After extensive consultation with the WCRP leadership and the WCRP community, it was agreed at the Extraordinary Session of the Joint Scientific Committee in December 2020 to, in principle, move towards a new structure. The transition to a new structure was for the most part completed by mid-2021, except for the establishment of several new project offices that are needed to support new core activities.
Key points that were considered during the transition to a new structure:
- Overseeing the science direction of WCRP is the Joint Scientific Committee, or JSC. “Joint” refers to the fact that the WCRP has three sponsors: the World Meteorological Organization; the International Science Council, and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO.
- The WCRP Secretariat supports both the JSC and WCRP’s research activities and groups.
- The yellow pillars represent the foundation of WCRP, which are our scientific communities – across oceans, cryosphere, land and atmospheric science domains; process studies, modelling and observations; and regional climate information. While meeting our research priorities requires these discipline-based communities to work together to advance multi-disciplinary research, these communities also need a home where their capabilities are nurtured and sustained. These homes are currently our Core Projects and CORDEX. As part of our implementation:
- Our Core Projects will be doing their own review and assessment to consider ways that they can refurbish and renovate their disciplinary homes. But regardless, our structure will always ensure that these enduring core capabilities will be represented in our structure
- We are proposing the addition of two new “homes”: One for our Earth System Modelling and Observational Capabilities and one for our Regional Climate Information for Societies. These new homes reflect the contemporary research needs of WCRP: i.e. the fusion of models and data; and the importance of regional information that meets societal needs.
- A new initiative are the Lighthouse Activities – these are major experiments, or high-level projects, or infrastructure building blocks that are critically important for addressing our research (Implementation) priorities and our scientific objectives. Lighthouse Activities are where much of the multi-disciplinary research will be done – drawing on all of the capabilities across our WCRP communities.
- Our International (Project) Offices will continue to support our WCRP Communities, but may also support the Lighthouse Activities. This needs further consideration.
- It is very important to say that there are many other ongoing activities and fora that WCRP will continue to do – under both the Lighthouse Activities and by the WCRP communities.