There has been a growing interest in the polar regions in recent years, fuelled by concerns about amplification of anthropogenic climate change. Furthermore, increased economic and transportation activities in polar regions are leading to more demands for sustained and improved availability of integrated observational and predictive weather, climate and water information to support decision-making, on all time scales.
Recognising this, in 2011 the World Meteorological Congress decided to embark on a decadal endeavour – the development of a Global Integrated Polar Prediction System (GIPPS).
Delivering GIPPS will require research to improve process understanding (e.g. polar clouds, sea ice/ocean dynamics, permafrost and ice sheet dynamics), enhance our understanding of polar-lower latitude linkages, optimize the polar observing system, develop data assimilation systems, enhance modelling systems and advance ensemble prediction components to improve predictions across a wide range of time scales.
Two closely related initiatives are underway that aim to contribute to GIPPS:
- The World Weather Research Programme (WWRP) of WMO has established the Polar Prediction Project (PPP), whose mission is to “Promote cooperative international research enabling development of improved weather and environmental prediction services for the polar regions, on time scales from hours to seasonal.”
- The World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) has established the Polar Climate Predictability Initiative (PCPI) which contributes to the development of GIPPS on time scales of a season or beyond.
The International Coordination Office (ICO), hosted by the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz-Centre for Polar and Marine Research, supports the implementation of PPP and ensures coordination with PCPI and other related activities with the aim to advance polar prediction capabilities.