Met Office Technology Director Charles Ewen believes his organisation operates with an unusual stance compared to others in the weather and climate industry and that its most recent innovations make it stand out from its competitors.\n\u201cOur job is to predict the future state of the atmosphere, the climate systems, in such a way that we can stay safe with temperature primarily. The secondary is a function of predictable protection,\u201d Ewen said on stage at the IoT Expo last week.\nThe UK-based forecaster, which was launched in 1854, is recognised as the oldest national weather service in the world. Although the Met Office only really began exploring wider uses of IT in the 21st century, technology has always been a big part of weather forecasting.\nThis includes machine learning and natural language processing, which have been adopted across different areas of the prediction and statistical understanding functions that are built into its weather forecasting.\nEwen, who began his role as technology director in 2014, has\u00a0helped push the Met Office to\u00a0experiment with new ideas. \u201cThe core part of my job is to deal with new things, typically things that don\u2019t quite work yet and introduce them into the office,\u201d he explained.\nThe 2018 CIO 100 member has led\u00a0a transformation programme across the organisation. Alongside this, Ewen introduced an Informatics Lab as a way to explore a consolidated approach to R&D - a decision which saw significant production benefits\u00a0through techologies such as high-performance computing in the cloud and serverless computing at scale.\nIn an interview with CIO UK last year, Ewen explained his multi-modal approach to software development, which includes the use of a waterfall model for big infrastructure projects and\u00a0agile methods for more innovative ventures like the Met Office app.\n\u201cWe have squads and tribes and we work in sprints and we have retrospectives and epics and all that kind of stuff, and we deploy that where it\u2019s needed, but equally we can work in more traditional project approaches,\u201d Ewen told CIO UK.\n\u201cWe have a very flexible delivery model that is essentially a combination of an [agile to waterfall] delivery style and also in-source, internally managed and full out-source as a kind of matrix. We are always clear which approach we are taking when we initialise production activity,\u201d he added.\nRead next: Met Office CIO Charles Ewen on how supercomputers forecast the weather\nCurrent state\n\u201cTo predict the future state of something you typically need to understand its current state, so we do that with an observation program. The scale of that observation program is between two or three billion observations a day, coming from space-based platforms,\u201d Ewen explained.\n\u201cThe type of prediction that we\u2019re doing is literally trying to understand the force imparted on a coin, its density against the atmosphere, rotational velocity and all those other physical characteristics so that we can have a flash at saying whether it\u2019s going to land on a head or a tail.\u201d\nAccording to Ewen, this helps the organisation to understand the best uses for new adoptions of technologies such as machine learning.\n\u201cWhy we do it that way comes back to the fact that it doesn\u2019t matter what magic you\u2019re trying to do in terms of machine learning, but there have to be capabilities in the system,\u201d he said.\nThe Met Office is also making an effort to find ways to understand process simulations that often appear difficult to interpret.\n\u201cThe last mile of IT has been characterised for us by things like natural language, which for us is proving to be a very useful technology to be able to ask very sophisticated questions and provide very sophisticated answers without necessarily having to have competencies to interact with this very sophisticated data,\u201d Ewen added.\nOverall, the organisation\u2019s weather data is filtered into a simulation programme that is protected by a simulation code.\n\u201cWe run something called the unified model," said Ewen. "Again, because the Met Office is a bit unusual we run a unified model which is fundamentally the same approach for climate prediction as it is for weather forecast,\u201d said Ewen.