The Met Office is the UK's National Meteorological Service. As a world leader in providing weather and climate services, we employ around 2,000 staff at 60 locations throughout the world. We are recognised as one of the world's most accurate forecasters, using more than 10 million weather observations a day, an advanced atmospheric model and a high performance supercomputer to create 3,000 tailored forecasts and briefings a day. These are delivered to a huge range of customers from the Government, to businesses, the general public, armed forces, and other organisations.
Heat waves are relevant to a wide range of stakeholders owing to their impacts on many different sectors, including health, transport, agriculture and the natural environment. Most previous studies of heat waves have focused on the numbers and lengths only; very few have considered the areas affected. In this study, gridded daily maximum temperatures for the UK will be analysed for heat waves. Absolute thresholds will be employed so that heat waves will be defined as periods when a fixed temperature is reached or exceeded. Several different thresholds for daily maximum temperatures will be used, all of which would be considered unusually warm in the UK; for example, 25, 28 and 30°C.
A number of scientific questions will be answered, including identification of the heat waves with the largest contiguous spatial extents, and a study of any relationship between average or maximum temperatures and the heat wave areas. Any differences in the spatial extents and locations of areas affected by individual heat waves will be found. Trends and variability in heat wave temperatures and spatial extents will be studied, and the possible influence of indices such as the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation will be investigated. If there is sufficient time available, the analysis could be repeated using relative thresholds for each location.
Scientific questions to be answered:
If sufficient time is available, the analysis could be repeated using local (i.e. percentile-based) thresholds and compared with the results using absolute thresholds.
The results from this project would be used for a paper to be submitted to a peer-reviewed journal.