More than 50 researchers from across a wide range of organisations and disciplines gathered in late June for a UK Environmental Prediction (UKEP) workshop as part of a national collaboration, co-led by Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML), working on the UK's first fully-coupled regional environmental prediction system at kilometre scale.
The UKEP initiative is a national collaboration between the UK Met Office, PML, Centre for Ecology & Hydrology and National Oceanographic Centre. Its prediction system uses atmosphere, ocean, wave, land surface and biogeochemical models together to enable new multi-disciplinary research on Earth system processes. One aim of this is to use the information to improve future operational applications, including those focused on weather and climate prediction.
The UKEP workshop was held in Reading, and included researchers from across weather, climate, marine and hydrological science disciplines to review their latest research progress. In a novel format, they worked together in small multi-disciplinary groups to develop research and application proposals. These were focused around three areas: estuarine and coastal environments; regional coupled prediction for environmental change; and concurrent and combined natural hazards.
The groups began by identifying gaps in scientific knowledge, modelling and observation capability and evaluation of experiments. They then worked on developing various outline proposals and actions for research and application, which could further the progress of the initiative and demonstrate the abilities and use of regional coupled prediction tools.
Jerry Blackford, the Head of Science for the PML Marine Systems Modelling Group, said: “The marine environment plays a crucial role in human society, in particular via the provision of food, the remediation of waste and mitigation of climate change. At the same time the marine environment is subject to a host of anthropogenic pressures, including pollution, eutrophication and climate-driven change. Understanding future states and outcomes of potential management scenarios is crucial to maintain productivity, sustainability and good environmental status.”
Jerry continues: “Plymouth Marine Laboratory are international leaders in developing models of coastal-ocean marine ecosystems and understanding and predicting change; addressing the needs of a diverse range of stakeholders, including policy makers, industry and the public. Recognising that marine systems are strongly coupled to both the land and atmosphere, UK Environmental Prediction provides a mechanism by which we can improve predictions of coastal-shelf processes as impacted by changing freshwater, nutrient and pollutant inputs from land whilst understanding how improved atmospheric forcing, heat exchange and production of volatile compounds affects both marine and atmospheric systems.”