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CliC News

Here's what has been happening lately in CliC. Let us know if you have things to share.

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ISMIP6 Workshop, August 19, 2015, in Cambridge, UK

-Contributed by Sophie Nowicki - ISMIP6 is a CliC sponsored activity

ismip6logo BWA workshop will be held in Cambridge, UK on Wednesday afternoon, 19 August 2015 from 2pm – 5:30 pm in Churchill College (Storey’s Way, Cambridge CB3 0DS, UK), during the free afternoon of the International Glaciological Society’s International Symposium on Contemporary Ice-Sheet Dynamics.

This meeting will focus on one of the components of ISMIP6: the standalone ice sheet models driven offline by surface climatic forcing from climate models. Past efforts, such as SeaRISE and ice2sea, have indicated that different methods for initialization of ice sheet models (interglacial spinup, assimilation of present day observations, or a combination of both) may play an important role in the spread in projection of ice sheet evolution, and thus may contribute to the uncertainty in projection of sea level. ISMIP6 is therefore designing an experiment that focuses on the initialization of ice sheet models.

The agenda for the meeting is:
- Presentation of the responses to the initialization questionnaire, with a particular focus on datasets being used.
- Discuss the current design of the experiment on initialization, which builds on the feedback received at the ISMIP6 Splinter meeting at EGU (April 2015).
- Identify synergies between ISMIP6 and ISMASS.  

The initialization questionnaire for ice sheet models has been send to the ISMIP6 mailing list, but can also be obtained here. It should be returned to Tony Payne ideally by 27 July 2015, so that your responses can be included in the workshop.

SOOS/WCRP/ESA workshop on Southern Ocean air-sea fluxes in Frascati in September 2015

soosThe SOOS/WCRP/ESA workshop on Southern Ocean air-sea fluxes:Strategies and Requirements for Detecting Physical and Biogeochemical Exchanges:Strategies and Requirements for Detecting Physical and Biogeochemical Exchanges will be held in Frascati, Italy, 21-23 September, 2015.

The workshop is motivated by a goal to improve air-sea flux estimates in the Southern Ocean and Antarctic marginal seas, though the issues addressed in the workshop will also have a global reach.  A 5-part agenda is anticipated:
1. Science applications for air-sea flux estimates.
2. A brief review of challenges associated with existing flux products
3. New opportunities that will enable forward progress (including in situ observations, remote sensing, assimilation/modeling).
4. Workshop outcome #1:  Defining requirements for essential climate variables and essential ocean variables for air-sea exchange.
5. Workshop outcome #2:  Planning for a pilot observing system

Details about the workshop, including a registration form, are posted on the SOOS web site.

The deadline for registration is August 15, 2015. There is no registration fee for the workshop, but note that lunches and the conference dinner will be organized on a "no-host" basis.  Participants are responsible for their own travel and hotel arrangements; please see the website for more information on accommodation and transportation. A hotel and taxi booking form is available on the website as well.

WCRP/WWRP International Prize for Model Development 2015

1-wcrp-wwrpCall for Nominations – due date for nominations is 1 October 2015

As the demand for more accurate regional weather and seasonal predictions as well as climate projections increases the need to improve the weather and climate models that underpin those predictions and projections becomes more urgent.

In recognition of the essential role model development plays to weather and climate science, the WCRP and WWRP are seeking nominations for the “WCRP/WWRP International Prize for Model Development”. The prize will be awarded annually for an outstanding contribution to weather and climate model development by an early- to mid-career researcher. It comprises a certificate signed by the Chairs of the WCRP JSC and WWRP SSC as well as funding for the recipient to present the results of their research at a major relevant conference or meeting of their choice.

Selection Criteria:

Candidates should:

  1. Be within the first ten years of their career as measured by receipt of a PhD or equivalent highest qualification
  2. Have made a significant contribution to the development of a model with a demonstrable impact on the model results
  3. Have made a significant contribution to the wider community such as publications, editorships, organizing/convening activities, operational implementation or strong engagement in national and international modelling programmes

Selection process:

The candidates should be nominated by filling in the nomination form (PDF version) or (Word version) provided in the Appendix. This includes a statement from the proposer (preferably a person with a good knowledge of the candidates work) and as well as from a seconder. These statements should specifically address the above criteria. This should be supported by up to 3 papers or technical notes documenting the model improvement and evidence of the candidate’s individual contribution, as well as the candidate’s CV.

Nominations should be sent by email to the WCRP ( ) and WWRP ( ) offices at WMO and must be received before 1 October 2015. The winner will be announced within 6 weeks of the nomination closing date.

If no suitable candidate is found, the prize will not be awarded.

Polar Prediction School Applications Due 21 July

2016 abisko ppfs2We would like to call your attention to the WWRP/WCRP/Bolin Centre Polar Prediction School that will be held at the Abisko Field Station in Arctic Sweden from 5-15 April 2016 (next year) sponsored by WWRP, WCRP, and the Bolin Center.  The school is part of the WWRP Polar Prediction Project and the WCRP Polar Climate Predictability Initiative.
This course on Polar Prediction will provide training for 30 PhD and early career post-doctoral polar scientists, focusing on topics such as: polar mesoscale atmospheric processes; sea ice prediction, near term ensemble prediction, and seasonal-to-decadal climate variability and prediction in the polar regions. The program will combine lectures on key areas relevant for polar prediction and a number of field observation and modelling exercises to foster an interactive learning environment.
If you would like to apply for a place on the school, but did not fill out the Expression of Interest (EOI) after the 1st call in May, then please do so. Candidates for a full application will be selected from these EOI's. We are asking for people wishing to apply to this school to fill out the Expression of Interest form by 20th July. You can find the form here: http://www.climate-cryosphere.org/wcrp/pcpi/meetings/abisko-pp-2016/ expression-of-interest

Limited travel support may be available, particularly for participants from developing countries.
For more information on the school, visit http://www.climate-cryosphere.org/wcrp/pcpi/meetings/abisko-pp-2016. For any questions, contact Jonny Day <>;.

CliC's Ice and Climate Newsletter No 24 Available

SSG11GroupPhotoOur third newsletter of 2015 includes three great science features on major publications emanating from the CliC community, a special section on the CliC projects designed for the 6th version of the Coupled Modeling Intercomparision Project, CliC’s plan for the Year of Polar Prediction (YOPP), a number of reports from various CliC workshops held this Spring, a few calls for participation, announcements, and other things made possible with support from the Climate and Cryosphere Project. As always, we also include a list of our upcoming workshops and meetings, news from the cryosphere community and from our sponsor WCRP and sister projects.  In this issue we also welcome our new WCRP Joint Planning Staff Liaison Mike Sparrow, two new CliC Fellows, and six new CliC Members of the Southern Ocean Region Panel!

Read the newsletter!

Science Features:

  • New evidence links Arctic warming with severe weather in mid-latitudes, but more research and long-term observations are needed to resolve mechanisms
  • Influence of internal variability on Arctic sea-ice trends
  • Nature review article: Researchers highlight potential carbon emissions from permafrost thaw


  • Raising the Visibility of the Cryosphere in Global Climate Models
    • Ice Sheet Model Intercomparison (ISMIP6) endorsed by CMIP6
    • Call for Participation: Earth System Model-Snow Model Intercomparison Project (ESM-SnowMIP)
    • Sea-Ice Model Intercomparison Project (SIMIP) protocol available online
  • CliC Plans for the Year of Polar Prediction
  • CliC Welcomes New Fellows Bradley and Massonnet
  • New CliC Members of the Southern Ocean Region Panel
  • CliC Director on Arctic Panel at IOC-UNESCO
  • Seeking Comments on Southern Ocean Satellite Needs Community Report
  • Reports Available:
    • 2015 Permafrost Carbon Network Leads Meeting
    • Constraining Greenland Ice Sheet Surface Mass Balance Model Validation Workshop
    • Large-Scale Climate Variability in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean Workshop
    • Updates on the Arctic Freshwater Synthesis and the Permafrost Carbon Network

Greenland Ice Sheet Ocean Observing System (GrIOOS) Workshop

GRISO- A CliC sponsored workshop

A two day workshop will be held on December 12-13 in San Francisco, USA, to discuss the design and implementation of a Greenland Ice Sheet Ocean Observing System (GrIOOS). The aim of GrIOOS is to provide long-term time series of critical in situ glaciological, oceanographic and atmospheric parameters at several key locations around Greenland. Observations will provide much needed information on the time-evolving relationships between the different climate forcings and glacier flow. GrIOOS was one of the key priorities identified at the 2013 US CLIVAR-sponsored International Workshop on Greenland Ice Sheet Ocean Interactions (GRISO) organized and summarized in the workshop report.

Specific goals of the GrIOOS workshop are to discuss:

  • the motivation for specific measurements;
  • integration with existing related long-term measurements around Greenland;
  • identification of key sites;
  • identification of instrumentation.
  • A workshop report will be drafted after the workshop and circulated for community input.

The workshop will be limited to ~35 participants. Expressions of interest to attend are solicited from the international community at this time (one page maximum). These should be sent to by August 23, 2015 and state clearly the proposed contribution to the workshop. Expressions of interest from groups representing a particular discipline, technique, or field site are strongly encouraged. The Workshop Steering Committee (see below) will select participants to represent the glaciological, oceanographic, climate, and instrumentation engineering research communities, with special attention to including early-career investigators, women, and underrepresented minorities. Attendees will be notified in September 2015.

The workshop is sponsored in part by SEARCH (Study of Environmental Arctic Change), CliC (Climate & Cryosphere), and GRISO (Greenland Ice Ocean Observing Network), as well as potentially other groups. Participants will be expected to cover their own travel to San Francisco (the workshop precedes the AGU Fall Meeting) but some funding will be available for the extra accommodation and meal costs.

Steering Committee:
Jakob Abermann (Asiaq, Greenland); Andreas Peter Ahlstrøm (GEUS, DK); Gordon Hamilton (U Maine, USA); Patrick Heimbach (UT Austin & MIT, USA); Ruth Mottram (DMI, DK); Sophie Nowicki (NASA Goddard, USA); Ted Scambos (NSIDC, USA); Fiamma Straneo (WHOI, USA); David Sutherland (U Oregon, USA); Martin Truffer (U Alaska, USA)

Position Available: Editor for FrostBytes - short videos about cool research

FrostBytes logoAs many of you know, CliC has teamed up with the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists to share interesting information about the Cryosphere through FrostBytes – ‘Soundbytes of Cool Research’. These 30-60 second audio or video recordings are designed to help researchers easily share their latest findings to a broad audience. All the FrostBytes are featured on the CliC iTunes channel.

We are looking a volunteer to help take on the editing and coordination of our FrostBytes. Each FrostBytes takes less than an hour to edit, sometimes much less, and we generally produce 4-5 a month… While the position is not paid, we have been able to offer travel funding to a CliC-related meeting as our way of saying thank you for your efforts. Speaking of thank you’s… We thank the lovely Lorna Little, our past editor, for her great service and with her will on her new endeavours. She has graciously agreed to help train the new editor and is available to ask questions if you are interested in learning more about the position.

If you had fun making your own FrostByte or enjoy working with multimedia and interacting with people while learning more about science, please get in touch with Gwen at the CliC office. Ideally, we would like this role filled before August.

Nature review article: Researchers highlight potential carbon emissions from permafrost thaw

-Contributed by Ted Schuur and Christina Schaedel – The Permafrost Carbon Network is a CliC co-sponsored activity

permafrost carbon networkAs the climate continues to warm, researchers are working to understand how human-driven climate change will affect the release of greenhouse gases from arctic permafrost. Additional carbon emissions from remote places like the Arctic could significantly accelerate the pace of climate change.   

An estimated 1330-1580 billion tons of organic carbon are stored in perennially-frozen (permafrost) soils of Arctic and subarctic regions, with the potential for even higher quantities stored deep in the frozen soil in places that have not yet been adequately quantified. The carbon is made up of plant and animal remnants stored in soil for hundreds to thousands of years. Thawing of frozen soil and subsequent decomposition of organic matter by microbes cause the release of carbon dioxide and methane greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

Researchers from the Permafrost Carbon Network have worked to synthesize studies on this topic and published the results in a Nature review article in April 2015. According to the authors, the big question is how much, how fast and in what form will this carbon come out. These are the key factors that determine how much impact that permafrost carbon will have on future climate. The authors concluded that, across a range of studies, thawing permafrost in the Artic and sub-Arctic regions appears likely produce a gradual and prolonged release of substantial quantities of greenhouse gases spanning decades as opposed to an abrupt pulse release in a decade or less.

Modern climate change is attributed to human activities as a result of fossil fuel burning and deforestation, but natural ecosystems also play a role in the global carbon cycle. Human activities might start something in motion by releasing carbon gases but natural systems, even in remote places like the Arctic, are likely to add to this problem of climate change.

Citation:  E. A. G. Schuur, A. D. McGuire, C. Schädel, G. Grosse, J. W. Harden, D. J. Hayes, G. Hugelius, C. D. Koven, P. Kuhry, D. M. Lawrence, S. M. Natali, D. Olefeldt, V. E. Romanovsky, K. Schaefer, M. R. Turetsky, C. C. Treat  J. E. Vonk. Climate change and the permafrost carbon feedback. Nature 520, 171–179. 2015. doi:10.1038/nature14338

CliC Plans for the Year of Polar Prediction

YOPP LOGO b9682175dd2015 06 11 CliC4YOPP thumb- contributed by Alice Bradley, François Massonnet, and Jenny Baeseman

The Year of Polar Prediction (YOPP) is a major initiative of WMO’s World Weather Research Programme Polar Prediction Project (WWRP-PPP). The mission, to “enable a significant improvement in environmental prediction capabilities for the polar regions and beyond,” will be achieved through a combination of observational and modeling efforts, including focus on user engagement and education.

YOPP is coordinated by a steering group together with a group of representatives from partners and like-minded initiatives, including CliC. YOPP is still in the planning stages, developing an implementation plan and coordinating with the polar science community in preparation for the intensive observational and modeling period in 2017-2019. Major activities in this period include dedicated model experiments, coupled data assimilation, intensive verification efforts, and special observational efforts including both field campaigns and satellite remote sensing.

The Climate and Cryosphere project (CliC) is one of the 4 core projects of the World Climate Research Programme, and is tasked with coordinating research efforts within the cryosphere community and climate research. The primary scientific goals of CliC are to assess and quantify the impacts of climatic variability and change on components of the cryosphere and their consequences for the climate system, and to determine the stability of the global cryosphere. These goals are closely aligned with the YOPP mission, as the cryosphere is a dominant component of the polar climate system that is the central focus of YOPP. As a partner organization to the YOPP initiative, CliC efforts in support of the YOPP objectives can make a critical contribution to the overall success of the project.

CliC is composed of established working groups, limited-lifetime targeted activities and technical committees. These contributions are based on existing projects; the role of CliC will be to coordinate efforts between researchers rather than initiate new projects. Ongoing work by these groups comprises the bulk of the contributions that CliC can make to the YOPP efforts. This document outlines these contributions in the observational and modeling domains as well as in outreach and community building.

Download the CliC Plan's for YOPP.