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Headlines and more on the IPCC’s new report

10/15/2013 - „Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia“ – this is the first of 18 headline statements provided by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC with the recently published first part of its new Assessment Report (AR5). The media covered the reports’s release widely, asking lead authors and eminent experts at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) for their comments.
Headlines and more on the IPCC’s new report

Breakwater at the coast. Photo: Thinkstock

„Extreme events, a rising sea level, melting ice and heavy rains– what’s up with our climate?“ the BILD Zeitung with a national readership of millions asked Anders Levermann, lead author of the sea level chapter of the AR5 in a detailed interview. „We have seen a warming of 0.8 degrees Celsius in the last 100 years and already we experience the consequences,” Levermann said. In this century, sea levels could rise up to one meter according to the IPCC report – „as a summary of the results of all researchers, this is a rather conservative estimate,“ Levermann said.

He also told German radio Deutschlandfunk about the potential implications of sea level rise for coastal regions as extreme events like floods could become more frequently. To the international news agency AFP Levermann said, there were still challenges ahead regarding regional impacts of drought, flood and rising seas becoming ever clearer: „It’s the sign of a maturing process of the whole climate issue that we are moving in discussion from the question of whether there is climate change and whether it is man-made to how we can solve it,“ he said.

Andrey Ganopolski, lead author of the chapter on climate sensitivity, explained the background of the identified range 1.5 and 4.5 degrees Celsius in the current report by the IPCC to the Süddeutsche Zeitung. Though there were still uncertainties, „it is not reasonable to squint only at the lower limit of climate sensitivity as the upper limit is just as probable,“ Ganopolski said. With 4.5 degrees Celsius, warming could be a lot more dangerous than previously assumed. Stefan Rahmstorf, one of the lead authors of the last IPCC report, told RBB Inforadio about the human influence on the earth’s climate and progress made on models projecting sea level rise by explicitly addressing the ice masses of Antarctica and Greenland: „The current IPCC report expects a sea level rise about 50 percent faster than in the last report,“ Rahmstorf said. On heute.de Rahmstorf explained natural variabilities in the climate system and extreme weather events observed in the last ten years. „The situation is in no way relaxed,“ he said.

„The longer we wait, the more expensive it is going to be,“ Ottmar Edenhofer said in an interview with Süddeutsche Zeitung, it was sensible to look at climate change from a risk management perspective. Edenhofer is PIK’s chief economist and vice director and co-chair of the IPCC’s Working Group 3 that is going to publish its results in 2014. As „climate chairman“, Edenhofer was featured in the renowned science magazine Nature with a portrait in a special issue „Outlook for Earth“ on the IPCC’s work on the fifth assessment report.


Weblink to IPCC Headline Statements:
http://www.climatechange2013.org/images/uploads/WG1AR5_Headlines.pdf

Weblink to IPCC Working Group 1 Report "The Physical Science Basis":
http://www.climatechange2013.org/

Weblink to IPCC publishing timetable for the AR5:
http://www.ipcc.ch/news_and_events/press_information.shtml#.Ulvbv9JSiQ0

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