A UK and Canada collaboration gives us a more precise way of predicating the weather.
For decades, researchers have relied on computational methods that divide the Earth into small regions to predict the weather. But a new method known as a ‘computational mesh’, developed through a longstanding UK and Canada collaboration, enables researchers to target an area to concentrate their efforts.
Imagine a fishing net or invisible mesh enveloping the entire globe, that ‘mesh’ can be ‘stretched’ or ‘shrunk’ to focus a weather study and allow researchers to make more precise predictions.
More accuracy, less computing
The mesh has been worked on since the 1980’s by:
- Chris Budd, Professor at the University of Bath (UK)
- Robert Russell, Professor at Simon Fraser University (Canada).
It could be used to:
- focus on a storm over the Bahamas
- predict rainfall in Texas
- follow a tsunami across the Indian Ocean
- measure pressure changes that might cause flame fronts.
Professor Budd said:
The smaller the regions are or, in other words, the more points in the ‘computational mesh’, the more accurate the calculations are. It makes a lot of sense to do this because then you can get the accuracy that you want. For me, it’s very important that I can talk about climate change. It’s just been a huge and really positive collaboration between our two nations.
Decades later, their collaboration and friendship are still going strong. They have:
- organised workshops
- created a UK and Canada student exchange programme
- hosted joint conferences
- partnered with The UK Met Office where their methods were incorporated into the national weather service’s operational code.
This research was supported by:
- the Natural Environment Research Council
- the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
- the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences in Canada.
Last updated: 19 October 2021