The World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), sponsored by the International Council for Science (ICSU), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO, is uniquely positioned to draw on the totality of climate-related systems, facilities and intellectual capabilities of more than 185 countries. Integrating new observations, research facilities and scientific breakthroughs is essential to progress in the inherently global task of advancing understanding of the processes that determine our climate. The two overarching objectives of the WCRP are:
1. to determine the predictability of climate; and
2. to determine the effect of human activities on climate.
These two objectives underpin and directly address the needs of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and contribute to many other international policy instruments. To achieve its objectives, the WCRP adopts a multi-disciplinary approach, organizes large-scale observational and modelling projects and facilitates focus on aspects of climate too large and complex to be addressed by any one nation or single scientific discipline.
Today, the WCRP encompasses studies of the global atmosphere, oceans, sea- and land-ice, the biosphere and the land surface, which together constitute the Earth's climate system. The four major core projects, diverse working groups, various cross-cutting activities and many co-sponsored activities of the WCRP are designed to improve scientific understanding and knowledge of processes that in turn result in better forecasts and hence benefits to users of climate research.
The Joint Scientific Committee (JSC)
Scientific guidance for the WCRP is provided by the Joint Scientific Committee, consisting of 18 scientists selected by mutual agreement between the three sponsoring organizations and representing climate-related disciplines in atmospheric, oceanic, hydrological and cryospheric sciences. Implementation of WCRP's programme takes place through the Joint Planning Staff (JPS) in Geneva and Paris, in the International Project Offices (IPOs) and co-opted contributors from many agencies. Each project has a Scientific Steering Group (SSG; see 'Activities & Projects'). An Agreement among our three sponsors defines the WCRP's Objectives and the JSC's Terms of Reference (see Agreement).
The JSC conducts its business by holding annual sessions to which JSC members, Chairs and Directors of WCRP Projects, ESSP projects, START and other experts and representatives are invited.