Panel on Polar and High Mountain Observations, Research, and Services (PHORS)

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Terms of Reference

Updated by EC-77 (2023):
With a focus on polar and high mountain regions and, globally, on vulnerable regions where the irreversible changes in snow, glaciers, permafrost and seasonally frozen ground, freshwater and sea ice, and ice sheets amplify the impacts of climate change, the Panel on Polar and High Mountain Observations, Research and Services (PHORS) will provide strategic and advocacy support to WMO Members through the Executive Council towards sustained and coordinated observation activities, access to data, development of services, and ongoing research. Specifically:
(1) Operate under the general terms of reference of regional associations with regard to the WMO activities in Antarctica, as in Annex II of Basic Documents No. 1 (WMO-No. 15);
(2) Foster the engagement of WMO with the Arctic Council and its Working Groups, and with the Antarctic Treaty and its Committee for Environmental Protection and liaise between these and the WMO bodies with respect to polar observing systems and services;
(3) Collaborate with WMO bodies, and in particular INFCOM, SERCOM and the Research Board, to achieve the integration in their respective work programmes of research, technical and operational priorities and activities identified in Resolution 3.2(3)/1 (Cg-19) and the WMO Strategic Plan (2024–2027);
(4) Establish and maintain effective collaborations with partners and stakeholders, in support of amplifying the existing capacity of Members to deliver services, with a focus on developing early warning systems;
(5) Identify policy-related gaps and prepare position papers in support of enhancing the capacity of NMHSs/Members to exchange data and to deliver adequate services;
(6) Promote and monitor Member relevant collaborative mechanisms to foster innovation and the transfer of research to services, e.g. through pilot projects addressing critical questions and accounting for regional differences, e.g. Arctic vs Antarctic vs high mountain regions;
(7) Foster global stock take of cryosphere related research. as pertaining to emerging information needs for early warnings, climate and hydrological services, water resources management, sea level rise impacts, etc.;
(8) In collaboration with relevant WMO bodies, support the development of a sustainable concept for regional mountain monitoring and hydro-climate centres, building on the successful implementation of the Arctic Regional Climate Centre network (ArcRCC) and of the associated Regional Climate Outlook Forums;
(9) Facilitate the engagements of early career scientists in the delivery of WMO results for polar and high mountain regions, including in collaboration with the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS).

Specific Terms of Reference relevant to Antarctica:
(1) Facilitate the implementation of the Antarctic Regional Climate Centre network (AntRCC-Network) towards WMO designation, with the engagement of relevant sectors and stakeholders,
(2) Foster the coordination of activities of Members with an interest in Antarctica and its Southern Ocean environment (South of 60˚S), consistent with the Earth system approach and the WMO Strategic Plan, and taking into account the particularities of programmes on Antarctica,
(3) Develop an integrated service delivery model for Antarctic weather and marine services, including a coordinating role of WMO, in consultation with Members’ Antarctic operators and parties to the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM),
(4) In consultation with relevant partners make recommendations on a convening role for WMO on the understanding of the Antarctica ice sheet melt and its impacts on sea level rise, globally.

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