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Assessment Report of IPCC

Assessment Report of IPCC

What is Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)?

  • The IPCC is the UN body for assessing the science related to climate change.
  • The IPCC produces reports that support the UNFCCC.
  • It was established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 1988.
  • It has 195 member states.
  • IPCC reports cover all relevant information to understand the risk of human-induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation.
  • Thousands of scientists and other experts contribute on a voluntary basis.
  • The IPCC does not carry out its own original research.

What are IPCC Assessment Reports (AR)

  • In accordance with its mandate, the IPCC prepares at regular intervals comprehensive Assessment Reports of scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant for the understanding of human induced climate change, potential impacts of climate change and options for mitigation and adaptation.

 

The IPCC working groups

The IPCC work is shared among three Working Groups, a Task Force and a Task Group.

  • WG I aims at assessing the physical scientific basis of the climate system and climate change.
  • WG II assesses the vulnerability of socio-economic and natural systems to climate change.
  • WG III focuses on climate change mitigation, assessing methods for reducing GHG emissions, and removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.

IPCC’s 5th Assessment Report

  • The IPCC prepares comprehensive Assessment Reports about the state of scientific, technical and socio-economic knowledge on climate change, its impacts and future risks, and options for reducing the rate at which climate change is taking place.
  • However, IPCC does not conduct its own research.
  • The Assessment Report released by IPCC in 2014 was the 5th in a series of such reports.

Key Findings of the Report

Over the 21st century, the ocean is projected to transition to unprecedented conditions with increased temperatures, further ocean acidification, marine heatwaves and more frequent extreme El Niño and La Niña events.

  • Ocean Warming:
    • Global ocean has warmed unabated since 1970 and has taken up more than 90% of the excess heat in the climate system.
    • Since 1993, the rate of ocean warming and marine heatwaves have very likely doubled in frequency and intensity.
  • Global Mean Sea-Level:
    • It has increased by 16 cm between 1902 and 2015, and that the rate of increase had doubled of late.
    • Between 2006 and 2015, the global mean sea level recorded an average rise of 3.6 mm per year, which was more than double of 1.4 mm per year recorded in the first 90-year-period of the 20th century.
    • Sea-level rise is not globally uniform and varies regionally. Regional differences, within 30 % of global mean sea-level rise, result from land ice loss and variations in ocean warming and circulation
  • The Melting of Glaciers:
    • Between 2006 and 2015, the Greenland ice sheet lost ice-mass at an average rate of 278 billion tonnes every year (e.g. Okjokull glacier of Iceland), which was enough to result in a global sea-level rise of 0.8 mm per year. During the same period, the Antarctic ice sheet lost a mass of 155 billion tonnes on an average every year.
    • Snow cover outside these two poles, like the glaciers in the Himalayas, together lost an average of 220 billion tonnes of ice every year.
    • The melting glaciers are the dominant source of sea-level rise, exceeding the effect of thermal expansion of ocean water (due to rising temperatures).
  • Since the mid-20th century, the shrinking cryosphere has led to predominantly negative impacts on food security, water resources, water quality, livelihoods, health, and well-being, as well as the culture of human societies, particularly for Indigenous peoples.

What is Sixth Assessment Report (AR6)?

  • The IPCC is currently in its 6th Assessment Cycle, during which the IPCC will produce the Assessment reports of its three working groups, three special reports (SR1.5, SRCCL & SROCC), a refinement to the methodology report and the Synthesis report.
  • It will examine topics such as the link between consumption and behaviour and greenhouse gas emissions, and the role of innovation and technology.
  • It will assess the connection between short to medium-term actions and their compatibility with the long-term temperature goal in the Paris Agreement.
  • It will assess mitigation options in sectors such as energy, agriculture, forestry and land use, buildings, transport and industry.
  • The Synthesis Report will be the last of the AR6 products, due for release in 2022.

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