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World Climate Research Programme
Intergovernmental Organisation
The WCRP was established in 1980, under the joint sponsorship of International Council for Science (ICSU) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), and has also been sponsored by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO since 1993. The objectives of the programme are to develop the fundamental scientific understanding of the physical climate system and climate processes needed to determine to what extent climate can be predicted and the extent of human influence on climate. The programme encompasses studies of the global atmosphere, oceans, sea and land ice, and the land surface, which together constitute the Earth's physical climate system. WCRP studies are specifically directed to provide scientifically founded quantitative answers to the questions being raised on climate and the range of natural climate variability, as well as to establish the basis for predictions of global and regional climatic variations and of changes in the frequency and severity of extreme events.

WCRP activities thus address forcefully outstanding issues of scientific uncertainty in the Earth's climate system including transport and storage of heat by the ocean, the global energy and hydrological cycle, the formation of clouds and their effects on radiative transfer, and the role of the cryosphere in climate. These activities match the scientific priorities identified by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and provide the basis for responding to issues raised in the UN Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC). WCRP also lays the scientific foundation for meeting the research challenges posed in Agenda 21. Together with the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP) and the International Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change Programme (IHDP), WCRP provides the international framework for scientific cooperation in the study of global change.