Met Office releases data science framework

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

It did so in its new five-year framework document, saying progress in the areas is prompting a review of its operational plans.

The framework consists of three main pillars: identifying priority data science capabilities of the Met Office and its partners; creating an environment to train and retain a skilled workforce; and work effectively with partners.

Planned activities under the first pillar, all due by the end of next year, include the delivery of a draft standard workflow for building, deploying and monitoring machine learning systems; and the instigation of projects on sea surface temperatures, the use of machine learning in weather forecasting, a plan to mix data science and traditional physics-based techniques in weather forecasting, and the development of a digital twin prototype.

Efforts to develop the workforce will include appointing STEM ambassadors to the organization’s data science team, providing baseline analysis of diversity in the field, and sharpening of the data science learning journey.

Under the Partnership Pillar, the Met Office will create a program of relevant opportunities for early career scientists, appoint a Communities of Practice Coordinator and co-develop a plan for collaboration with partners from other areas of science Datas.

Across the value chain

Writing in the foreword to the paper, Professor Stephen Belcher, Head of Science and Technology at the Met Office, says: ‘This work will form a key part of the Met Office’s research and innovation strategy, covering the entire value chain, from merging simulations with data science, to chance, 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 holds for this work and look forward to seeing the Met Office develop thought leadership in this area.

The organization has already taken important steps by working with partners on the ground, including the University of Exeter. Late last year, they pledged to further develop the Joint Center of Excellence in Environmental Intelligence.

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