Sixth Assessment Report – IPCC

The IPCC is now in its sixth assessment cycle, in which the IPCC is producing the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) with contributions by its three Working Groups and a Synthesis Report, three Special Reports, and a refinement to its latest Methodology Report.

 

 

The Working Group I contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report, Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis was released on 9 August 2021.

 

The Working Group II contribution  was released on 28 February 2022.

 

The Working Group III contribution will be released in early April 2022.

 

The Synthesis Report will be the last of the AR6 products and is scheduled to be released in September 2022.

 

Compared with previous IPCC assessments, there is a greater focus on solutions across all Working Groups, more regional information, and more integration across Working Groups (e.g. boxes on specific topics to which more than one Working Group has contributed and which may appear in more than one report).

All reports in this cycle cover the topic of cities and climate change, ahead of a Special Report on this topic in the next assessment cycle. The Working Group I report addresses the most updated physical understanding of the climate system and climate change, bringing together the latest advances in climate science, and combining multiple lines of evidence from paleoclimate, observations, process understanding, global and regional climate simulations. It shows how and why climate has changed to date, and the improved understanding of human influence on a wider range of climate characteristics, including extreme events. There is a greater focus on regional information that can be used for climate risk assessments.

 

Report structure and contents (cont.)

 

Working Group II will assess the impacts of climate change, from a world-wide to a regional view of ecosystems and biodiversity, and review the implications for humans and their diverse societies, cultures and settlements. The report will consider the vulnerabilities and the capacities and limits of the natural world and of human societies to adapt to climate change. It will thereby inform adaptation and mitigation efforts to reduce climate- associated risks together with options for creating a sustainable, resilient and equitable future for all. Working Group III will assess progress in limiting emissions, and the range of available mitigation options in energy and urban systems, and in sectors such as agriculture, forestry and land use, buildings, transport and industry. It will consider these in the context of sustainable development. The report will also assess the connection between short to medium-term actions and long-term emission pathways that limit global warming.

The agreed outlines linked above indicate the following innovations and changes in the Sixth

Assessment Report:

 

  • The new structure of the Working Group I report shows more integrated knowledge and understanding compared to the previous report. In the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) there were separate chapters on the assessment of models, observational evidence, paleo- climate records etc, now these topics are integrated together across multiple chapters, for example, Chapter 8 (Water cycle changes) incorporates all these when assessing water cycle changes due to climate change.

 

  • There is a far greater emphasis on regional climate change in the Working Group I report; the final third of the chapters all have a regional focus. These chapters cover the large advances in scientific knowledge on changes in extreme events and attributing these events to man-made climate change, notably in Chapter 11 (Weather and climate extreme events in a changing climate), a new dedicated chapter on this topic.

 

  • Chapter 12 (Climate change information for regional impact and for risk assessment) looks not just at extremes but also other factors that are relevant for risk assessments that might appear over longer time scales (e.g. droughts, changes in snow cover etc). This information can help with risk and impact assessments - part of Working Group I’s contribution to solutions.

 

  • Chapter 10 (Linking global to regional climate change) is a new chapter connecting the global to the local, and highly relevant to the needs of local policymakers.

 

  • Interactive online regional atlas featuring data underpinning the Working Group I assessment, including observed and projected climate change information. Users can perform spatial and temporal analyses using many datasets used in the assessment, access synthesized regional information for climatic impact drivers and download data.

 

  • There’s a greater focus on how the Earth responds to climate change in the Working Group I report, looking for example at how the oceans and atmosphere respond when greenhouse gas emissions are reduced or if carbon removal techniques are used, and the timelines associated with these actions. There is also an updated assessment of our understanding of how sensitive the Earth’s temperature is to carbon dioxide emissions.

 

  • In the Fifth Assessment Report, four Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) were used to simulate future climate change. This time the IPCC uses Shared Socio-Economic Pathways (SSPs) that look at a far great range of options / scenarios. There’s a greater focus on lower degrees of warming because of these scenarios. Levels of warming like 1.5°C and 2°C can be assessed more rigorously than in AR5. The assessment can also look at the timing of when we could see a global mean temperature of these global warming levels.

 

Please download the document below:

 

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Partners News

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