New Mega Report: Climate Change: Faster, Stronger, Sooner

By October 20, 2008 March 25th, 2014 summary

The opening sentence of the report: "Scientific research on climate change and its impacts published since the deadline for the latest assessment report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is revealing that global warming is accelerating, at times far beyond IPCC 2007 forecasts."

The mega report is a compilation of 37 publications and sources since 2006, not used in the 2007 IPCC report. It has a startling list of examples of how the most recent research into climate change is showing that climate is changing faster, stronger and sooner. (The IPCC Report was the fourth in a series, took six years to prepare, included 3,800 scientists from over 150 countries and 1600 pages.)

  • The Arctic Ocean is losing sea ice 30 or more years ahead of the projections. There is near consensus in the Arctic scientific community that significant aspects of this hastened loss of sea ice are caused by feedback mechanisms, the effects of which had been severely underestimated in the report.

  • It is currently forecast that summer sea ice could completely disappear  somewhere between 2013 and 2040 – a state not seen on planet Earth for more than a million years.

  • New studies have projected global sea level rise by the end of the century to reach up to more than double the maximum estimate of 0.59m presented in the Fourth Assessment Report. More than 1.2m (four feet) sea level rise would put vast coastal areas at risk, in Europe and around the world.

  • Floating tide-water glaciers in the Antarctic Peninsula are losing ice faster and are making a greater contribution to global sea level rise than reported in the Fourth Assessment Report.

  • The actual CO2 emissions growth rate since 2000 was greater than any of the scenarios used by the IPCC (this is worse than the worse case scenario)

  • The capability of ocean CO2 ‘sinks’ to absorb CO2 is declining at a greater rate than forecast in earlier studies.

  • …early signs of change suggest that the less than 1°C of global warming that the world has experienced to date may have already triggered the first tipping point of the Earth’s climate system – the disappearance of summer Arctic sea ice. This process could open the gates to rapid and abrupt climate change, rather than the gradual changes that have been forecast so far.