Atmospheric Dispersion Modelling
Met Office logo.gif

The Met Office (originally an abbreviation for Meteorological Office, but now the official name in itself), which has its headquarters at Exeter in Devon, is the UK's national weather service.

Established in 1854 as a small department within the Board of Trade under as a service to mariners, the Met Office later became part of the Ministry of Defence.

The UK Met Office in the town of Exeter

It currently holds a quasi-governmental role, being required to act commercially but also remaining an executive agency of the Ministry of Defence. In 2003, it moved its headquarters to Exeter from its previous location of Bracknell in Berkshire.

Met Office centres and outposts[]

The Met Office has a worldwide presence - including a forecasting centre in Aberdeen and offices in Gibraltar and on the Falklands. Other centres and outposts include:

  • The Joint Centre for Mesoscale Meteorology (JCMM) at Reading University in Berkshire
  • The Joint Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Research (JCHMR) site at Wallingford in Oxfordshire
  • Outposts at many Army, Navy and Air Force bases within the UK and abroad.

The Met Office is also one of only two World Area Forecast Centres (WAFCs), and is referred to as WAFC London. The other WAFC is located in Kansas in the USA but known as WAFC Washington. WAFC data are used daily to safely and economically route aircraft, particularly on long-haul journeys. The data provided includes details of wind speed and direction, air temperature, cloud type and tops, and other features of interest to the aviation community, such as volcanic ash eruptions.

Met Office forecasts[]

The Met Office issues air quality forecasts made using NAME, the Met Office's medium-to-long-range atmospheric dispersion model. It was originally developed as a nuclear accident model following the Chernobyl accident in 1986, but has since evolved into an all-purpose dispersion model capable of predicting the transport, transformation and deposition of a wide class of airborne materials. NAME is used operationally by the Met Office as an emergency response model as well as for routine air quality forecasting.

The "Shipping Forecast" is produced by the Met Office and broadcast on BBC radio. It has long been of real interest to, and vital to the safety of, mariners traversing the sea areas around the British Isles and its broadcast on radio is still listened to avidly.

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