An overview of the 38th Session of the Joint Scientific Committee (JSC-38) in Paris, France - 3-7 April 2017. A complete overview of the official meeting is now available!
The first official day of the 38th Session of the Joint Scientific Committee (JSC) began with parallel sessions outlining the status of WCRP’s Core Projects. The Core Project Chairs outlined new activities, science priorities and issues, such as how to work better with other WCRP groups, how to collaborate with other organizations to minimize overlap of interests and how to respond to the recent funding cuts to the Programme. Regarding the latter, it was clear that the Core Projects have a great deal of enthusiasm and do not need extensive funding to operate. However, they do need sufficient support to effectively run the International Project Offices and some additional seed money to get people together. The current reduction in funding means that some activities in 2017-18 will no longer be viable.
After lunch the 38th Session was officially opened by JSC Chair, Guy Brasseur, with brief talks from the three WCRP Co-sponsors. Vladmir Ryabinin, Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO) Executive Secretary, talked about how WCRP is the “international think tank for climate” and about the future possibilities for WCRP and IOC-UNESCO to work together in relation to oceans. The Deputy Secretary General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), Elena Manaenkova, discussed the importance of WCRP in navigating the path to address future climate variability. She stated that, “we need to close the gap between research and services”. Lastly, Executive Director of the International Council for Science (ICSU), Heide Hackmann, talked about the changes occurring within ICSU and the need for an “international voice for science”. All three co-sponsors reiterated the importance of WCRP as an international voice of climate research.
Subsequent talks by Florin Vladu, Science Liaison from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Stephen Briggs, Chairman of the Global Observing System for Climate (GCOS) Steering Committee, Valérie Masson-Delmotte, Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Working Group I and Marie-France Loutre, Executive Director of Past Global Changes (PAGES), showed that WCRP has developed excellent relationships in the observations-research-assessment-policy chain and that there are opportunities for greater future collaboration. The day ended with a talk from Guy Brasseur, which fueled discussion as to the future of WCRP post 2020. Is there a need to simplify the structure of WCRP? What is working and not working? How does the Programme effectively present itself to the world? These discussions continued throughout the meeting.
Day two of the JSC Session was about regions, modeling, observations and Grand Challenges. As discussed by Guy Brasseur, the scoping group on a framework for regional activities met last October in Hamburg and put together recommendations to facilitate WCRP’s regional activities (see the 'Scoping a framework for WCRP regional activities' report). The Coordinated Regional Climate Downscaling Experiment (CORDEX), the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP), the WCRP Modelling Advisory Council (WMAC) and the WCRP Data Advisory Council (WDAC) reported on their activities and the main scientific and logistical challenges that they currently face. Financial challenges given the recent cut in funding were seen as critical to all. In the afternoon the WCRP Grand Challenges all gave status updates, with progress highlights and future plans. For more information please take a look at the presentations that are now linked to the JSC Session agenda.
The third and last official day of the 38th JSC Session began with a discussion about the future of WCRP. The current funding situation and probable restructuring within WMO indicate that changes to WCRP are underway. The Community responded with caution and indicated the need to be proactive in responding to current uncertainties.
After coffee WCRP communication consultant Narelle van der Wel discussed the draft WCRP Communication Strategy and highlighted the need to showcase WCRP’s science products in order to increase Programme visibility. This was followed by a talk by Tom Beer, Chair of the Union Commission on Climatic and Environmental Change (CCEC) of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG), outlining IUGG activities relevant to WCRP and identifying potential partnerships. The Session closed before lunch.
The 39th Session of the Joint Scietific Committee will be held in Nanjing, China, in 2018.