The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) said a full year would be dedicated to improving polar forecasting capacities in the Arctic and another year would be spent doing the same in Antarctica.
The polar regions are by far the most impacted by climate change, warming at twice the rate of the rest of the world in some areas and facing rapidly retreating glaciers and sea ice.
But because of their harsh climates, these regions are also the most poorly observed by scientists and meteorologists, impacting the quality of weather forecasts not only for the polar areas but also elsewhere.
WMO chief Petteri Taalas said that "because of teleconnections, the poles influence weather and climate conditions in lower latitudes where hundreds of millions of people live."
"Warming Arctic air masses and declining sea ice are believed to affect ocean circulation and the jet stream, and are potentially linked to extreme phenomena such as cold spells, heat waves and droughts in the northern hemisphere," he said in a statement.
From mid-2017 to mid-2019, a large international and interdisciplinary network of scientists and forecasting centres will carry out intensive observation and modelling in the Arctic and Antarctic, the WMO said.