WCRP organizes meetings, workshops and conferences to coordinate and facilitate climate research. The research itself is done by individual scientists working in national and regional institutes, laboratories and universities. WCRP committees, working groups and projects, assisted by the Joint Planning Staff (JPS), are the main vehicles for setting the research agenda and mobilizing the broader research community on specific activities.
The Joint Scientific Committee (JSC) for WCRP, composed of 18 members who are appointed by the WCRP sponsors, formulates the overall scientific goals and concepts of the Programme. The work of the JSC is supported by the JPS, which is hosted by WMO in Geneva, Switzerland.
Understanding and predicting climate variability and change requires comprehensive investigation of all major components of the climate system (the atmosphere, hydrosphere, oceans, land and cryosphere). WCRP studies these components and their interactions through the activities of its Core Projects.
Past Core Projects include the Tropical Ocean Global Atmosphere (TOGA) project, which developed the foundations for prediction of El Niño; the World Ocean Circulation Experiment (WOCE), which provided the first consistent picture of the global ocean circulation; and the Arctic Climate System Study (ACSYS), which demonstrated the possibility of intensified climate warming in the northern high latitudes.
The WCRP current Core Projects work closely with the JPS for WCRP. The Projects organize their work through various initiatives, experiments, and their respective scientific advisory committees and workshops.
The WCRP modelling activities are coordinated by the Modelling Advisory Council (WMAC). There are three modelling and prediction groups:
- the Working Group on Coupled Modelling (WGCM);
- the Working Group on Seasonal to Interannual Prediction (WGSIP);
- the Working Group on Numerical Experimentation (WGNE)
The WCRP Data Advisory Council (WDAC) acts as a single entry point for all WCRP data, information, and observation activities with its sister programmes, and will coordinate their high-level aspects across the WCRP, ensuring cooperation with main WCRP partners such as GCOS and other observing programmes.
The newly established Working Group on Regional Climate (WGRC) will prioritize and coordinate regional climate research within the WCRP and serve as the conduit for two-way information exchange between the WCRP, and the various institutions and coordinating bodies that provide climate service including the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS).