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We know that some level of change is nowunavoidable, and it is the responsibility of us all to think about what a changing climate will mean for our health, our businesses and our way of life. By planning for the adaptation we need now wecan ensure that we are best placed to meet thechallenges of climate change head-on. And byunderstanding how climate change is already adversely affecting us, and will continue to do so, wecan provide the scientific basis for reducing emissionsas rapidly as possible. DECISIONS IN AN UNCERTAIN WORLDThe Met Office occupies a unique position in beingable to advise government and business on the risksassociated with hazardous weather in the short term,and the threats, and indeed opportunities, over thecoming decades as our climate changes. The range ofbusinesses already addressing climate change isfascinating - from global banks protecting their086GLOBAL VOICES" "THE RANGE OFBUSINESSES ALREADY ADDRESSING CLIMATE CHANGEIS FASCINATING -FROM GLOBALBANKS PROTECTINGTHEIR INVESTMENTS, TOTRANSPORT ORGANISATIONSWANTING TO KNOWIF THE ROADS AREGOING TO MELTGRAPH 1: INDICATORS OF A WARMING WORLD A range of observations that are all increasing over several decades. All these indicators would be expectedto increase under climate change. Each of the different coloured lines in each graph represents anindependently collected set of data.Source: Met Office/NOAAinvestments, to transport organisations wanting toknow if the roads are going to melt, if railways will beaffected by sea level rise, or airport usage change.Working in the Met Office is an ideal place to see howdifferent organisations are dealing with theopportunities and challenges that climate changepresents. Some organisations are just starting downthe road, whereas others have been fully engaged inthe process over the last few years. We have beenassessing the possible impacts of climate change withthe CBI Task Force -a group of leading UK companiesincluding Tesco, BP, Barclays and British Airways -and identifying how businesses will need to adapt toour changing climate to reduce the impacts, but also totake advantage of the substantial opportunities thatemerge as we move to a greener and more sustainableway of life.Some would argue that the demand for information onhow climate change will affect our future outstrips thecurrent understanding of the science and the

what we do know. Science has established that climateis changing and that the world will need to makesubstantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissionsover the next few decades if the worst impacts ofdangerous climate change are to be avoided.The role of the Met Office and other scientists aroundthe world will be to continue to press on in developingthe emerging tools that will be used to underpinsensible adaptation and mitigation decisions whichwill determine all our futures. nABOUT THE AUTHORProfessor Julia Slingo has been Met Office ChiefScientist since February 2009 and is responsible forproviding scientific and technical strategy, anddirecting research and development across weatherand climate.She has had a long-term career in climate modellingand research. Her personal research addressesproblems in tropical climate variability, its influenceon the global climate and its response to climatechange. Increasingly, Professor Slingo's researchconsiders the multi-disciplinary aspects of climatevariability and the need to improve the representationof weather systems and rainfall distributions inclimate prediction models. She has successfullypromoted the use of much higher resolution inclimate models.GLOBAL VOICES087capability of climate models. It is true that there ismuch more to do and that we must continue to investin research and development, but it is clear that noteverything is uncertain and that we can provideinformation and advice that can be acted upon. Thereare fundamental aspects of the science of climatechange which are certain, and even our currentunderstanding of how the Earth system will respond toincreasing greenhouse gases suggests that theoutcome may well be worse rather than better than wecurrently predict. In the UK, the Met Office Hadley Centre has beenworking hard to provide the right sort of information tosupport long-term planning decisions withingovernment and businesses alike. We have taken thefirst steps in moving from raw uncertainty toprobabilities of particular outcomes. This allows usersto assess their particular vulnerabilities in the contextof probable outcomes, and decide what level of riskthey are prepared to take. These projections - the UKClimate Projections 2009 - are already forming thebackbone of adaptation decisions being made in theUK for up to 100 years ahead, and this approach couldbe extended to other regions of the globe.AND FINALLYAll too often uncertainty in science offers a convenientexcuse for delaying important decisions. In examiningthe uncertainties we must take care to not throw awayGRAPH 2: INDICATORS OF A WARMING WORLDA range of observations that are all decreasing over several decades, as expected under climate change.Each of the different coloured lines in each graph represents an independently collected set of data.Source: Met Office/NOAAAbove:Professor JuliaSlingo has been MetOffice Chief Scientistsince February 2009