Science in the Met Office: Terms of reference

19 July 2011

At its meeting on 18 July 2011 the Committee agreed to hold an inquiry into Science in the Met Office.

The Committee is focusing on the Met Office Public Weather Service remit and on its science strategy as set out in Met Office science strategy for 2010-2015.

The Committee seeks submissions on the following matters:

  1. How effectively is the Met Office fulfilling its Public Weather Service remit?
  2. Is the Met Office’s Science Strategy 2010-15 robust and achievable and how will the strategy help to deliver a better service?
  3. What are the roles of the Met Office’s Chief Scientific Adviser and its other senior scientists? How do they provide comprehensive and up-to-date scientific advice?
  4. How robust are the models used by the Met Office for weather forecasting, climate predictions, atmospheric dispersion and other activities?
  5. How effectively does the Met Office coordinate its activities with government departments, non-departmental public bodies, the UK research base and its international counterparts?

The Public Weather Service remit

The Met Office outlines its core task as providing “a range of information under” under its the Public Weather Service remit which is to:

  • produce weather forecasts which help the UK public make informed decisions about day-to-day activities;
  • warn people of extreme weather to mitigate its impacts—contributing to the protection of life, property and infrastructure;
  • improve weather and climate predictions through research;
  • fulfil international commitments on behalf of the UK Government; and
  • provide public access to historic weather information via our Library and Archive and climatological records.

Met Office science strategy for 2010-2015 (PDF 1.04 MB)

Met Office science strategy for 2010-2015 "takes the new agenda of seamless science and prediction and focuses the Met Office research agenda around four major science challenges":

(i) forecasting hazardous weather from hours to decades;
(ii) water cycle and quantitative precipitation forecasting on all scales;
(iii) monthly to decadal prediction in a changing climate; and
(iv) sensitivity of the Earth system to human activities.

The Prime Minister announced on 18 July 2011 that responsibility for the Met Office will pass from the Ministry of Defence to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Submitting written evidence

The Committee invites written submissions on these issues by midday on Wednesday 14 September 2011.

Each submission should:
a) be no more than 3,000 words in length;
b) be in Word format with as little use of colour or logos as possible;
c) have numbered paragraphs; and
d) include a declaration of interests.

A copy of the submission should be sent by e-mail to and marked "Met Office". An additional paper copy should be sent to:

The Clerk
Science and Technology Committee
House of Commons
7 Millbank
London SW1P 3JA

Please note that:

  • Material already published elsewhere should not form the basis of a submission, but may be referred to within a proposed memorandum, in which case a hard copy of the published work should be included.
  • Memoranda submitted must be kept confidential until published by the Committee, unless publication by the person or organisation submitting it is specifically authorised.
  • Once submitted, evidence is the property of the Committee. The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to make public the written evidence it receives, by publishing it on the internet (where it will be searchable), by printing it or by making it available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure. The Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.
  • Select Committees are unable to investigate individual cases.

More information on submitting evidence to Select Committees may be found on the parliamentary website at:

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