Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Launches the First Part of its Fifth Assessment Report

September 27, 2013. Governments need robust climate data and predictions as a basis for planning activities on climate change, be it adaptation or mitigation. In order to support government action in the field of climate change, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released a 36 page summary of its full report Climate Change 2013 - The Physical Science Basis as a first installment to the long awaited 5th Assessment Report (AR5). The summary is accompanied by a 2000 page full report to be officially launched in January 2014.
 
The summary for policymakers presents a detailed, scientific review of the changes in climate that have been observed since the start of the industrial revolution and provides projections of future changes to come. According to the report, “each of the last three decades has been successively warmer at the Earth’s surface than any preceding decade since 1850”. Additionally, “over the last two decades, the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have been losing mass, glaciers have continued to shrink almost worldwide, and Arctic sea ice and Northern hemisphere spring snow cover have continued to decrease in extent”. Finally, “it is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century” and “continued emissions of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and changes in all components of the climate system. Limiting climate change will require substantial and sustained reductions of greenhouse gas emissions”.

The 5th IPCC Assessment Report is the result of the work of hundreds of climate scientists and comes 6 years after the release of the 4th report in 2007. The launch of the report on science produced by Working Group 1 (WG1) in January will be followed by the launch of the Working Group 2 report on adaptation in March 2014 and of the Working Group 3 report on mitigation in April 2014. A Synthesis Report (SYR) of the Fifth Assessment Report  will be launched in October 2014.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is the leading body for the assessment of climate change, established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The IPCC reviews and assesses the most recent scientific, technical and socio-economic information produced worldwide relevant to the understanding of climate change. Its main activity is to prepare comprehensive assessment reports about climate change at regular intervals, typically of about five to seven years.

To download the Summary for Policymakers, click here. To access the full report, click on the following link: http://www.ipcc.ch/.