In Exeter, the Met Office is at the forefront of carrying out research into
The Met Office hosts the National Climate Information Centre which holds national and regional climate information for the United Kingdom. Digitised records for the whole country date back to 1910 and data for the Central England Temperature record dates back to 1654 - the world's longest instrumental record.
On the following pages you can find out more about climate, climate change and climate science. For more in-depth information about climate research go to the climate research section of our website. If you would like to find out more about the climate services we provide, including Climate Service UK, you can do so on the climate services pages.
Climate guide - Met Office
What is the IPCC?
The IPCC is an international scientific organisation that provides research-based information about the causes and consequences of climate change, including both human-influenced and naturally-occurring climate change. It also assesses measures for lessening the severity of climate change and the potential for adapting to its consequences. Its purpose is to inform government policy, but it does not recommend which policies governments should adopt.
The IPCC was formed in 1988 by two bodies: the United Nations Environmental Programme and the World Meteorological Organization. Thousands of scientists from across the world voluntarily contribute to its assessment reports, which are published every six years or so.
Our scientists have been most closely involved in Working Group 1, which sets out the physical science basis of climate change. We also have lead authors in Working Group 2, which looks at impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. Met Office research also contributes to Working Group 3, which examines the mitigation of climate change.
September 2013 sees the first phase in the publication of the IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), which consists of four reports and summaries for policymakers. The first summary from Working Group 1 is released on 27 September with the full report published on 30 September. Subsequent reports from Working Group 2 and Working Group 3 are published in March 2014 and April 2014. Finally, the Synthesis Report, providing an integrated view of climate change drawing upon the individual working group reports, is published in November 2014.
Before the Synthesis Report is released, governments of up to 195 contributing countries, including the UK, will review and approve the Summary for Policymakers section of each report. As an authoritative document, AR5's contents will form the evidence basis for decision makers in government, business and organisations around the world over the coming years.
How is the Met Office involved?
As one of the world's leading climate research centres, the Met Office Hadley Centre is a key contributor to the IPCC process and AR5. We contribute in a variety of ways throughout the process. For AR5 we have one Coordinating Lead Author and a number of Lead Authors engaged in writing the reports. Our observational datasets, climate modelling and numerous peer-reviewed papers from our scientists are also assessed in the reports. Our contribution draws on the breadth of the UK's national climate capability and our partnerships with research establishments across the UK and internationally.
Find out more from Coordinating Lead Author, Peter Stott, in our video about the IPCC process:
Last Updated: 27 September 2013
The Met Office and the IPCC - Met Office
Many of the changes we have seen since the 1950's are unprecedented over decades to millennia.
Temperatures have risen by about 0.8 °C since pre-industrial times; Arctic sea ice extent has declined by 4% per decade since records began in 1979, and summer extent has declined at an even faster rate; sea levels have been rising by about 3 mm a year since the early 1990s.
Each of the last three decades has been successively warmer at the Earth's surface than any preceding decade since 1850. In the Northern Hemisphere, 1983-2012 was "likely" the warmest 30-year period of the last 1400 years.
Scientists are 95% certain that humans have been the "dominant cause" of the rise in temperatures since the 1950s.
Professor Stephen Belcher, Head of Met Office Hadley Centre, said: "Well established physics tell us that if we increase concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, then global temperatures will rise. The question is about how much warming will occur, where it will warm fastest and what the implications are. That is what this latest report seeks to answer."
For the UK, the report projects a decline in the Atlantic Meridional Circulation (AMOC) - the conveyor of warm water, the Gulf Stream, which keeps our climate mild. However, although any weakening in the AMOC may reduce warming here, relative to elsewhere, it would not be enough to counter the inexorable rise in temperature as a result of increasing greenhouses gases. The AR5 report shows that even under a scenario for the future with extensive measures to mitigate global CO2 emissions, the UK is still projected to warm over the course of the century.
Limiting climate change would require substantial and sustained reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases. In order to limit warming to "likely" stay below 2 °C we should keep carbon emissions to below 1 trillion tonnes. About half of this has already been emitted since pre-industrial times.IPCC confirms that the risks to the UK from global warming remain substantial - Met Office