Department of Atmospheric Science Professor James Hurrell has been selected to serve on the Joint Scientific Committee (JSC) of the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP). Hurrell, who is also the Scott Presidential Chair in Environmental Science and Engineering in the Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering, will be one of two members on the committee from the U.S.
“My personal research agenda is very strongly aligned with the mission of WCRP,” said Hurrell, who has been involved with WCRP through other roles, including co-chair of the international Climate and Ocean: Variability, Predictability and Change (CLIVAR) Scientific Steering Group and co-chair of the U.S. CLIVAR project. His research focuses on empirical and modeling studies and diagnostic analyses to better understand climate, climate variability and climate change.
The Joint Scientific Committee (JSC) provides scientific guidance for WCRP and its primary goals of determining the predictability of climate and the effect of human activities on climate. The international organization plans initiatives, 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.
The WCRP is sponsored by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the International Science Council (ISC) and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO, and these organizations together select the scientists for the JSC. JSC members are chosen based on a balance of discipline, career stage, geography and gender diversity. The committee’s diverse membership spans the globe, with its 18 scientists representing every continent except Antarctica.
Hurrell calls this a very important and exciting time for WCRP, as the program develops its strategic and implementation plans for the coming decade. The plans will support fundamental research and ensure that the climate information needed to plan for and respond to climate variability and change is available and accessible to all.
“I am honored and excited to serve on the JSC, because I understand the value WCRP brings to the community, and the science it facilitates and promotes has never been more important,” Hurrell said. “I also strongly back WCRP efforts to promote current and future leadership in climate science by engaging and supporting early career researchers from all regions in the world – a necessity in order to build a sustainable climate research community.”
Hurrell begins his four-year term on the committee Jan. 1, the same date he takes on the role of president of the Atmospheric Sciences section of the American Geophysical Union. Though it will be a busy time, Hurrell eagerly anticipates the important work he will have the opportunity to do in these capacities.