Unlocking Climate Data Accessibility: UK Met Office Launches Ground-breaking Climate Data Portal

Unlocking Climate Data Accessibility: UK Met Office Launches Ground-breaking Climate Data Portal

The UK Met Office has taken a significant stride toward enhancing climate data accessibility with the introduction of the Climate Data Portal. Targeting a wide range of sectors including government, construction, engineering, land use, urban planning, transport, and energy, this pioneering platform equips organizations with the necessary tools to comprehend and effectively respond to climate change.

Underpinning the Met Office's overarching strategy to optimize data benefits, the Climate Data Portal encompasses an extensive repository of 60 distinct data layers, along with invaluable guidance and information. Powered by state-of-the-art geospatial technology sourced from Esri UK, this innovative portal empowers businesses and governmental bodies alike to seamlessly integrate open climate data with their existing datasets, illuminating the potential ramifications of extreme weather conditions on their operations, such as heatwaves, floods, or droughts.

In a notable shift, climate science has transitioned from merely defining the problem to actively assisting in providing localized solutions that hold tremendous relevance for UK organizations. Professor Jason Lowe, Head of Climate Services at the Met Office, elaborates, "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 UK's geospatial tools, the reach and value of this data are greatly extended."

Through the integration of Met Office expertise, authoritative data, and Esri's cutting-edge geospatial tools, the Climate Data Portal transforms intricate scientific climate projections into easily digestible formats, primed for visualization, analysis within Geographic Information Systems (GIS), non-spatial applications, or seamless integration into business processes, fostering informed decision-making. This spatial analysis can be conducted on a global, regional, or local scale, thereby enabling the development of location-specific action plans.

This ambitious project stems from the longstanding strategic partnership between the Met Office and Esri UK, spanning over two decades. By leveraging Esri UK's geospatial technology, the Met Office bolsters the value and reach of climate data, ensuring UK stakeholders possess the capacity to investigate their physical climate risks spanning the next 50 to 100 years. The most detailed climate projections unveil an increased likelihood of warmer, wetter winters and hotter, drier summers, allowing users to effectively plan and prepare for extreme weather events, climate change, and the regulatory climate reporting that new mandates, linked to climate change, will necessitate.

The utilization of temperature extreme data offers profound insights into the impacts on various sectors such as transport infrastructure, health, and energy demand. For instance:

  1. Days with temperatures exceeding 25°C serve as indicators of potential train disruptions due to overheating of railway infrastructure.
  2. Nights with temperatures surpassing 20°C may induce heat stress, impeding the body's recovery from elevated daytime temperatures.
  3. Days with temperatures below 0°C may lead to transportation disruptions and an upsurge in energy demand for heating purposes.

Moreover, the Climate Data Portal will play a pivotal role in assisting organizations in initiating their response to regulatory climate reporting initiatives such as the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), which is progressively being rolled out across the UK.

Pete Wilkinson, Managing Director of Esri UK, expresses his enthusiasm for this transformative endeavour, stating, "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. Leveraging geospatial technology as a conduit for climate data expedites accessibility and utilization in spatial and temporal analyses, facilitating the identification of high-risk areas and the development of location-specific action plans."

The launch of the Climate Data Portal marks a major milestone in facilitating data-driven decision-making, enabling organizations to navigate the complex landscape of climate change with confidence. The Met Office, in collaboration with Esri UK, is proud to support UK stakeholders in their quest for a more sustainable and resilient future.