to visualize and analyze in GIS and non-spatial applications or integrate into business processes for improved decision making. Spatial analysis can be performed at a global, regional or local level enabling location-specific action plans to be developed.
The Climate Data Portal also makes it easy to export data sets in easy-to-use formats. Professor Jason Lowe OBE, Head of Climate Services at the Met Office, said, “Historically, climate science has defined the problem, now it’s moving to help with the solution, providing information at a local level which is highly relevant to UK organizations.
“By combining the Met Office’s latest projections with Esri’s geospatial tools, the reach and value of this data is greatly extended. UK stakeholders can investigate their physical climate risks over the next 50 to 100 years. The most detailed climate projections reveal a greater chance of warmer, wetter winters and hotter, drier summers and these help users plan and prepare for extreme weather, climate change and the reporting, which new regulations, linked to climate change, will require.”
Part of the Met Office’s wider strategy is to maximize accessibility to Met Office data to get essential weather and climate data into the hands of those that need it. The Met Office Climate Data Portal contains over 60 different data layers, guidance and applications.
Data on the portal can be used to inform the impacts of climate change. Data on temperature extremes can be used to understand the impacts on transport infrastructure, health and energy demand.
Ian Cameron, Met Office markets director, said, “The Met Office Climate Data Portal is a vital progression to put our pioneering science data in the hands of the people who need it, in a format that is most useful to them, to enable people to make better decisions to stay safe and thrive. As a globally recognized climate science organization it’s crucial that we work proactively with partners to provide expert Met Office data and information where they want to access it.
“There are numerous industries that use Esri GIS software, so it is significant that they wanted the best environmental data available to make better decisions for their sectors to thrive in a changing climate.”
The main users of the new portal are expected to be within government, insurance, transportation, energy, land use, urban planning and healthcare industries. Data on temperature extremes, for example, can be used to understand the impact of future heatwaves on transportation infrastructure.
Pete Wilkinson, managing director of Esri UK, said, “The Climate Data Portal is a giant step forward in making climate data more usable for UK stakeholders. Climate change presents a major challenge and this challenge is a geographic one. Using geospatial technology as a delivery mechanism for climate data makes it quickly accessible and usable in spatial and temporal analysis, helping to identify at-risk areas and develop location-specific action plans.”
Stephen Belcher, chief of science and technology at the Met Office, said, “Human-induced climate change is having more and more impact on our lives, and it is crucial that new technologies, such as data integration tools, are harnessed to make sure the insights from science are getting into the hands of people who make decisions.”
The Climate Data Portal project is part of the Hadley Centre Climate Programme (HCCP) and is, in part, funded by the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) and supports the work of the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) and other UK government departments.