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The Met Office develops and implements the ocean modelling systems required to meet its customer needs. This includes ocean models for wave forecasting, our Forecasting Ocean Assimilation Model (FOAM), a global and basin-scale deep-ocean analysis and forecasting system, and regional shelf-seas models. We also carry out seasonal forecasting using a combination of atmospheric and coupled ocean-atmosphere models and statistical techniques. For climate research, we provide and validate the ocean component of the Hadley Centre's coupled ocean-atmosphere models. We also co-ordinate the UK's contribution to the international Argo programme for global ocean observing and host the international GHRSST-PP (GODAE High Resolution Sea Surface Temperature - Pilot Programme) Project Office. Our current work is described in the sections below.

Operational ocean forecasting

For those working at sea or living near the coast, forecasts of wave height, ocean currents or storm surges are just as vital as forecasts of the weather. We routinely run a number of ocean models to provide forecasts that help organisations such as ferry operators and oil companies to plan their operations at sea. This includes sea-state forecasting with ocean wave models; development of our Forecasting Ocean Assimilation Model (FOAM), a global real-time ocean analysis and forecast model; and regional modelling of the shelf seas around the UK, for which a long-standing operational application is storm-surge prediction. Recently we have developed the capability for ecosystem modelling, both for the global oceans and the shelf-seas around the UK.

More about operational ocean forecasting

To further develop these capabilities we established a National Centre for Ocean Forecasting (NCOF) in association with Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, National Oceanography Centre, Southampton and the NERC Environmental Systems Science Centre. The aim of NCOF is to establish ocean forecasting as part of the national infrastructure, this being based on world-class research and development.

More about NCOF

Seasonal prediction

Although it is generally not possible to forecast individual weather events more than several days in advance, it is possible to provide useful predictions of conditions averaged over weeks to months and over large areas. We provide experimental seasonal predictions, covering all areas of the globe, to UK government departments, United Nations organisations, and national meteorological services worldwide. More-detailed forecasts (Monthly Outlook) for up to one month ahead are produced and used by the commercial sectors.

More about seasonal prediction

Development of global ocean models for climate prediction

There is a constant exchange of heat, momentum and water between ocean and the atmosphere. The ocean acts as a heat sink to delay climate change and ocean currents transport large amounts of heat and water around the world. The rate of change of climate is largely determined by processes in the ocean interior and ocean modelling is necessary in predicting climate change.

More about ocean modelling for climate

Participation in national and international projects and groups
In addition, we participate in a number of national and international projects and groups.
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