WCRP logoThe World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) “facilitates analysis and prediction of Earth system change for use in a range of practical applications of direct relevance, benefit and value to society. WCRP aims to determine the predictability of climate and the effect of human activities on climate

The WCRP is a three-way joint programme, sponsored and part funded by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), the International Science Council (ISC) and the IOC.

The WCRP is made up of four core projects, each of which have numerous programmes associated with them. The table below highlights the overarching groups and projects within the WCRP and the main point of contact for the UK.


WCRP Groups and the UK Point of Contact
GovernanceRemitPoint of ContactOrganisation
WCRP Joint Scientific Committee (JSC)To provide scientific guidance for WCRP, made up from WMO, ISC and IOC appointed members alongside WCRP group representatives.Pierre Friedlingstein (Liaison for WGCM)University of Exeter
Advisory Councils (AC)WCRP Modelling AC (WMAC)To coordinate high-level aspects of modelling across WCRP, ensuring cooperation with main WCRP partners and acting as a single entry point for all WCRP modelling activities.Neil HarrisCranfield University
WCRP Data AC (WDAC)To act as a focal point for all WCRP data, information, and observation activities with its sister programmes, and to coordinate their high-level aspects across WCRP, ensuring cooperation with partners such as Global Climate Observing System (GCOS), Surface Ocean-Lower Atmosphere Study (SOLAS) and Climate and Ocean - Variability, Predictability, and Change (CLIVAR) amongst other observing programmes.Dorothee BakkerUEA
Working GroupsSubseasonal to interdecadal prediction (WGSIP)To develop a programme of numerical experimentation for subseasonal-to-interdecadal variability and predictability, with an emphasis on assessing and improving predictions.Leon HermansonMet Office
Numerical Experimentation (WGNE)Responsible for the development of Earth system models for use in weather, climate, water and environmental prediction on all time scales, and diagnosing and resolving shortcomings.Nils WediECMWF
Coupled Modelling (WGCM)To foster the development and review of coupled climate models, including the organisation of model intercomparison projects aimed at understanding natural climate variability and predictability on decadal to centennial time scales, and predicting the response of the climate system to changes in natural and anthropogenic forcing.Catherine SeniorMet Office
Regional Climate (WGRC)To prioritize and coordinate regional climate research within WCRP and serve as the conduit for two-way information exchange between WCRP and the various institutions and coordinating bodies that provide climate services, including the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS).Clare GoodessClimatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia
Core ProjectsClimate and Cryosphere (CliC)

Serves as the focal point for climate science related to the cryosphere, its variability and change, and interaction with the broader climate system.

CliC has the responsibility for planning and implementation of the Melting Ice – Global Consequences WCRP Grand Challenge, and does this through the WCRP Polar Climate Predictability Initiative.

Julie JonesUniversity of Sheffield
Climate and Ocean Variability, Predictability and Change (CLIVAR)

To understand the dynamics, the interaction, and the predictability of the climate system with an emphasis on ocean-atmosphere interactions.

CLIVAR leads on the Regional Sea Level Change and Impacts WCRP Grand Challenge.

Magdalena BalmasedaECMWF
Global Water and Energy Exchanges (GEWEX)

To understand the Earth’s water cycle and energy fluxes at and below the surface and in the atmosphere.

GEWEX leads on two of the WCRP Grand Challenges: Water for the Food Baskets of the World; Understanding and Predicting Weather and Climate Extremes.

Gabi HegerlUniversity of Edinburgh
Stratosphere-troposphere Processes And their Role in Climate (SPARC)To coordinate international efforts to bring knowledge of the atmosphere to bear on issues regarding climate variability and prediction.Neil HarrisCranfield University

Grand Challenges



Water for the Food Baskets of the WorldTo focus on assessing how freshwater availability will shift in some of the major food producing regions of the world due to climate change.N/AN/A
Melting Ice & Global ConsequencesTo focus on understanding how melting ice will respond to and feedback on the climate response to increasing greenhouse gases, and what the impacts will be.N/AN/A
Near-term Climate PredictionsTo support research and development to improve multi-year to decadal climate predictions and their utility to decision makers.Adam ScaifeMet Office
Carbon Feedbacks in the climate systemTo assess the durability and persistence of land and ocean carbon sinks.Pierre FriedlingsteinUniversity of Exeter
Weather and Climate ExtremesTo understand: whether existing observations are sufficient to underpin assessments; the roles of small to large scale processes on extreme events; model reliability of extreme events; contributors of extreme events. Extreme events are focused on heavy precipitation, heatwaves, droughts and storms.Gabi HegerlUniversity of Edinburgh
Regional Sea Level Change and Coastal ImpactsTo establish a quantitative understanding of the natural and anthropogenic mechanisms of regional to local sea level variability; to promote advances in observing systems required for an integrated sea level monitoring; and to foster the development of sea level predictions and projections that are of increasing benefit for coastal zone management.Robert NichollsTyndall Centre, University of East Anglia
Clouds, circulation and climate sensitivityTo understand how: clouds couple to circulation; clouds and circulation respond to global warming; cloud feedback in the Earth’s radiation budget.Mark Webb (Climate and hydrological sensitivity)

Met Office


Ted Shepherd (Changing patterns)University of Reading
WCRP Coordinated Regional Climate Downscaling Experiment (CORDEX)To evaluate regional climate model performance through a set of experiments aiming at producing regional climate projections.Andrew Orr (Antarctic region)British Antarctic Survey
Image showing the WCRP seven Grand Challenges
Figure taken from WCRP