Progress on WCRP's Grand Challenges, 
the future of climate research after COP21
and success for CMIP6!
WCRP NEWS: March 2016 (1)
Welcome to our new-look WCRP newsletter!
We bring you news from WCRP Director, David Carlson, on progress towards meeting WCRP's Grand Challenges, on what COP21 means for future climate research and on the latest from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 6. If you like a challenge, we have the perfect opportunity for you to join the ranks of the great explorers or you can shape the future by being a part of the CLIVAR Open Science Conference or ICRC–CORDEX 2016.

Director's News

David Carlson

Grand challenges in science and communications

Most of you know the Grand Challenges that our community have identified. In July of last year Guy Brasseur and I published an article for Earth & Space Science News that discussed Future directions for the WCRP. Working from the 'Lessons Learnt for Climate Change Research' meeting in 2014, our article confirmed the urgent Grand Challenge topics but called for increased attention to ocean heating and circulation, prediction on decadal time scales and direct incorporation of biogeochemical cycles. We also reported  a continuing and expanding need for better and more systematic sources of and access to data.

In that same article we recognized that, despite focus and relevance of the WCRP Grand Science Challenges, we had a weak record of public engagement. This newsletter responds directly to our communication challenges. We plan to enhance communication within WCRP and among the research community to facilitate cooperative and collaborative climate research. Externally, we will work with all of you to support the continuing – indeed growing – need for fundamental climate research. Very recent events remind us of the fragile nature of our coalition: we remain highly vulnerable to adverse decisions in any nation. Our strength derives from the optimistic sense of urgency and possibility that we observe in this community and that we will do our best to share and convey.

COP21: What does it mean for climate research?

If you read AGU’s Editors' Vox you will know that Guy Brasseur did us a strong favor by reminding the American Geophysical Union community of WCRP’s continuing focus on climate Grand Challenges. He did that in part because he and I share the concern that, in the glow of the Paris agreement, attention and resources will move away from fundamental climate research. In the COP21 preamble the mandate for “the widest possible cooperation by all countries and their participation in an effective and appropriate international response” basically shouts the need for WCRP’s advanced international research. Across the 140 paragraphs that follow we find repeated examples where progress and monitoring of progress depends on skillful modelling and reliable observations. The necessary research involves a sharpened effort by our community to predict how the climate system will respond to adverse or favorable emission trajectories and enhanced partnerships with ecological and social sciences. If nations or the general public have relaxed their attention to climate change, based on a ‘problem solved’ assumption, the agreement itself presents a strong ‘attention needed’ message.

CMIP6 leads the way in model intercomparison and community effort

The Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (MIP) Phase 6 (CMIP6) community, under the able leadership of Veronika Eyring and the CMIP Panel, has submitted its overall design and descriptions of the various MIPs to the journal of Geoscientific Model Development (GMD) (Eyring et al., 2015).  There you can read the proposed modelling approaches to persistent problems (clouds, carbon cycle), new attempts (ice sheet contributions to sea level), strengthened attention to regional processes (monsoons) including an innovative high-resolution MIP, and a more visible and inclusive approach to scenarios.  All of this available in open access – nice!  CMIP6 represents a huge effort in terms of time, output and people: in the GMD article Veronika estimates 40,000 model simulation years and 20 to 40 Petabytes of model output.  Our analysis of CMIP impact on climate research shows that 40% of the research papers in Journal of Climate during 2014 explicitly mention CMIP.  

I don’t know another community that puts such a large effort into intercomparison and exchange and that sustains such a remarkable effort through community motivation.


Are you up to the challenge?

Have you ever wished you could be a great explorer like Robert Falcon Scott, Ernest Shackleton or Roald Amundsen? Would you go to great depths to succeed? Yes? Then we have the perfect challenge for you. A polar challenge!

WCRP and the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation (FPA2) are jointly promoting a Polar Challenge to reward the first team to complete a 2000 km continuous mission with an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) under the Arctic or Antarctic sea ice. The prize details and the start of the competition will be officially announced at the Arctic Science Summit Week on 15 March 2016 in Fairbanks, USA.
Yes, it is exciting. However, this initiative also aims to address an important scientific issue. In situ ocean observations in polar regions are inherently expensive, risky and sparse, and even more so under sea ice. A new paradigm is required to complement remotely sensed Earth observations. WCRP and FPA2 aim to promote technological innovation towards a future cost-effective, autonomous and scalable observing network for sea-ice covered regions based on a fleet of AUVs. This initiative will have a tremendous impact in shaping future climate research and services in the polar regions and could revolutionize our knowledge of climate change in these areas.

CLIVAR 2016: shaping the future of coupled ocean-atmosphere research

Abstract submission is now open for the CLIVAR (Climate and Ocean: Variability, Predictability and Change) Open Science Conference. This is a fantastic opportunity for the international climate community to collectively shape the coupled ocean–atmosphere system research agenda by reviewing current progress in understanding ocean-atmosphere dynamics, prioritizing international research plans and initiating new collaborations. Key themes include: 'ocean’s role in the climate system', 'climate variability and predictability', 'understanding ocean and climate processes', 'the ocean in a warmer world' and 'climate information and sustainable development and future of climate and ocean science'. Alongside the main conference, the CLIVAR Early Career Scientists Symposium (ECSS) (18 and 24–25 September) offers 3 days of scientific presentations, career building workshops and the opportunity to network with peers and senior scientists.The full scientific programme is available on the conference website.

NOTE: Abstract submission and applications for support and to attend the ECSS close 15 March 2016. So mark your calendar and get that abstract in!

ICRC-CORDEX 2016: making climate data make a difference

We look forward to meeting the international community in Stockholm, Sweden, in May of this year at the International Conference on Regional Climate (ICRC)–Coordinated Regional Downscaling Experiment (CORDEX) 2016. Focusing on high resolution climate information, and its applications to the vulnerability, impacts and adaptation community, ICRC–CORDEX 2016 will provide a forum for discussion for the full spectrum of potential end users of regional climate information.  This promotes the CORDEX vision to advance and coordinate the science and application of regional climate downscaling through global partnerships. Come along and help CORDEX meet the challenge of making scientifically rigorous climate information available for effective impact and adaptation planning!

Abstract submission is now closed and registration is open. Register on the website before 17 March 2016 to get the early bird rate!

New faces

We extend a warm welcome to:
Lawrence Hislop
Lawrence Hislop

At the end of 2015 Lawrence took over as Director of WCRP's Climate and Cryosphere Project (CliC).
Lawrence, we look forward to working with you! 
Gaby Langendijk
Gaby Langendijk

At the beginning of February 2016 Gaby joined the WCRP Joint Planning Staff as a Consultant. Her duties mainly focus on urban climate and early career scientist networks.
Get more news and science highlights on our website
Check us out on YouTube!


Global Climate Observation: The Road to the Future
2–4 March 2016
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Registration now closed
Detailed programme available on the website
ESA–CliC Earth Observation and Cryosphere Science 2016
10–13 May 2016
Prague, Czech Republic

Part of the 2016 European Space Agency Living Planet Symposium

Abstract submission now closed
Registration is open until 22 April 2016

The International Conference on Regional Climate (ICRC)–CORDEX 2016
17–20 May 2016
Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract submission now closed
Registration now open
Early bird rate until 17 March 2016

The 13th International Meeting on Statistical Climatology
6–10 June 2016
Canmore, Alberta, Canada

Pre-registration before 31 March 2016

CLIVAR Open Science Conference
“Charting the Course for Climate and Ocean Research"
18–25 September 2016
Qingdao, China

Abstract submission now open
Closes on 15 March 2016


International Symposium on the Cryosphere in a Changing Climate
12–17 February 2017
Wellington, New Zealand

Save the date!
First circular available


Links to conference websites in green
March 2016
2–4 Global Climate Observation: The Road to the Future
2–4 The International Science Conference (ISC) on MAHASRI (Monsoon Asian Hydro–Atmosphere Scientific Research and Prediction Initiative)
79 6th Meeting of the CEOS/CGMS Working Group on Climate (WGClimate–6)
711 Workshop on Dynamics, Transport and Chemistry of the UTLS (Upper Troposphere–Lower Stratosphere) Asian Monsoon
1218 Arctic Science Summit Week
1618 Biogeochemical Exchange Processes at Sea Ice Interfaces (BEPSII) Meeting
April 2016
58 Atmospheric Observation Panel for Climate (AOPC) Meeting
515 WWRP/WCRP/Bolin Center Polar Prediction School
68 Nineteenth Session of the GCOS–GOOS–WCRP Ocean Observations Panel for Climate
78 5th Session of the WCRP Data Advisory Council (WDAC)
1114 Sub-seasonal to Seasonal (S2S)/Madden-Julian Oscillation Task Force (MJO–TF) Maritime Continent Workshop
11–15 WMO Expert Team on Operational Predictions from Sub-seasonal to Longer-time Scales (ET–OPSLS) Meeting
16 Glacier Model Intercomparison Project (MIP) Workshop at EGU
1722 European Geosciences Union General Assembly (EGU)
2526 SPARC Atmospheric Temperature Changes Workshop
2526 5th Session of the WCRP Modeling Advisory Council
2527 37th Session of the WCRP Joint Steering Committee Session (JSC–37)
2527 Terrestrial Observation Panel for Climate (TOPC) Session XVIII
2528 2nd Workshop on Stratospheric Sulfur and its Role in Climate
2629 14th Baseline Surface Radiation Network (BSRN) Scientific Review and Workshop
2629 31st Session of the CAS/WCRP Working Group on Numerical Experimentation (WGNE)
May 2016
35 North American Regional Climate Effort Workshop (GEWEX)
46 PCPI Polar Prediction Workshop 2016
1011 SPECS PREFACE WCRP Workshop on Initial Shock, Drift, and Bias Adjustment in Climate Prediction
1013 Adaption Futures 2016
1013 ESA–CliC Earth Observation and Cryosphere Science 2016
12 WCRP Decadal Climate Prediction Project – Panel Meeting
1618 Marine Ice Sheet–Ocean Model Intercomparison Project (MISOMIP) – Rising Coastal Seas on a Warming Earth II Workshop
1620 Atmospheric Gravity Waves: Sources and Effects on Weather and Climate
1719 Polar Climate Predictability Initiative (PCPI) Workshop on Feedbacks in Polar Regions and the Way they are Represented in Climate Models
1720 The International Conference on Regional Climate (ICRC)–CORDEX 2016
2325 Polar Prediction Project Steering Group Meeting
2427 Joint GAW/SPARC Workshop on UT/LS observations
June 2016
13 2nd PannEx Workshop on the Climate System of the Pannonian Basin
610 The 13th International Meeting on Statistical Climatology
610 SPARC Dynamical Variability (DynVar) Workshop and SPARC Reanalysis Intercomparison Project (S–RIP) Meeting
617 Dynamical Core Model Intercomparison Project (DCMIP) Workshop and Summer School
1317 1st Baltic Earth Conference
16 Working Group Lead/Co-lead Meeting of the Permafrost Carbon Network at ICOPXI
1819 Permafrost Young Researchers Workshop at ICOPXI
2022 Earth's Hydrological Sensitivity to Climate Change Workshop: Understanding the Sensitivity of Hydrological Processes to a Changing Climate
2024 International Conference on Permafrost (ICOP) XI
2830 GEWEX–SoilWat Initiative: First Planning Workshop
August 2016
718 SCAR 2016 Open Science Conference
September 2016
1215 WGNE/SPARC Workshop on Drag Processes and Links to Large Scale Circulation
1825 CLIVAR Open Science Conference, "Charting the Course for Climate and Ocean Research" and Early Career Scientists Symposium
1923 Southern Ocean Region Panel Workshop at CLIVAR OSC
2630 SPARC QBO and Tropical S–RIP Workshop "The QBO and its Global Influence – Past, Present and Future"
2630 MedCLIVAR 2016 Conference
October 2016
35 GEWEX Hydroclimatology Panel (GHP) Meeting 2016
35 GEWEX Global Land/Atmosphere System Study (GLASS) Meeting 2016
1719 SPARC Data Assimilation Workshop
1921 SPARC S–RIP Workshop 2016
314 Nov 24th SPARC Scientific Steering Group Meeting
November 2016
718 WCRP Working Group on Seasonal to Interannual Prediction (WGSIP) Session 18 and Summer School
February 2017
610 GEWEX Scientific Steering Group Meeting 29
1217 International Symposium on the Cryosphere in a Changing Climate
For more information see the WCRP Calendar

Organizing a WCRP-related meeting or event that is not listed here? Let us know!
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