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Science and Goals

The ocean plays a key role in providing a major long-term "memory" for the climate system, generating or enhancing variability on a range of climatic timescales. Understanding the ocean's role in climate variability is therefore crucial for quantifying and harnessing the predictability inherent in the Earth system. US CLIVAR was established as a focused contribution to understand climate issues in the United States with an emphasis on the ocean's role in Earth's climate variability and change. Since its inception, the program has served as the US contribution to the international CLIVAR project of the World Climate Research Program.

Science and Research Challenges

The US CLIVAR research agenda encompasses focused topics across different timescales involving the observational, modeling, and prediction communities of US CLIVAR. Given their complex cross-disciplinary nature, progress in these areas can benefit from US CLIVAR facilitation. Additional topics will be considered and taken on as US CLIVAR makes progress on this set. These topics include Subseasonal-to-Seasonal Prediction, Decadal Variability and Predictability, Climate Change, Climate and Extreme Events, Polar Climate Changes, Climate and Marine Carbon/Biogeochemistry, and Climate at the Coasts.

In the Science Plan, US CLIVAR established a set of goals to address our mission:

  • 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. 

The following activities are part of the core science to address the above goals: