Explaining and Predicting Earth System Change A World Climate Research Programme Call to Action

Kirsten L. Findell, Rowan Sutton, Nico Caltabiano, Anca Brookshaw, Patrick Heimbach, Masahide Kimoto, Scott Osprey, Doug Smith, James S. Risbey, Zhuo Wang, Lijing Cheng, Leandro B. Diaz, Markus G. Donat, Michael Ek, June Yi Lee, Shoshiro Minobe, Matilde Rusticucci, Frederic Vitart, Lin Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) envisions a world "that uses sound, relevant, and timely climate science to ensure a more resilient present and sustainable future for humankind."This bold vision requires the climate science community to provide actionable scientific information that meets the evolving needs of societies all over the world. To realize its vision, WCRP has created five Lighthouse Activities to generate international commitment and support to tackle some of the most pressing challenges in climate science today. The overarching goal of the Lighthouse Activity on Explaining and Predicting Earth System Change is to develop an integrated capability to understand, attribute, and predict annual to decadal changes in the Earth system, including capabilities for early warning of potential high impact changes and events. This article provides an overview of both the scientific challenges that must be addressed, and the research and other activities required to achieve this goal. The work is organized in three thematic areas: (i) monitoring and modeling Earth system change; (ii) integrated attribution, prediction, and projection; and (iii) assessment of current and future hazards. Also discussed are the benefits that the new capability will deliver. These include improved capabilities for early warning of impactful changes in the Earth system, more reliable assessments of meteorological hazard risks, and quantitative attribution statements to support the Global Annual to Decadal Climate Update and State of the Climate reports issued by the World Meteorological Organization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E325-E339
JournalBulletin of the American Meteorological Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023


  • Climate models
  • Climate prediction
  • Climate services
  • Decadal variability
  • Ensembles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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