ISC Affiliated Body the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) looked to the future in 2020, to move from the strategies outlined in the WCRP Strategic Plan 2019-2028 to a structure and research priorities that aim to address the urgent challenges and take advantage of the opportunities that society faces now and will face in the future. In line with this aim, two social scientists joined the WCRP Scientific Committee during 2020.
After extensive groundwork, it was agreed in December 2020 that WCRP will establish two new core projects: Earth System Modelling and Observations and Regional Information for Society. These two projects will ensure that modelling and data efforts are well integrated across WCRP and that the climate information from all WCRP activities is accessible, useful and useable. The WCRP community also established five new Lighthouse Activities, which will tackle critical issues over the next decade:
- Explaining and Predicting Earth System Change: Explaining, predicting and gaining an early warning of changes in the Earth system.
- My Climate Risk: Assessing and explaining regional climate risk to deliver climate information that is meaningful at the local scale.
- Safe Landing Climates: Exploring the routes to climate-safe landing ‘spaces’ for human and natural systems.
- Digital Earths: Creating digital and dynamic representations of climate in the Earth system that can be openly explored and accessed in new and innovative ways.
- WCRP Academy: Bringing together existing and facilitating new climate research and education opportunities to prepare for a new generation of climate scientists and leaders.
To ensure that communities around the world have a voice in WCRP priorities, the Programme established a series of Climate Research Forums in 2020, with over 50 Regional Focal Points from around the world. Building on this, planning has started for a WCRP Open Science Conference in 2023 that will have a focus on bridging climate science and society.