Landmark climate change report coming Friday

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:46 PM GMT on January 31, 2007

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Every six years, the United Nations-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) releases a massive and influential study detailing the state of Earth's climate. This Friday marks the release of the first IPCC report since 2001. To help preview this blockbuster study, I've asked climate expert Dr. Richard Rood to help out. Dr. Rood is a climate modeler and professor of Meteorology at the University of Michigan, and has authored nearly 100 scientific papers on climate change and meteorology. After today's guest appearance on my blog, Dr. Rood will be contributing a series of blogs on climate change that will appear in a new featured "Climate Change" blog. Take it away, ricky!

What is the IPCC?

On February 2, 2007 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is scheduled to release the first of a series of reports that describe the current state of the Earth's climate, how it has changed, and how it is expected to change in the future. "Climate Change 2007" will be definitive and influential. Climate change touches every aspect of society, and there is already controversy associated with the release. This is the first of a series of blogs about climate and climate change; it discusses the process of development of these official assessments.

First, the IPCC is not a research organization, but relies upon research performed and reported by scientists from all over the world. This underlying research is based on observations and the development of testable propositions to determine cause and effect in the behavior of the observations. Sometimes the propositions can be tested with experiments, but more often climate scientists use models to predict the behavior of the observations. Therefore, like weather forecasting, the success or failure of model predictions reveal our level of understanding.

Part of the scientific process is the ability of independent researchers to investigate the observations and extract information. If their conclusions converge, then the independent nature of the investigations adds accountability to the process. That is, there are checks and balances which constantly challenge, check, and re-check the conclusions of individual scientists. The IPCC assesses this body of scientific literature; it is not just the research of the United States; it is the research of the world. It is research hardened by the competition of ideas and honed by the survival of the successful ideas.

The scientists who write the IPCC reports use exquisite rigor. The reports are written by experts drawn from around the world, selected to assure the representation of the members of the United Nations. Draft reports are then reviewed by experts who were not authors of the report. Then there is review by government officials involved in policy making. All told, there are more than 1000 contributing authors, and more than 2000 independent reviewers. All comments are considered in the revisions that lead to the production of the final document. The time commitment is enormous, and the result is a document which is based on the facts of observation and predictions which have been scrutinized to the highest level possible.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is sponsored by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Program. Their home page is at http://www.ipcc.ch/.

ricky

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500. weatherboykris
4:40 AM GMT on February 02, 2007
goodnight Patrap
Member Since: December 9, 2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 11346
498. Tazmanian
4:26 AM GMT on February 02, 2007
SkulDouggery dont no what we are going to do now
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497. SkulDouggery
4:26 AM GMT on February 02, 2007
Thanks for the post Taz. So what are we to do now? GW is manmade but we can't reverse it for centuries?
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495. Patrap
10:19 PM CST on February 01, 2007
Gnight gang...
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128871
494. weatherboykris
3:42 AM GMT on February 02, 2007
thanks for posting that Taz.
Member Since: December 9, 2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 11346
492. Tazmanian
3:28 AM GMT on February 02, 2007
cyclonebuster would love to her about this one

Warming 'likely' man-made, unstoppable By SETH BORENSTEIN

1 minute ago



PARIS - The world's leading climate scientists said global warming has begun, is "very likely" caused by man, and will be unstoppable for centuries, according to a report obtained Friday by The Associated Press.

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The scientists using their strongest language yet on the issue said now that world has begun to warm, hotter temperatures and rises in sea level "would continue for centuries" no matter how much humans control their pollution. The report also linked the warming to the recent increase in stronger hurricanes.

"The observed widespread warming of the atmosphere and ocean, together with ice-mass loss, support the conclusion that it is extremely unlikely that global climate change of the past 50 years can be explained without external forcing, and very likely that is not due to known natural causes alone," said the report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change a group of hundreds of scientists and representatives of 113 governments.

The phrase "very likely" translates to a more than 90 percent certainty that global warming is caused by man's burning of fossil fuels. That was the strongest conclusion to date, making it nearly impossible to say natural forces are to blame.

What that means in simple language is "we have this nailed," said top U.S. climate scientist Jerry Mahlman, who originated the percentage system.

The 20-page report, which was due to be officially released later in the day, represents the most authoritative science on global warming.

The new language marked an escalation from the panel's last report in 2001, which said warming was "likely" caused by human activity. There had been speculation that the participants might try to say it is "virtually certain" man causes global warming, which translates to 99 percent certainty.

The panel predicted temperature rises of 2-11.5 degrees Fahrenheit by the year 2100. That was a wider range than in the 2001 report.

However, the panel also said its best estimate was for temperature rises of 3.2-7.1 degrees Fahrenheit. In 2001, all the panel gave was a range of 2.5-10.4 degrees Fahrenheit.

On sea levels, the report projects rises of 7-23 inches by the end of the century. An additional 3.9-7.8 inches are possible if recent, surprising melting of polar ice sheets continues.

But there is some cold comfort. Some, but not all, of the projected temperature and sea level rises are slightly lower than projected in a previous report in 2001. That is mostly due to use of more likely scenarios and would still result in dramatic effects across the globe, scientists said.

Many scientists had warned that this estimate was too cautious and said sea level rise could be closer to 3-5 feet because of ice sheet melt.

Nevertheless, scientists agreed the report is strong.

"There's no question that the powerful language is intimately linked to the more powerful science," said one of the study's many co-authors, Andrew Weaver of the University of Victoria, who spoke by phone from Canada. He said the report was based on science that is rock-solid, peer-reviewed, and consensus.

"It's very conservative. Scientists by their nature are skeptics."

The scientists wrote the report based on years of peer-reviewed research and government officials edited it with an eye toward the required unanimous approval by world governments.

In the end, there was little debate on the strength of the wording about the role of man in global warming.

The panel quickly agreed Thursday on two of the most contentious issues: attributing global warming to man-made burning of fossil fuels and connecting it to a recent increase in stronger hurricanes.

Negotiations over a third and more difficult issue how much the sea level is predicted to rise by 2100 went into the night Thursday with a deadline approaching for the report.

While critics call the panel overly alarmist, it is by nature relatively cautious because it relies on hundreds of scientists, including skeptics.

"I hope that policymakers will be quite convinced by this message," said Riibeta Abeta, a delegate whose island nation Kiribati is threatened by rising seas. "The purpose is to get them moving."

The Chinese delegation was resistant to strong wording on global warming, said Barbados delegate Leonard Fields and others. China has increasingly turned to fossil fuels for its huge and growing energy needs.

The U.S. government delegation was not one of the more vocal groups in the debate over whether warming is man-made, said officials from other countries. And several attendees credited the head of the panel session, Susan Solomon, a top U.S. government climate scientist, with pushing through the agreement so quickly.

The Bush administration acknowledges that global warming is man-made and a problem that must be dealt with, Bush science adviser John Marburger has said. However, Bush continues to reject mandatory limits on so-called "greenhouse" gases.

But this is more than just a U.S. issue.

"What you're trying to do is get the whole planet under the proverbial tent in how to deal with this, not just the rich countries," Mahlman said Thursday. "I think we're in a different kind of game now."

The panel, created by the United Nations in 1988, releases its assessments every five or six years although scientists have been observing aspects of climate change since as far back as the 1960s. The reports are released in phases this is the first of four this year.

The next report is due in April and will discuss the effects of global warming. But that issue was touched upon in the current document.

The report says that global warming has made stronger hurricanes, including those on the Atlantic Ocean, such as Hurricane Katrina.

The report said that an increase in hurricane and tropical cyclone strength since 1970 "more likely than not" can be attributed to man-made global warming. The scientists said global warming's connection varies with storms in different parts of the world, but that the storms that strike the Americas are global warming-influenced.

That's a contrast from the 2001 which said there was not enough evidence to make such a conclusion. And it conflicts with a November 2006 statement by the World Meteorological Organization, which helped found the IPCC. The meteorological group said it could not link past stronger storms to global warming.

Fields of Barbados, a country in the path of many hurricanes said the new wording was "very important." He noted that insurance companies which look to science to calculate storm risk "watch the language, too."

___

Associated Press Writer Angela Charlton contributed to this report
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491. weatherboykris
3:23 AM GMT on February 02, 2007
So CB,you never answered.Why won't Dr. Masters agree with your idea?
Member Since: December 9, 2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 11346
490. ryang
10:50 PM AST on February 01, 2007
CB,look at the el nino update at my blog.
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488. CybrTeddy
2:40 AM GMT on February 02, 2007
Man here in Upper hillsbourgh Were gonna Get slamed! Any Warnings up?
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486. franck
2:32 AM GMT on February 02, 2007
Because to the trout the seeds look like maggots.
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484. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
1:35 AM GMT on February 02, 2007
maybe were all retarded
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483. HurryKaneKata
1:31 AM GMT on February 02, 2007
that was a great fish story
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480. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
1:09 AM GMT on February 02, 2007
cb are u retarded
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477. tornadodude
1:00 AM GMT on February 02, 2007
thats fo sho! lol
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476. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
12:56 AM GMT on February 02, 2007
its going to be nice and wintery for all
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475. tornadodude
12:53 AM GMT on February 02, 2007
the forecast for 47501 is nice and wintry....
47501 is my location
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474. weatherboykris
12:51 AM GMT on February 02, 2007
hey
Member Since: December 9, 2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 11346
473. tornadodude
12:47 AM GMT on February 02, 2007
enough with the "global warming" hoopla!!!!
how is everyone this evening? 23 degrees here with an inch of fresh snow...
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472. weatherboykris
12:46 AM GMT on February 02, 2007
why won't he?
Member Since: December 9, 2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 11346
470. weatherboykris
12:41 AM GMT on February 02, 2007
He won't.Have you ever emailed him and asked?
Member Since: December 9, 2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 11346
467. weatherboykris
12:19 AM GMT on February 02, 2007
A SMALL BUT POTENT UPPER-LEVEL LOW
SITUATED ABOUT 120 NMI NORTHWEST OF ERNESTO IS ENHANCING
THUNDERSTORM DEVELOPMENT...BUT IS ALSO CREATING SOME SOUTHERLY
SHEAR AND PUNCHING DRY AIR INTO THE SOUTHERN SEMICIRCLE.
Member Since: December 9, 2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 11346
466. weatherboykris
12:18 AM GMT on February 02, 2007
I remember the NHC said that the ULL for Ernesto was a mixed bag of effects.
Member Since: December 9, 2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 11346
464. weatherboykris
12:17 AM GMT on February 02, 2007
This comment has been erased.
Member Since: December 9, 2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 11346
463. weatherboykris
12:16 AM GMT on February 02, 2007
found it
Member Since: December 9, 2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 11346
462. weatherboykris
12:15 AM GMT on February 02, 2007
TROPICAL CYCLONE (TC) 10S (DORA), LOCATED APPROXIMATELY 775 NM EAST-
NORTHEAST OF LA REUNION, HAS TRACKED SOUTHEASTWARD AT 08 KNOTS OVER
THE PAST SIX HOURS. TC 10S HAS INCREASED TRACK SPEED OVER THE PAST 18
HOURS AND REMAINS ON THE SOUTHWESTERN PERIPHERY OF A NEAR EQUATORIAL
RIDGE. MODEL GUIDANCE HAS CONSISTENTLY SHOWN AN EXTENSION OF THE NEAR
EQUATORIAL RIDGE BUILDING TO THE SOUTHEAST OF TC 10S. THIS FORECAST
DEVIATES FROM THE GUIDANCE AND PREVIOUS FORECAST REASONING, KEEPING
THE SYSTEM TRACKING ON A MORE SOUTHWESTERN TO SOUTH-SOUTHWESTERN
TRACK THROUGH TAU 48. CURRENT SATELLITE IMAGERY INDICATES A SERIES OF
TROUGHS TRANSITING IN THE MID-LATITUDES WILL KEEP THE RIDGE EXTENSION
FROM FORMING. UPPER LEVEL ANALYSIS INDICATES THAT THE EQUATORIAL
OUTFLOW FOR THE SYSTEM HAS DIMINISHED OVER THE PAST 12 HOURS, BUT AN
UPPER LEVEL LOW LOCATED TO THE SOUTHEAST OF TC 10S WILL HELP TO
ENHANCE THE POLEWARD OUTFLOW. THESE COMPETING INFLUENCES WILL HELP TO
MAINTAIN THE LESS THAN CLIMATOLOGICAL RATE OF INCREASE THROUGH TAU
36. BEYOND TAU 36 INCREASED SHEAR AND REDUCED OUTFLOW WILL BEGIN TO
HAMPER DEVELOPMENT.THE AVAILABLE DYNAMIC AIDS ARE IN POOR AGREEMENT
WITH THIS SCENARIO. MODEL GUIDANCE HAS CONTINUED TO SHOW A SOUTHWEST-
WARD RECURVATURE SCENARIO IN THE 24 TO 48 HOUR TIMEFRAME. MAXIMUM
SIGNIFICANT WAVE HEIGHT AT 011800Z IS 32 FEET. NEXT WARNINGS AT
020900Z AND 022100Z.//
Member Since: December 9, 2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 11346
460. Ldog74
6:13 PM CST on February 01, 2007
I have to agree with hurricane
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459. weatherboykris
12:12 AM GMT on February 02, 2007
No.It was just 2 days ago when you started talking about the lows in Greenland causing WAA.
Member Since: December 9, 2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 11346
458. weatherboykris
12:11 AM GMT on February 02, 2007
I don't really pay attention to other basins.
Member Since: December 9, 2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 11346
456. weatherboykris
12:10 AM GMT on February 02, 2007
I geuss so.What's the discussion saying?
Member Since: December 9, 2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 11346
455. hurricane23
7:09 PM EST on February 01, 2007
I would have to agree with STL.But when its complete dora is really going to intensify.
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13807
453. weatherboykris
12:09 AM GMT on February 02, 2007
That's not my point.There are natural-short term variations in climate.You just started talking about the lows in Greenland 2 days ago.
Member Since: December 9, 2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 11346
451. weatherboykris
12:08 AM GMT on February 02, 2007
Look more like a strong rainband to me.Maybe an eventual EWRC.
Member Since: December 9, 2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 11346
450. weatherboykris
12:08 AM GMT on February 02, 2007
Think so,STL?
Member Since: December 9, 2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 11346

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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