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Met Office publishes data science framework


Mark Say Managing Editor

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The Met Office has set out a number of steps to increase its data science capability incorporating machine learning and artificial intelligence.

It has done so within its new five-year framework document, saying that advances in the fields are prompting a revision of its operational plans.

The framework consists of three broad pillars: identifying the priority data science capabilities of the Met Office and its partners; building an environment to develop and retain a skilled workforce; and working effectively with partners.

Activities planned under the first pillar, all for the end of next year, include delivering a project for a standard workflow for building, deploying and monitoring machine learning systems; and the instigation of projects on sea surface temperatures, using machine learning in weather forecasting, a plan for blending data science and traditional physics based techniques in weather prediction, and developing a prototype digital twin.

Efforts to develop the workforce will include appointing STEM ambassadors within the organisation’s data science team, providing a baseline analysis of diversity in the field, and refining the learning pathway for data science.

Under the partnership pillar the Met Office will create a programme of relevant opportunities for early career scientists, appoint a communities of practice co-ordinator and co-develop a plan to collaborate with partners from other domains in data science.

Across value chain

Writing in the document’s foreword, Met Office chief of science and technology Professor Stephen Belcher, says: “This work will all form a key part of the Met Office Research and Innovation Strategy, cutting across the entire value chain from fusing simulations with data science, right through to hazard to decision making.

“This work is timely, and also aligns well with key government priorities to help us on our journey to a resilient net zero future. I am excited to see what the future will hold for this work and I look forward to seeing the Met Office develop further thought leadership in this arena.”

The organisation has already taken significant steps in working with partners in the field, notably the University of Exeter. Late last year they committed to further developing the Joint Centre of Excellence in Environmental Intelligence.


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