The WCRP Earth System Modelling and Observations (ESMO) Core Project coordinates, advances, and facilitates all modelling, data assimilation and observational activities within WCRP, working jointly with all other WCRP projects and providing strategic connections to related external programs. It follows a seamless and value chain approach across all Earth system components, disciplines, and scales. The modelling and observational activities under ESMO are central to the provision of science-based climate information to support adaptation planning and decision-making, local and regional climate impact assessments, and national and international mitigation and adaptation policies. ESMO was officially launched by the WCRP Joint Scientific Committee in November 2020.

This call invites the community to nominate candidates (including self-nomination) to become members of the ESMO Scientific Steering Group (SSG).

Involvement in the ESMO SSG brings a range of benefits for participants.  As SSG member you will be involved in the core of the international science community that brings together climate modelling and climate observations, with opportunities that include:

  • Personal career development through exposure to frontier research activities and exchange with the world’s leading climate modelling and observational scientists within WCRP and experts from external programs.
  • Develop and participate in collaborations on climate modelling and observational research.
  • Ensuring WCRP climate modelling and observations activities include expertise and ideas from all research areas within WCRP.
  • Developing and expanding your network of scientific collaborators within the international research community.
  • Having a voice to help strategic planning of WCRP activities at the frontiers of climate modelling and observations.
  • Provide input to coordinated activities on exploiting new and emerging technologies including machine learning, new observing platforms and citizen science contributions.
  • Contributing to the professional development of the next generation of scientists and scholars.

Full details of the ESMO science plan are available on the ESMO website.

ESMO Overview

ESMO has developed three scientific objectives that will underpin and integrate the next decade of climate science modelling, data assimilation and observational activities and will identify a number of cross-cutting themes that will strongly benefit from the coordinated model-observation framework. The objectives are informed by the most pressing shortcomings in our ability of monitoring, predicting, and projecting the climate system from days to centuries and from local to global spatial scales with an aim to advance the core capabilities of the programme. Through the above objectives, ESMO will contribute to our understanding, predictive skills, and improved projections across all components of the climate system.

The objectives are:

  • Advancing predictions and projections of the Earth system on time scales from weeks to centuries via a model-observation integrating framework.
  • Improve monitoring, understanding, and attribution of climate system changes and impacts with robust uncertainty quantification through the synthetic use of models and observations.
  • Advancing and harnessing emerging technologies in modelling and observations. Each of the above objectives requires an internationally coordinated, integrated, and consistent framework combining global Earth system observations, data assimilation and modelling.

ESMO Cross-Cutting Themes

ESMO has identified two initial cross-cutting themes that are central to the WCRP scientific objectives. The first cross-cutting target is to quantify changes in the carbon cycle across timescales and in response to natural and forced change. This cross-cutting theme is part of the wider WCRP focus on changes in water, energy, and carbon cycles, but also entails a range of scientific issues across the ESMO objectives. The second cross-cutting theme will focus on meteorological, oceanic, and hydrological extreme events at a global scale and their improved monitoring and predicting. This second cross-cutting theme will be closely developed with the Global Extremes Platform that is hosted by the WCRP Regional Information for Society (RIfS) Core Project. ESMO, through its SSG will continue to develop further cross-cutting themes as the project and working groups evolve.

ESMO Working Groups and partners

ESMO consist of various Working Groups (WGs), some of which have existed for a longer time and some of which are in the process of being formed. Co-chairs and memberships of the WGs are appointed by the SSG. Co-chairs of the WGs will be ex-officio members of the SSG to ensure consistency in science direction

There are four modelling and prediction WGs that contribute to ESMO’s science plan and develop the various components of modelling in WCRP:

  • Working Group on Coupled Modelling (WGCM). WGCM oversees CMIP through the joint governance of the CMIP panel and the WGCM Infrastructure Panel (WIP) and is supported by the CMIP International Project Office (CMIP-IPO)
  • Working Group on Subseasonal to Interdecadal Prediction (WGSIP).
  • Working Group on Numerical Experimentation (WGNE), jointly supervised by WCRP and the WMO research Board.
  • Sub-seasonal to seasonal Prediction Project (S2S), jointly supervised by WCRP and WWRP. Phase II of S2S will conclude in December 2023. Discussions with WWRP and the S2S leadership have started in order to identify the best approach to retain the S2S community within WCRP.

There is one reanalysis task team that contributes to ESMO’s science plan.

  • Task Team for Intercomparison of ReAnalyses (TIRA).

The role of and activities under this task team will be revised to include all data assimilation aspects in the future. The task team will be converted to a WG.

There is one project on observational aspects that contributes to ESMO’s science plan.

  • Observations for Model Intercomparisons Project (Obs4MIPs).

Two additional observational WGs will be established in the near future.

  • WG on Observational Requirements within WCRP (WGOR)
  • WG on Systematic Errors in observational Data (WGSED)

Within WCRP, ESMO will establish or build on strong collaborations and cross-cutting activities with the observational and modelling panels and working groups of the core projects and LHAs. Such collaborations will ensure efficient communication across WCRP constituencies and communities and remove fragmentation and duplications.

External partners of ESMO include, but are not limited to, the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS); the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS); the CEOS/CGMS Working Group Climate (WG Climate); the World Weather Research Programme (WWRP) and the Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW) of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO); Future Earth; and the Global Carbon Project.

ESMO will foster the collaborations of all its WGs with internal and external partners. ESMO will also connect to broader stakeholders including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) and implementing initiatives such as the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), and WMO operational entities.

The ESMO Scientific Steering Group (SSG)

The science plan of ESMO is implemented through actions designed and managed by the Scientific Steering Group (SSG) under the leadership of three co-chairs, and with the dedicated support of an International Project Office (IPO) that will soon be established. The SSG further coordinates dialogue and collaboration with other activities in the WCRP and engages with representatives of the external partners as well as broader stakeholders.

The SSG will be composed of 10 members who will be appointed for an initial term of 4 years with two possible extensions of two years each, following the WCRP membership guidelines

SSG Responsibilities

  1. To contribute scientific knowledge, experience, and energy in designing, developing, implementing, and overseeing ESMO activities to achieve the overall goals.
  2. To establish new ESMO working groups and coordinate all existing WGs.
  3. To proactively invest in evolving, guiding, and sustaining the ESMO activities to serve the overarching goals of the core project.

SSG members are expected to coordinate the implementation of the ESMO science plan. Examples may include: developing and coordinating workshops, identifying new cross-cutting themes, promoting dialogue with other WCRP groups and external partners.

Time commitment

SSG meetings are expected to take place regularly, typically of 3 hours duration every 3-4 months or at the discretion of the SSG co-chairs, with an annual meeting to review ESMO activities across the WGs and panels. There may be times when there is more or less work, depending on the activities undertaken (e.g., more intensive time demand may be needed with, for example, a workshop or publishing an ESMO paper). SSG meetings are expected to be online, with some face-to-face meetings if it is possible to leverage suitable opportunities. Some out-of-hours work may be required due to time zones.  

Typical additional activities that a SSG member would engage in could include:

  • Attending an ESMO-related workshop (virtually or in person)
  • Additional virtual meetings for dialogue with other parts of WCRP and external stakeholders (5-10 1-hour virtual meetings / year)
  • Document preparation such as a white paper, or guidance document
  • Developing new cross-cutting themes
  • Developing networks
  • Proposal conceptualization and development
  • Presentation about ESMO to other organisations / conferences / meetings
  • Participating in new research activities (if desired)


SSG members are not paid. Financial support to travel and participate in person in regional activities may be available on a case-by-case basis.

The SSG selection process and criteria

We seek nominations that ensure broad diversity of regional representation, gender, career stage, research discipline & expertise, and equitable representation of the global north and south.  Additional selection criteria could include having connections with research activities and/or links with activities of the WCRP.   Nominees should have demonstrable experience in one or more of the following areas:

  • Earth System model development or evaluation experience including engagement in international model intercomparisons.
  • Bringing ES models and observations together through techniques including Data Assimilation, verification, and evaluation methods
  • Homogenization of observational data sets
  • Methodologies and tools for handling observational uncertainties
  • New and emerging technologies in climate science such as machine learning and new observational platforms

The ESMO co-chairs and representative members of the interim-SSG will undertake the shortlisting from the submitted nominations. The identified names will then be submitted to the WCRP Joint Scientific Committee for final approval.

How to apply

If you are interested in joining the SSG, please submit your application via the online form by 26 March 2023. Self-nominations are welcomed. Please circulate and distribute this call among your communities and networks.

Please direct inquiries about the nomination and selection process to Nico Caltabiano (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) at the WCRP Secretariat.