US Climate Variability and Predictability Program



US Climate Variability and Predictability (CLIVAR) is a national research program with a mission to foster understanding and prediction of climate variability and change on intraseasonal-to-centennial timescales, through observations and modeling with emphasis on the role of the ocean and its interaction with other elements of the Earth system, and to serve the climate community and society through the coordination and facilitation of research on outstanding climate questions.  The US CLIVAR Program contributes directly to the broader US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) by coordinating and advancing research within the US to improve the documentation, understanding, modeling and prediction of variations in global and regional climate.  US CLIVAR also provides US research and organizational contributions to the International CLIVAR Program of the World Climate Research Program under United Nations auspices.

US CLIVAR science goals

  • Understand the role of the oceans in observed climate variability on different timescales
  • Understand the processes that contribute to climate variability and change in the past, present, and future
  • Better quantify uncertainty in the observations, simulations, predictions, and projections of climate variability and change
  • Improve the development and evaluation of climate simulations and predictions
  • Collaborate with research and operational communities that develop and use climate information

Coast with cliffs and waves

These goals are addressed through research projects funded by sponsoring Federal agencies to observe, theorize, analyze, model, experiment and synthesize understanding of the climate system, particularly the great uncertainties related to the role of the ocean in climate.  Coordinated research is sponsored to better establish the requirements for sustained climate observing systems, motivate process studies and field work, guide development of earth system models, and enable routine production of forecasts and information products having inherent value to decision makers.

Science planning is guided by the US CLIVAR Scientific Steering Committee (SSC), comprised of representatives from the US community of climate scientists with expertise across a range of disciplines and research methods.  The SSC ensures progress toward program goals and oversees three Panels to implement specific programmatic foci, including phenomena, observations and synthesis; process understanding and model improvement; and predictability, prediction and interface with applications.  The Panels develop and coordinate research plans and activities, and assess achievement using measurable performance metrics (e.g. milestones).

US CLIVAR research is currently supported by participating programs within five Federal agencies including the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Energy (DOE), and the Office of Naval Research (ONR).  A US CLIVAR Inter-Agency Group of program managers from these five agencies coordinates and targets funding and resources to support the research activities of the program.  Four of these agencies, NASA, NOAA, NSF, and DOE sponsor the US CLIVAR Project Office to work with the SSC and its Panels in coordinating science planning, implementing research activities, communicating research advances and needs, and supporting international engagement and collaboration.