World Climate Research Programme
|The World Meteorological Organization, the International Council for Science and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission|
|Website||WCRP Official website|
The World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) is an international programme that helps to coordinate global climate research. The WCRP was established in 1980, under the joint sponsorship of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the International Council for Science (ICSU), and has also been sponsored by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO since 1993.
The programme is funded by its three sponsors and additional contributions by nation states or other donors. WCRP uses these funds to organize science workshops or conferences and support collaboration between climate scientists at an international level. Its expert groups also develop international standards for climate data and propose future emphasis areas in international climate research, among others.
WCRP's objective is stated as "a better understanding of the climate system and the causes of climate variability and change" and "to determine the predictability of climate; and to determine the effect of human activities on climate". In practice, the programme aims to foster initiatives in climate research which require or benefit from international coordination and which are unlikely to emerge from national efforts alone. The programme does not fund climate research directly, but may at times exchange views with research funding agencies on global research priorities.
The largest group of contributors to WCRP are several thousands of climate scientists from around the world who offer their expertise and time as volunteers to, for example, help organize workshops in key areas of research, lay out avenues for future research in white paper articles, and serve on WCRP science or advisory boards. Official scientific guidance for the programme is provided by a Joint Scientific Committee (JSC) consisting of 18 volunteer scientists selected by mutual agreement between the three sponsoring organizations. Everyday operations are supported by a secretariat of around 8 full-time staff, hosted by the World Meteorological Organization in Geneva.
Activities and projects
WCRP's largest activities are its four "Core Projects" (called SPARC, CLIVAR, CliC, and GEWEX), which support climate research on the global atmosphere, oceans, the cryosphere, and the land surface (together constituting the Earth's physical climate system) as well as interactions and exchanges between them. Each Core Project again has a structure similar to that of WCRP itself, namely contributing scientists, a scientific steering group, and a secretariat ("international project office") hosted by individual countries.
The programme further maintains topical working groups and advisory councils on climate data, climate modelling, subseasonal-to-decadal climate prediction, and regional climate modelling. Additional "Grand Challenges" target specific questions of societal interest within climate science.
One particular output by a WCRP task team is the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project, which standardizes and coordinates regular comparisons of the world's climate models and which provides an important basis for the IPCC Assessment Reports' climate projections.
- World Meteorological Organization (WMO)
- International Council for Science (ICSU)
- Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC/UNESCO)
- Coupled model intercomparison project (CMIP)
- Tropical Ocean-Global Atmosphere program (TOGA)
- Global Climate Observing System (GCOS)
- Future Earth
- Group on Earth Observations (GEO)
- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
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