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Building resilience: climate solutions for a changing world

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In an era defined by environmental uncertainty, the need to fortify our communities against the impacts of climate change has never been more pressing. Climate resilience – a term often heard in discussions surrounding climate action – refers to humanity’s capacity to adapt and withstand the adverse effects of climate change while maintaining essential functions and minimizing disruption to livelihoods and ecosystems.

But what exactly are climate resilience and climate solutions?

Understanding Climate Resilience: Climate resilience encompasses a spectrum of strategies aimed at softening the risks posed by climate change. It involves building robust infrastructure, implementing sustainable land-use practices, fostering community preparedness, and enhancing ecosystem resilience. Essentially, it’s about future-proofing societies and environments against the challenges of a changing climate.

Defining Climate Solutions: Climate solutions refer to the various interventions, technologies, and policies designed to address climate change and enhance resilience. These solutions span a wide range of sectors, from renewable energy and sustainable agriculture to disaster risk reduction and climate-smart infrastructure. By adopting and scaling up these solutions, society can partially adapt to climate impacts, and build a more sustainable future.

Case Studies: Met Office’s Climate Resilience Initiatives:

  1. Climate Services for Developing Nations: The Met Office, in collaboration with international partners, provides climate services to developing nations to enhance their resilience to climate change. These services include tailored climate information, early warning systems for extreme weather events, and capacity-building initiatives to empower local communities to manage climate risks effectively. By equipping vulnerable regions with the tools and knowledge needed to anticipate and respond to climate impacts, the Met Office is helping build resilience on a global scale.
  2. Climate Change Adaptation in Urban Environments: With rapid urbanisation and population growth, cities face unique challenges in the face of climate change. The Met Office is involved in research and development projects aimed at enhancing climate resilience in urban environments. This includes modelling future climate scenarios, assessing climate risks to infrastructure and communities, and developing adaptation strategies to bolster resilience. By integrating climate considerations into urban planning and infrastructure development, cities can better withstand the impacts of extreme weather events and changing climate patterns.
  3. Enhancing Agricultural Resilience: Agriculture is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, with shifting weather patterns, extreme temperatures, and fluctuations in rainfall posing significant challenges to food security and livelihoods. The Met Office collaborates with agricultural stakeholders to consider climate-smart farming practices, improve crop forecasting capabilities, and provide climate information to farmers. By promoting sustainable agriculture and supporting adaptive measures, the Met Office is helping farmers build resilience to climate variability and ensure food security for future generations.

In conclusion, ‘resilience’ is not just a buzzword; it’s critical for safeguarding our planet and securing a sustainable future for all. By embracing climate solutions and investing in resilience-building initiatives, we can navigate the challenges of a changing climate and create a more resilient, equitable, and prosperous world for generations to come.



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Sea ice loss remains a serious issue

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The Met Office has just published its latest briefing on Arctic and Antarctic sea ice.

The update doesn’t reveal any record-breaking figures, but it does reveal that sea ice loss remains a serious issue.

A view of Antarctica showing patches of sea ice, ice bergs and the Antarctic continent's mountains in the distance.

Alex West who co-ordinates the sea ice briefings said: “After last year’s record-breaking minimum extent of sea ice in the Antarctic, the latest update shows greater sea ice extent than last year, but it is still the second lowest on record for the time of year.

Following a warm June, Arctic sea ice extent is below average for the time of year but some way above record low levels, with conditions fairly typical of recent years.

“Extent is particularly low in the Laptev Sea and in the Atlantic sector, but nearer average in other parts of the Arctic.

“This year’s September Arctic sea ice extent is likely to be well below average, but there are not yet heightened indications of a new record low.”

See here for the full briefing.

Arctic insights

The Advancing Arctic Capabilities programme – a new project led by the Met Office -brings international partners to develop an improved understanding of what is happening to the region’s ice, ocean and atmosphere to support global climate resilience.

The project will deliver cutting-edge insights into Arctic weather patterns and ocean currents.



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What has been driving Hurricane Beryl?

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Hurricane Beryl, which has been tearing through the Caribbean, has been hitting the headlines for several reasons.

Firstly, there is the undeniable fact that during her existence as a Category 4 and 5 hurricane Beryl caused much damage and loss of life across several nations and territories, including Grenada, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Jamaica and the British Overseas Territory of the Cayman Islands.

Hurricane Beryl crossing Jamaica in early July 2024 as visualised by the Met Office computer model.

Satellite image of Hurricane Beryl crossing Jamaica in early July 2024

Secondly, Beryl has become infamous for being the earliest Category 5 hurricane in the historical record in the Atlantic Basin. Category 5 is the highest ranking for hurricanes requiring sustained wind speeds of at least 157 mph. Hurricane Beryl’s wind actually peaked at 165 mph on 2 July. The earliest date in the year any previous Atlantic hurricane had achieved winds of this strength was a full month later on 5 August.

Active hurricane season

Julian Heming is a Met Office tropical cyclone expert who has been studying these systems for many years. He said: “In the second half of May several prediction centres, including the Met Office, forecast an active Atlantic hurricane season with between 150% and 200% of usual activity.

“These Atlantic seasonal forecasts have been influenced by the development of cooler waters in the equatorial eastern Pacific in recent months – in line with the anticipated La Niña or cooler phase of the naturally-variable El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle.

“Developing La Niña conditions have a known association with a more active Atlantic hurricane season. So, we know that natural variation in the climate system has a huge observable effect on hurricane activity.

“But this trend towards La Niña favouring hurricane development would not solely explain Hurricane Beryl and the prediction of an active hurricane season.

“Sea temperatures across the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean Sea have been well above average since the Spring of 2023 which provides fuel for intense hurricanes like Beryl. There is much meteorologists do not yet understand about how these high sea-surface temperatures have developed and why they have persisted for so long. This is an active area of research.”

“Furthermore, higher sea-surface temperatures in line with a warming climate are expected to favour the development of a greater proportion of intense tropical cyclones in the long term.”

International effort

Will Lang is the Met Office’s head of Situational Awareness. He said: “Met Office forecasts are a crucial part of the international effort to predict Atlantic hurricanes, and our experts work at the heart of UK Government’s international response to damaging hurricanes such as Beryl.”

You can watch an interview about Hurricane Beryl here.



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Green light for space weather forecasting satellite

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The European Space Agency (ESA) today confirmed the contractors for the long-awaited Vigil mission which will transform global space weather forecasting.

The confirmation of the building of the satellite is the next step in the process positioning a satellite with a side-on view of the Sun to provide enhanced space weather forecasting.

The Met Office Space Weather Operations Centre, now celebrating its tenth year in operation, is one of a number of centres that will benefit from the new satellite.

The Vigil mission, as it’s known among space weather scientists, will enhance space weather forecasting capabilities and help provide more notice for potentially impactful space weather events such as coronal mass ejections.

Mark Gibbs, who leads the Met Office Space Weather Operations Centre (MOSWOC), said: “The Vigil mission represents a step-change in space weather forecasting capability. As well as replacing aging satellites, this mission will help to improve our forecasting capability and deepen our scientific understanding of coronal mass ejections (CMEs) that generate geomagnetic storms.”

Confirmation of the contract for the mission, which is being managed by the European Space Agency, represents the next milestone in the process of launching the new satellite by the end of this decade and will revolutionise imagery and data available to space weather forecasts.

Mark continued: “A side-on view of the Sun-Earth line is critical to provide accurate predictions of CME arrival at Earth. We’ll get access to more reliable, more advanced data to initialise models to predict CME arrival and also to monitor their progress as they head towards the Earth. We’ll be continuing to work with ESA to help ensure there’s as much benefit as possible to not just us at MOSWOC, but also to forecasting centres around the world. The Vigil mission will work in tandem with the current and future US missions stationed at L1.”

The news comes after geomagnetic storms two weeks ago brought aurora visibility to much of the UK in what was the strongest event since 2003 to impact Earth. While auroras provide immaculate photos, impactful space weather has the potential to affect everyone and is recognised on the UK’s National Risk Register. The ability to forecast these events can help to mitigate the worst impacts.

Find out more about the contract announcement.

Find out more about the Met Office Space Weather Operations Centre.




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