The highest-level committee of WCRP is the Joint Scientific Committee (JSC). The JSC is responsible for leading and steering the science and the organization aspects of WCRP, assisted by the WCRP Secretariat. It includes scientists from a wide range of disciplines, both from the natural and social sciences.

The JSC is led by a Chair, who is supported by a Vice-Chair and three Officers. The JSC Chair is accountable for all WCRP actions to the co-sponsors. The Chair, Vice-Chair, and Officers are elected by JSC members from the appointed JSC members. The tenure for each of these roles is two years and can be renewed.

The JSC has up to 18 members (including the Chair). Each member serves an initial term of 4 years that can be renewed by an additional 2 years. The JSC operates through annual meetings involving the chairs of WCRP’s activities, partners, and other invited experts as needed. JSC annual meetings typically involve representatives from all WCRP activities as well as from co-sponsors, partners, and funding agencies. A public part of each JSC meeting is typically accompanied by a closed session where budgets and confidential matters are discussed, and relevant decisions made. The annual meetings are supplemented by more frequent meetings of the JSC, as needed. The JSC leadership (Chair, Vice Chair, and Officers) meets more frequently and as required.