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World Climate Research Programme Plans and Priorities Ghassem R. Asrar Director, WCRP Outline WCRP Intermediate Plan Joint Scientific Committee Joint Planning Staff International Project Offices Earth System Science Partnership WCRP Long-Term Plan

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  • WCRP Intermediate Plan
    • Joint Scientific Committee
    • Joint Planning Staff
    • International Project Offices
    • Earth System Science Partnership
  • WCRP Long-Term Plan
    • World Climate Conference – 3
    • OceanObs09
    • ICSU Visioning
    • JSC Major Foci
    • WCRP Open Science Conference
mission objectives
Mission & Objectives

World Climate Research Programme supports climate-related decision making and adaptation and mitigation planning by developing science required to improve

  • climate predictions and
  • understanding of human influence on climate

“for use in an increasing range of practical applications of direct relevance, benefit and value to society” (WCRP Strategic Framework 2005-2015).


Intermediate and Long-Term Plans

2008-2013:WCRP activities and core projects implementing the Strategic Framework COPES(Coordinated Observation and Prediction of the Earth System)

Post-2013:to achieve a more effective interface with the users of climate informational products, a new WCRP structure will be needed


Intermediate Plan: Pre-2013

  • Major scientific challenges at the interface of physical components of the climate system: the oceans, the cryosphere, the water and energy cycle andthe atmosphere. The complex interactions within and among them.
  • Highlights activities that WCRP will implement to reach its goal of delivering science in support of societal needs
  • Major thrusts: Decadal Prediction, Sea-level rise, climate extremes and atmospheric chemistry – climate interactions.
  • Ongoing areas of investigation: climate change projections, seasonal predictions, monsoons

Intermediate Plan: Pre-2013

  • Activities in support of WCRP Integrating Themes:
  • Climate-quality datasets and analysis: capacity for gathering, processing and sharing observational data for model evaluation and initialization. Observations
  • New generation of climate system models: seamless prediction, higher-spatial resolution, better representation of earth system processes. Models, Computers, Network
  • Next generation of climate experts: building capacity regionally and globally. Leadership
  • Building partnership with relevant GEC programmes and GCOS, WWRP, GEO, World Bank, START. Institutions

Joint Scientific Committee Members

  • JSC focus on long-term strategy


Antonio Busalacchi, USA (Chair)

Dave J. Griggs, Australia (Vice-Chair)

Jochem Marotzke, Germany (Officer)

V. Ramaswamy, USA (Officer)

Carolina Vera, Argentina (Officer)

Guoxiong Wu, China (Officer)

Kwabena Anaman, Ghana (Member)

Reza Ardakanian, Germany/Iran (Member)

Gregory Flato, Canada (Member)

Julia Slingo, UK (Member)

Ilana Wainer, Brazil (Member)

Hervè Le Treut, France (Member)

New members

(as of 1 January 2009)

Sarah Gille, USA

Filipo Giorgi, Italy

B. Goswami, India

Vladimir Kattsov, Russia

Teruyuki Kakajima, Japan

Fredrick Semazzi, Uganda/USA


Joint Planning Staff Members

  • WCRP Secretariat is located in Geneva, Switzerland.

Ann Alturo

Administrative Assistant

Ghassem Asrar


Anne Chautard

Administrative Assistant

Valery Detemmerman

Senior Scientific Officer

Margaret Lennon

Senior Secretary

Vladimir Ryabinin

Senior Scientific Officer

Catherine Michaut

French Support Unit located in Paris

Roberta Boscolo

Communication/Scientific Officer


International Programme Offices Members

  • Projects focus on COPES implementation


Jim Hurrell, USA (Co-Chair)

Martin Visbeck, Germany (Co-Chair)

Howard Cattle, UK (ICPO Director)

IPO located in UK


Ted Shepard, Canada (Co-Chair)

Tom Peter, Switzerland (Co-Chair)

Norm McFarlane, Canada (IPO Director)

IPO located in Canada


Konrad Steffen, USA (Chair)

Daqing Yang, USA (CIPO Director)

IPO located in Norway


Tom Ackerman, USA (Chair)

Peter van Oevelen, NL (IPO Director)

IPO located in USA


Earth System Science Partnership

  • The Earth System Science Partnership is a partnership of four international global environmental change (GEC) research programme for the integrated study of the Earth System, the changes that are occurring to the system and the implications of these changes for global and regional sustainability.

ESSP Scientific Committee

  • The ESSP Scientific Committee is composed of International Council for Science (ICSU) appointed members (including the chair), GEC research programmes chairs and directors, an ICSU representative, the ESSP coordinator……

ICSU Appointed

Rik Leemans, NL (Chair)

Jerry M. Melillo, USA


Deliang Chen, FR (Director)


Harold Mooney, USA (Chair)

Anne Larigauderie, FR (Director)


Carlos Nobre, BR (Chair)

Sybil Seitzinger, SWE (Director)


Oran Young, USA (Chair)

Vacant (Director)


Antonio Busalacchi, USA (Chair)

Ghassem Asrar, SWI (Director)


Martin Rice, FR (Coordinator)


ESSP Projects

  • ….. and representatives of each joint project, integrated regional study and START.

Global Carbon Project (GCP)

Corinne Le Quere, UK (Co-Chair)

Philippe Ciais, FR (Co-Chair)

Anand Patwardhan, INDIA (Co-Chair)

Josep Canadel, AUS (Director)

GEC and Food System (GECAFS)

Diana Liverman, USA (Chair)

John Ingram, UK (Director)

Global Water System Project (GWSP)

Charles Vorosmarty, UK (Co-Chair)

Janos Bogardi, GER (Director)

GEC and Human Health (GECHH)

Ulisses Confalonieri, BR (Co-Chair)

Mark Rosenberg, CAN (Co-Chair)

Monsoon Asia Integrated Regional Study (MAIRS)

Congbin Fu, CHINA (Chair)

Alikun, CHINA (Director)

Climate Food, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS)

Thomas Rosswall, FR (Chair)

Bruce Campbell, DEN (Director)


Gordon McBean, CAN (Co-Chair)

Hassan Virji, USA (Director)


WCRP Partnerships

  • Build on the existing partnerships:
    • SOLAS;
    • WGCM + AIMES;
    • SPARC + IGAC: Atmospheric Chemistry & Climate;
    • GEWEX + iLEAPS…

Extend and strengthen them.

gewex products
GEWEX Products


Version 2.1 of Monthly GEWEX Global Precipitation Climatology

(see Huffman et al., 2009 GRL [accepted])

Main changes over land due to improved gauge analysis by German Weather Service (GPCC) group giving improved analysis over orography and slight increase in mean values


Figures: (a) Climatology for GPCP Version 2.1 in mm/d, and (b) (Version 2.1 –Version 2) difference averaged over 1979-2007 in mm/d.



  • WCRP Intermediate Plan
    • Joint Scientific Committee
    • Joint Planning Staff
    • International Project Offices
    • Earth System Science Partnership
  • WCRP Long-Term Plan
    • World Climate Conference – 3
    • OceanObs09
    • ICSU Visioning
    • JSC Major Foci
    • WCRP Open Science Conference
future directions post 2013
Future Directions: Post-2013
  • Long-Term Strategy: New WCRP themes/structure to promote/facilitate:
  • Research on frontiers of climate/Earth system
  • The need for & use of climate information, products & services
  • Three or four Themes/Panels?
  • Regional climate prediction as a separate theme or fitted better within a processes/modelling theme or an applications/impacts theme?
  • What’s the role, nature, duration of cross-cutting activities?
  • How to ensure societal needs are met and there is effective engagement with stakeholders?
  • How to ensure continued engagement of climate research community, i.e. scientists, sponsors, project offices, etc., in any new theme/structure?
future directions

Future Directions

Looking to the future:

The vision post 2013 was strongly influenced by the evolution of climate science, research, and education in the 1980’s, 1990’s, 2000+ across the atmosphere, ocean, land, and cryopshere.

Looking to the future, a major envisioned challenge and opportunity at the intersection of WCRP+IGBP is the basic and applied research in support of the:

Prediction of the Earth System.

“Propose to IGBP SC the formation of a WCRP/IGBP task team to develop a white paper discussing a strategy for predictive Earth system modeling.”

future functions
Future Functions

WCRP should maintain the rigor of its science and remained focused on core physical science, addressing new science areas in partnerships with others - don’t drop key issues but maintain freedom to operate

The function of WCRP should be to provide the science that underpins understanding and predicting of climate leading to societal benefits. Communication and capacity building are also key issue, ref. COPES document

An emerging demand is a need to move to regional scales whilst from a science perspective recognize the importance of getting the global scales right. WCRP needs to have the capability to enable climate prediction from seasonal to century and global to local scales.

future structure
Future Structure
  • Accept what is now called Core Project(s) to describe the essential elements of the climate system, and structure WCRP activities along the Earth/climate system themes, e.g. ocean-atmosphere, land-atmosphere, troposphere-stratosphere, etc.
  • Rebuild the panel/committee structure, as necessary with an eye on the matrix structure (methodologies, interactions).
  • Crosscuts are essential to address the important science issues; they may have limited lifetime.

WCC-3 Conference Statement

  • Great recognition of scientific progress made through WCRP and its associated activities
  • Call for major strengthening of observations and research
  • Support the development
  • of the Global Framework
  • for Climate Services
wcc3 expert segment
WCC3 – Expert Segment

Called for major strengthening of the essential elements of a global framework for climate services:

  • The Global Climate Observing Systemand all its components and associated activities; and provision of free and unrestricted exchange and access to climate data;
  • The World Climate Research Programme, underpinned by adequate computing resources and increased interaction with other global climate relevant research initiatives.
  • Climate services information systemstaking advantage of enhanced existing national and international climate service arrangements in the delivery of products, including sector-oriented information to support adaptation activities;
  • Climate user interfacemechanisms focussed on building linkages and integrating information, at all levels, between the providers and users of climate services; and
  • Efficient and enduring capacity building through education, training, and strengthened outreach and communication.
wcc3 high level segment
WCC3 – High-Level Segment

Decided to establish a Global Framework for Climate Services

  • WMO will take the lead in putting together a task-force of high-level independent advisors
  • The task-force will make recommendations on the elements of the Framework and the steps for its development and implementation
  • WMO congress in 2011 will review the recommendations with a view to adopt the proposed plans

Conference Statement

VISION: Provision of routine and sustained global information on the marine environment sufficient to meet society’s needs for describing, understanding and forecasting marine variability (….), weather, seasonal to decadal climate variability, climate change, sustainable management of living marine resources, and assessment of longer term trends.

icsu 29th general assembly maputo october 2008
ICSU 29th General Assembly (Maputo, October 2008)

“to note that Committee on Scientific Planning Review (CSPR) is planning to organize a consultation, including a high-level meeting, with relevant partners to outline options for an overall framework for global environmental change research and its policy relevance, once the reviews of IGBP and WCRP are completed.”

Earth System Visioning

three step process
Three Step Process

Goal: to engage the scientific community to explore options and to propose implementation steps for a holistic strategy on the Earth system research. This strategy will both encourage scientific innovation and address policy needs

criteria for selection
Criteria for selection

Scientific importance.Does the question address a cutting-edge research challenge that could plausibly be addressed in the next decade that, if answered, can significantly advance our understanding of Global Change?

Policy relevance.Will the answer to the question help to achieve pressing global needs, including promoting sustainability, reducing poverty, and assisting the most vulnerable in coping with Global Change?

Broad support. Does the question have broad support from the research and funding community (even those not directly involved in answering the question)?

Global coordination.Is a coordinated international or global approach involving multiple researchers and disciplines needed to answer the question?

Leverage.Does the answer to the question involve a scientific or technical breakthrough, or would it create a transferable model, that would help to address multiple problems or challenges related to Global Change Science?

DRAFT: Grand Challenges in Global SustainabilityA Systems Approach to Research Priorities for the Decade
  • Challenge #1: Substantially improve the utility and reduce the uncertainty associated with regional forecasts of future environmental conditions and their consequences for people.
  • Challenge #2: Develop the observation systems needed to manage global environmental change.
  • Challenge #3: Determine how to anticipate, avoid and cope with dangerous global environmental change.
  • Challenge #4: Develop institutional and governance arrangements that can ensure global sustainability.
  • Challenge #5: Develop and evaluate innovative responses to achieve global sustainability.
common threads
Common Threads

Broader base of expertise:

interdisciplinarity → transdisciplinarity

broader expertise in the social sciences (beyond geography and economics-> sociology/ psychology, ethics)

need for expertise in engineering/technology

need for communication experts

Enthusiasm of the community

Earth System Visioning

  • World Climate Conference-3, OceanObs09 and Earth System Visioning acknowedge WCRP past contribution and identify future challenges and opportunities.
  • Need for more flexibility/agility to respond to expanding users needs, this include information:
      • At regional scale
      • For key sectors of global economy
      • For adaptation, mitigation and risk management

JSC focus on four major enabling themes to underpin scientific exploration and climate information delivery and applications:

      • Observation and Analysis
      • Process understanding
      • Model development, projections and prediction
      • Climate Information and Application
  • Discussions and plans are underway for transition from now to mid- next decade
2011 wcrp open science conference climate research in service to society

2011 WCRP Open Science ConferenceClimate Research in Service to Society

Conference Objective

The aim of WCRP is to facilitate analysis and prediction of Earth’s climate system variability and change for use in an increasing range of practical applications of direct relevance, benefit and value to society.

The Open Science Conference will thus assemble the scientific community working to advance our ability to understand and predict variability and change of the Earth’s climate system on all time and space scales.

Through this synthesis of research findings and knowledge, WCRP will better inform assessments and prediction science practitioners on the state of climate science research, describe the challenges of the future, and chart pathways forward for WCRP.

2011 wcrp open science conference climate research in service to society36

2011 WCRP Open Science ConferenceClimate Research in Service to Society

Monday: The Climate System Components and Their Interactions

Tuesday: Observation and Analysis of the Climate System

Wednesday: Improving Predictive Capabilities

Thursday: Environmental Assessments

Friday (early a.m.): Regional Climate

Friday (late a.m.): Challenges and the Future

  • WCRP and sister International Global Change Research Programmes will continue to coordinate and integrate their scientific activities
  • The emerging science questions/priorities are more complex and transdisciplinary in nature, thus requiring greater attention to the governance of the Programme(s)
  • The challenge is to maintain the broad-base of research for responding to the emerging scientific challenges/opportunites, and to develop the necessary integrating themes for greater uptake of the scientific results in response to the fast emerging needs by decision makers