Future Directions for the World Climate Research Programme

-By Guy Brasseur and David Carlson, WCRP

WCRPAs climate uncertainties increase on many fronts, the international climate research community is taking stock of its current research efforts and developing an evolving set of strategies to address these uncertainties with relevance and skill. The community displays a strong sense of urgency and commitment, even in the face of substantial social, political, and financial obstacles. However, representatives and leaders of the community must address cuts and redistribution of research funding, support the efforts of numerous volunteers, and develop and disseminate a compelling message to sustain the focus and commitment of this valuable research community.

With partners from the national and international assessments community, climate scientists urgently need to evaluate recent research as well as scientific and political outcomes from a mutual and timely vantage point: to view assessment report products in light of ongoing research and, conversely, to scrutinize the directions of ongoing climate research following recent national and international assessments. However, valid concerns have emerged within the research community about the present focus and impact of climate research and about the probable effort and impact of subsequent assessments. These concerns center around the quality of subsequent products: How can the research community ensure substantial rather than incremental improvements, and will the impacts justify the efforts?

To address these concerns, science leaders from the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are in deep collaboration. Together, they have outlined several knowledge gaps.

Speaking for WCRP, we recognize that addressing these knowledge gaps requires continual reexamination. WCRP’s evolution must ensure relevant and timely science outcomes in the context of immediate and longer-term efforts to mitigate climate change while recognizing political and funding challenges.

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Citation: Brasseur, G., and D. Carlson (2015), Future directions for the World Climate Research Programme, Eos, 96, doi:10.1029/2015EO033577. Published on 30 July 2015.