Sep 22,2022

A hackathon to increase business impact of weather and climate data

Every individual and every company on planet Earth are affected by extreme weather events and the changing climate. The science is clear, the climate is changing and we all need to adapt the way we live and operate in this changing world. That’s why Microsoft is partnering with the Met Office and ESRI UK to hold a series of technical hackathons to increase the utility and impact of weather and climate data.  

The first event of this series will focus on weather data from the Met Office, but there will be an opportunity to  explore further data sets such as  climate data during the Hackathon. By combining the scientific expertise and data of the Met Office, the geo-spatial expertise from ESRI UK, the technical services and expertise at Microsoft, and the creative spark and industry insight and data from you, we can make a real impact which will change people’s lives for the better. 

The market is rapidly shifting, presenting lots of opportunities for innovation. For instance, there is a need to increase the resilience of supply chains to extreme weather events; and the Financial Conduct Authority requires premium listed companies to report on how they will be affected by climate change, in line with the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). We hope that these TCFD reports could be informed by new science and data driven products. 

About the Met Office

The Met Office has been at the forefront of global weather and climate science for over 160 years. As the national meteorological service for the UK, they provide critical weather services that help the public, businesses and policymakers make better decisions and stay safe and thrive. The Met Office Hadley Centre for Climate Science and Services provides world-class guidance on the science of climate change and is the primary focus in the UK for climate science.  

The Met Office plays a key role in the development of weather and climate science and is at the forefront of many cutting-edge advances across a wide range of different industries using its weather and climate expertise to push forward innovation in a range of different areas. Met Office Director of Science and Technology, Professor Stephen Belcher, said “There are changes in our world that we must also respond to. From technological innovation to the need for clean growth, to the change in the climate itself. We need to ensure that our exceptional research and innovation continue to drive improvements in our science, technology and operations – and vice versa.” 

The difference between weather and climate

The major difference between weather and climate is the timescale. Weather occurs over hours or days. Climate, however, refers to the average of all weather that takes place over a much longer period, usually years or decades. The writer Robert A. Heinlein described the relationship as “Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get.”

What Met Office data services will be available at the Hackathon?

At this first Hackathon we’re offering three different Met Office data services to explore and drive actionable insight into your applications and services. There will be a number of Microsoft and Met Office experts available to support attendees in understanding and making the best use of the available products and data services.

Here is a summary of the Met Office data services that will be available at the first hackathon:

What is it?Time PeriodData suitable for: Links & Cost of data
Weather forecasts 
Live weather forecast data.
Example of Use – The Weather Outlook
Present to 7 days Web/mobile app developers – Downloadable via Met Office Weather DataHub

– Data is typically charged based on volume consumed and is provided under a commercial license
Climate projections
Climate projections predict the climate under a range of different CO2 emissions scenarios.
Example of Use – Belfast City Council 
Until 2050 – 2079 Low-code/no-code developers – Access via Climate Data Portal 

– This data is licensed under CC-BY 4.0 and is free to use. 
Decadal forecasts
Decadal forecasts are specifically designed to forecast fluctuations in the climate system over the next few years through knowledge of the current climate state and multi-year variability of the oceans. 
6 Months to 10 Years Developers who are comfortable with in depth data analysis in a Python environment – Data access by Request. 

– This data is licensed under CC-BY 4.0 and is free to use. 
  1. Weather Forecasts

Met Office weather forecast data can be downloaded via Met Office Weather DataHub, which continues to evolve with new data and map overlays regularly being added. This API data channel will ultimately become the single point of access for all Met Office Public Task weather data, replacing both Met Office DataPoint and our Wholesale data services.  Data is typically charged based on volume consumed, with a number of pricing plans available, including a free plan (where users can download up to 1GB of free data per month). The free plan has been extended for the period of the hackathon.  

By focusing the first hackathon on weather data we hope that customers, partners and ISVs can combine this with other business data to enable the development of innovative new applications and services in sectors such as health, agriculture, financial services, capital markets and beyond.  

  1. Climate projections 

We can make climate projections of future change based on a range of evidence, including what has happened in the past and using climate models based on the physics of our climate system. The science shows us clearly that the scale of future changes will depend upon both how quickly greenhouse gas emissions decline and how the climate system responds to the reductions. 

 Met Office  projection data is available via the Met Office Climate Data Portal, where you can explore, visualise, and download the data. Data from the portal can be easily integrated into tools such as Esri and PowerBI. These tools are suited to low-code/no-code development. The datasets cover the entire globe, with high resolution projections over the UK.  You can access the raw data via CEDA. This data is licensed under CC-BY 4.0 and is free to use. 

The Met Office partnered with Belfast City Council to utilise their climate projections to see how increased temperature could affect the health of citizens and disrupt their infrastructure, businesses, and the built environment. The risk of impact was expressed as a “heat vulnerability index”. This is being used to makes decisions about adaptations such as new parks and trees, heat-proofing buildings, and adapting infrastructure. You can read more about their story here

  1. Decadal forecasts 

Decadal forecasts are some of the Met Office’s most cutting-edge predictions. They predict the subtle shifts in our climate driven by phenomena like El Niño and have a range between six months and ten years. They have been shown to have significant predictive ability for many regions and variables and with the climate now changing rapidly, they are often better than climatologies of the past. There are opportunities for these forecasts to be used to hedge against risk, for instance by the reinsurance industry. 

This is suited to developers who are comfortable with in depth data analysis in a Python environment, so that any applications of this data can be tested for predictive ability. Domain experts will be on hand during that hackathon to help you get the most from it. This data is licensed under CC-BY 4.0 and is free to use. 

The Microsoft & Met Office Hackathon 

We will be running a series of Hackathons to help Microsoft customers and partners explore the rich data sets from the Met Office. At the first Hackathon in mid-October, we will have Microsoft Cloud Solution Architects and Met Office Data Scientists and ESRI UK Consultants on hand to help explore how ‘Weather Forecast’ data services (Data Service 1) can be used by: 

  1. Microsoft Services Partners – to unlock insights for their customers using Met Office Data Services and Insights. 
  1. Microsoft SaaS/ISV Partners – to integrate or embed climate and weather data into their core application to enhance client decisions. 
  1. Microsoft Customers with immediate needs for accessing weather data from the Met Office to fix specific business problems or respond challenges such as Enterprise Disclosure for climate-related risk law (TCFD). 

These hacks are appropriate for a wide variety of projects, from exploring the “the art of the possible” to hands-on development. The hacks help de-risk projects, skill up teams, kick start new development projects and explore new technologies. The hack is a three day, highly focused, very productive, deep technical activity, where your developers, designers and architects can work Microsoft technical experts, Met Office Data Scientists and ESRI UK Consultants. 

To participate in this exclusive Hackathon, please complete the Hackathon nomination form to secure your place.   

  • Date: 18th – 20th October 
  • Location: Microsoft Reactor, Wilson Street, London 

It’s normal for our hacks to be oversubscribed, so please register your interest as soon as possible, and provide full and accurate details on the application form.  

For any questions, please contact your Microsoft Representative or email: 


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