The programme was launched in March 2009 as the Joint Climate Research Programme. In its initial phase, five joint research posts and a Programme Manager post were created. The five research posts covered areas of existing collaboration that were considered as priorities for further development by NERC and the Met Office. The JCRP also established the MONSooN supercomputer service, jointly-owned by both organisations, to enable NERC and Met Office scientists to share data and run models on the same platform.
It was recognised that the areas of joint interest in both research and facilities extend beyond climate. In addition to the collaborative projects on weather research, examples of joint facilities include the jointly owned research aircraft and existing cooperation on the Argo float programme.
Following the ground-breaking development of the JCRP and the level of co-operation that has ensued, it became clear that the benefits of broadening the scope of the JCRP to encompass all areas of joint interest could be substantial. In addition, the increasing appreciation of the seamless nature of weather and climate and the importance of fundamental oceanic and atmospheric processes and weather phenomena in climate prediction is driving a move towards a more unified approach to weather and climate research. These factors have led to the programme being renamed the Joint Weather & Climate Research Programme, JWCRP.
Ambition of the JWCRP
The ambition of the JWCRP reflects very closely that of the original JCRP. It has the following principal objectives:
- To ensure that the UK has access to internationally competitive tools and infrastructure for maintaining its world-leading national capability in observing, understanding, modelling and predicting weather and climate, and their impacts.
- To enable closer collaboration between NERC and the Met Office by working to eliminate existing barriers, to align more closely their respective research activities, and to ensure effective participation in relevant new research programmes from both organisations.
- To propose new activities to address critical gaps in the existing national portfolio of weather and climate research and to be actively involved in promoting and developing those activities.
- To develop mechanisms to promote the more effective pull through of research and development into improved weather and climate forecasts.
The JWCRP will allow the Met Office and NERC to speak with one voice on issues around major infrastructure investments, and will enable both organisations to demonstrate the optimal and efficient use of resources, building on existing initiatives, such as the National Centre for Ocean Forecasting (NCOF).