13-17 December 2021 | New Orleans, USA
WCRP is looking forward to participating in the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting 2021. More details will be added here in due course, but we will be convening a WCRP Town Hall and there will be a number of WCRP co-sponsored sessions.
WCRP Sessions at AGU
The World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) invites you to review and discuss its new programme addressing urgent challenges in climate science. We will introduce the new WCRP Lighthouse Activities, aimed at generating decision-relevant climate information in support of society and designed to lead the way in addressing frontier scientific questions related to the coupled climate system — problems that are too large and too complex to be tackled by a single nation, agency or scientific discipline. The new WCRP will advance exciting research on all aspects of the climate system and the use of climate information for a wide range of applications. Through international science coordination and partnerships, WCRP will advance our understanding of the multi-scale dynamic interactions between natural and social systems that affect climate and are affected by changes in climate. WCRP science underpins evidence-based decision-making and policies and supports global agreements and objectives such as the Paris Climate Agreement and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
This Town Hall will review the relevance and importance of the role that the WCRP plays, in terms of advancing climate science, supporting the infrastructure and scientific capacity of our workforce, and assisting society to respond to climate challenges.
The prevailing paradigm for regional climate risk assessment has been “predict then act”, with contextualization of climate information performed mainly as a post-processing step. There has been increasing recognition of the limitations of this paradigm, which are especially apparent at the regional and local scale. Yet there is very often a wealth of climate information relevant to climate risk available at the various scales, e.g., from historical knowledge of extreme events. The science challenge is bridging between the global and the local sources of information and making the information meaningful for specific applications.
One way of tackling this challenge is to start from the decision context, and only bring in the climate information that is relevant to the already uncertain and complex specific risk landscape. This perspective inverts the construction of climate information, making it necessarily contextual. The approach has been gaining traction around the world in recent years. Experience shows that to be effective it needs to happen through self-sustaining, locally based Communities of Practice, rather than through limited term externally driven projects. The goal of the WCRP Lighthouse Activity ‘My Climate Risk’ is to mainstream the approach and help empower local and regional actors to develop their own Communities of Practice, drawing on the full wealth of climate information from across the global community.
The purpose of this session is to draw on and learn from the experience of groups already engaged in this sort of bottom-up, locally driven approach to climate risk, to help guide the development of the ‘My Climate Risk’ Lighthouse Activity. Studies are welcomed that discuss both the benefits and the challenges of developing such Communities of Practice based on actual experience, including not only scientific aspects (e.g., quality assurance, climate information development) but also ethical ones (e.g., power structures, trust).
This session aligns with one of the main strategic goals of the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) to develop climate information for decision-makers on a local to regional scale and, more generally, to bridge climate science and society. In addition, the session accords with the AGU main strategic goal of catalyzing discovery and solutions to scientific and societal challenges, particularly acknowledging that discovery and solution-based science requires collaboration and communication across physical and disciplinary boundaries.
To facilitate diversity amongst the participants and achieve the largest possible global reach, the session will be virtual-only.
Now, more than ever, the world needs climate scientists. Climate expertise is particularly needed in countries most vulnerable to the negative impacts of climate change. Although there is a large amount of excellent climate science training available around the world, access to this training is uncoordinated and dependent on factors other than the skill or need of those who need to access it. Barriers to access to training are primarily geographical and financial.
Throughout the COVID-19 global pandemic, the quality and quantity of training that has been provided using virtual tools has been astonishing. The future for global climate science training looks bright, with these same tools making it possible for the best and brightest early career researchers to benefit from training that meets their needs delivered from institutions around the world. The new WCRP Academy lighthouse activity seeks to use this moment of transformation to deliver a step-change in our ability to connect learners and educators around the world. The ambition of the Academy is to be the first global marketplace for climate science training, helping researchers to learn about and access training and training institutions to build sustainable courses that can be delivered in-person, blended or virtually.
This session will be part of our first global climate science training stock-take. The stock-take will establish what training is needed and where and how that training might be delivered. We plan an innovative session that mixes invited presentations from:
- leading organisations already delivering climate science training,
- online and blended learning pioneers, and
- early career researchers from around the world,
with a town-hall style discussion that allows AGU members and conference attendees to give their views and feedback on development of the WCRP Academy to date and the state of climate science training. Moderators will ensure that the discussion reveals the areas where there is a deficit of training and the barriers to greater training uptake. Virtual participation from around the world will be vital to furthering our understanding of the training task at hand and also serve to demonstrate what is possible in the new post-COVID world.
The WCRP Academy in general and this special session aligns very strongly with AGU strategic goals of Global Collaboration and Science Education. Our aim to connect early career researchers with the best climate science educators regardless of geography or financial support exemplifies the open and diverse scientific culture that AGU seeks to promote.
This session explores climate projections and routes to climate-safe landing spaces for human and natural systems in both the near- and long-term. There is a special emphasis on CMIP6 highlights and lessons learned, insights from the new WCRP Lighthouse activity and research focused on the near-term rate of warming. Specific topics include: insights from historical simulations; the role of short-lived climate forcers including aerosol unmasking; decadal prediction and internal variability; physical, societal, and ecological impacts such as damages to agriculture, health, water availability, habitats, and habitability of coasts; metrics for dangerous climate change; climate-related global tail risks, or high-impact events that could have significant consequences for humanity but are currently uncertain or poorly modelled; adaptation efficiency and limits; mitigation assessments based on climate policy goals, negative emissions, and idealized analyses; and reversibility of the anthropogenic perturbation.
Co-sponsored sessions and presentations
There are over 600 WCRP co-sponsored presentations at AGU. See the AGU website for the full list.