NERC has commissioned five highly ambitious research programmes, worth £34m, that will see its research centres, including the BGS, working closely together to tackle major scientific and societal challenges. These are:
The North Atlantic Climate System: Integrated Study (ACSIS) programme will improve the UK's capability to detect, explain and predict changes in the North Atlantic climate system. This programme is led by the National Centre for Atmospheric Science, in partnership with National Oceanography Centre (NOC), British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO).
The Achieving Sustainable Agricultural Systems (ASSIST) programme will examine the environmental effects of sustainable intensification of agriculture, and develop farming systems that contribute towards environmental sustainability. This programme is led by the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH), in partnership with Rothamsted Research, which receives strategic funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the BGS. The BGS lead is Mike Ellis.
The Land Ocean Carbon Transfer (LOCATE) programme will establish how much carbon from soils is getting into our rivers and estuaries, determine what happens to it, and so answer questions about the long-term fate of the organic carbon held in the soil over the next 50 to 100 years. This is important, because scientists have estimated that soil is a major source of carbon that, if unlocked, could enter the atmosphere and contribute to climate change. This programme is led by NOC, in partnership with CEH, the Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML) and the BGS. The BGS lead is Dan Lapworth.
The Ocean Regulation of Climate through Heat and Carbon Sequestration and Transports (ORCHESTRA) programme will use a combination of data collection, analyses and computer simulations to radically improve our ability to measure, understand and predict the circulation of the Southern Ocean and its role in the global climate. This programme is led by BAS, in partnership with NOC, BGS, PML, the Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling (CPOM) and the Sea Mammal Research Unit. The BGS lead is Melanie Leng.
The UK Earth System Modelling Project (UKESM) programme will develop the first UK Earth system model (ESM), based on a core global climate model, HadGEM3, developed at the Met Office. The new ESM model will maintain the world-leading status of UK Earth system modelling and science, while also providing robust and detailed scientific support to the UK government through the 6th Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Assessment Report (AR6). This programme is led by the National Centre for Atmospheric Science, in partnership with NOC, CEH, NCEO, BAS and BGS. The BGS lead is Susan Loughlin.