IPCC Summary (sep 23)

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IPCC Summary (sep 23)

  1. 1. Climate Change The physical science basis, estimates and the new climate dice
  2. 2. Main Points • The report: (1) describes progress in understanding of the human and natural drivers of climate change; (2) observed climate change, climate processes and attribution; (3) and estimates of projected future climate change. • Changes in the atmospheric abundance of greenhouse gases and aerosols, in solar radiation and in land surface properties alter the energy balance of the climate system.  These changes are expressed in terms of radiative forcing.
  3. 3. • Global atmospheric concentrations of CO2, CH4, N2O have increased evidently as a result of human activities since 1750. • Increase in carbon CO2 concentration  fossil fuel use and land use change. • The global atmospheric concentration of CO2 has increased from a pre-industrial value of about 280 ppm to 379 ppm in 2005 (exceeding by far the natural range over the last 650,000 years - 180 to 300 ppm).
  4. 4. • Increase in carbon CH4 concentration  agriculture. • The global atmospheric concentration of CH4 has increased from a pre-industrial value of about 715 ppb to 1774 ppb in 2005 (exceeding by far the natural range of the last 650,000 years - 320 to 790 ppb). • The combined radiative forcing due to increases in of CO2, CH4, N2O is +2.30 [+2.07 to +2.53] W m– 2, and its rate of increase during the industrial era is very likely (90%) to have been unprecedented in more than 10,000 years.
  5. 5. • Anthropogenic contributions to aerosols together produce a cooling effect, with a total direct radiative forcing of –0.5 [–0.9 to –0.1] W m–2 and an indirect cloud albedo forcing of – 0.7 [–1.8 to –0.3] W m–2. • Changes in solar irradiance since 1750 are estimated to cause a radiative forcing of +0.12 W m–2. • Eleven of the last twelve years (1995–2006) rank among the 12 warmest years in the instrumental record of global surface temperature (since 1850).
  6. 6. Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.
  7. 7. • Since 1961 the average temperature of the global ocean has increased to depths of at least 3000 m and the ocean has been absorbing more than 80% of the heat added to the climate system. • New data since the TAR show that losses from the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica have very likely contributed to sea level rise over 1993 to 2003: Global average sea level rose at an average rate of 1.8 mm per year over 1961 to 2003. The rate was faster over 1993 to 2003: about 3.1 mm per year. The total 20th-century rise is estimated to be 0.17 m.
  8. 8. • Cold days, cold nights and frost have become less frequent in the last 50 years, while hot days, hot nights and heat waves have become more frequent. • Anthropogenic warming and sea level rise would continue for centuries due to the time scales associated with climate processes and feedbacks, even if greenhouse gas concentrations were to be stabilised. • Both past and future anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions will continue to contribute to warming and sea level rise for more than a millennium, due to the time scales required for removal of this gas from the atmosphere.
  9. 9. • Average arctic temperatures increased at almost twice the global average rate in the past 100 years. • The best estimate for the low scenario (B1) is 1.8°C (likely range is 1.1°C to 2.9°C), and the best estimate for the high scenario (A1FI) is 4.0°C (likely range is 2.4°C to 6.4°C). • Warming is expected to be greatest over land and at most high northern latitudes, and least over the Southern Ocean and parts of the North Atlantic Ocean. • It is very likely that hot extremes, heat waves and heavy precipitation events will continue to become more frequent.
  10. 10. • If radiative forcing were to be stabilised in 2100 at A1B levels, thermal expansion alone would lead to 0.3 to 0.8 m of sea level rise by 2300. Thermal expansion would continue for many centuries, due to the time required to transport heat into the deep ocean. • Contraction of the Greenland Ice Sheet is projected to continue to contribute to sea level rise after 2100. Current models suggest that ice mass losses increase with temperature more rapidly than gains due to precipitation and that the surface mass balance becomes negative at a global average warming (relative to pre-industrial values) in excess of 1.9°C to 4.6°C. • Negative surface mass balance = complete elimination of the Greenland Ice Sheet and sea level rise of about 7m.
  11. 11. Different Scenarios
  12. 12. How the report was made • Measurements of greenhouse gases were shown from ice cores (symbols with different colours for different studies) and atmospheric samples (red lines). • Since the TAR, progress in understanding how climate is changing in space and in time has been gained through improvements and extensions of numerous datasets and data analyses, broader geographical coverage, better understanding of uncertainties, and a wider variety of measurements.
  13. 13. • Increasingly comprehensive observations are available for glaciers and snow cover since the 1960s, and for sea level and ice sheets since about the past decade. • Sea level estimates are based on improved satellite and in situ data now available. • Palaeoclimatic information supports the interpretation that the warmth of the last half century is unusual in at least the previous 1,300 years.
  14. 14. Uncertainty • Expressions such as “It is very likely”, “very high confidence”, etc. • It is very likely (90%) that the observed increase in methane concentration is due to anthropogenic activities, predominantly agriculture and fossil fuel use, but relative contributions from different source types are not well determined. • Aerosols forces remain the dominant uncertainty in radiative forcing. • Data still limited in some regions.
  15. 15. • Climate-carbon cycle coupling is expected to add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere as the climate system warms, but the magnitude of this feedback is uncertain. This increases the uncertainty in the trajectory of carbon dioxide emissions required to achieve a particular stabilization level of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration • Uncertainties in local forcings and feedbacks make it difficult to estimate the contribution of greenhouse gas increases to observed small- scale temperature changes.
  16. 16. • Palaeoclimatic studies use changes in climatically sensitive indicators to infer past changes in global climate on time scales ranging from decades to millions of years.  Uncertainty increases with time into past. • Models used to date do not include uncertainties in climate-carbon cycle feedback nor do they include the full effects of changes in ice sheet flow, because a basis in published literature is lacking.
  17. 17. • Precipitation is highly variable spatially and temporally, and data are limited in some regions. • Dynamical processes related to ice flow not included in current models but suggested by recent observations could increase the vulnerability of the ice sheets to warming, increasing future sea level rise. Understanding of these processes is limited and there is no consensus on their magnitude.
  18. 18. Certainty • Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global average sea level. • Since IPCC’s first report in 1990, assessed projections have suggested global average temperature increases between about 0.15°C and 0.3°C per decade for 1990 to 2005. This can now be compared with observed values of about 0.2°C per decade, strengthening confidence in near-term projections.
  19. 19. Main Points • Increasing extremity of heat waves and the area covered by extreme events is caused by global warming. • The anomalous warmth of 2012, even though its extremity is caused by global warming, should not be assumed to represent a new norm. Climate will continue to be variable and there is still a significant chance of a season being cooler than the long-term average.
  20. 20. • 1930s: There are almost no areas that achieve +3-sigma heat, if the standard deviation (σ or "sigma") is calculated for the 1931-1980 base period. • 2006-2011: have 10% of the land area with anomalies exceeding +3σ for 1931-1980 standard deviations. (12% for 1951-1980). • Temperature variability has increased in recent decades. The summers of 2008 and 2009 were unusually cool in parts of the United States. • Only two of the past 15 summers have been cooler than either the 1931-1980 or 1951-1980 average.
  21. 21. Changes in the “bell curve”
  22. 22. • If dice are used to represent the chances of a cold, near-average, and hot season, two sides of a die would be blue, two sides white, and two sides red for the base period. The observed change in the frequency of temperature anomalies in recent years yields about one-half of a side blue for cold, one side white for near average, four sides red for hot, and one-half side red-brown for extremely hot. • The most important observed climate change is the appearance of this new category of extreme heat, deviations more than +3σ, which practically did not occur in the base period.
  23. 23. Uncertainty • Choice of 1951-1980 as a base period: (1) is prior to the large warming of the past few decades; (2) the period has the best global data coverage and can best characterize climate variability; (3) is the base period used by the National Weather Service and other researchers (easier to compare); (4) and it is recent enough for many people to remember what the climate was like. • The 1930s "dust bowl" in the U.S. was probably related to the combination of Pacific Ocean temperature patterns and exacerbation of the drought via effects of human-made plowing.
  24. 24. Conclusion • Exceptional heat (relative to climatology, i.e., the long-term average) must now be expected to occur over an area of the order of 10 percent of the land. • The location of the extreme anomalies in any given year depends upon weather patterns, and is, to a significant degree, a crap shoot. • Such meteorological situations have always occurred, but it is because of global warming that extreme conditions have become so much more pervasive.
  25. 25. Main Points • Hansen et al. show that the thermal climate is tangibly different today compared with what it was like as recently as the mid to late 20th century: we are now more than 10-fold as likely to endure an extremely hot summer as we were in the decades 1951–1980. • The sheer number and magnitude of extremes of temperature are consistent with a warmer world that has, with virtual certainty, been linked to human-induced increases in atmospheric greenhouse gases and, to a lesser extent, other human activities
  26. 26. • Asymmetrical nature of the expansion of the range of temperature anomalies: Could this reflect some subtle but important differences from normality, or is it a function of an increase in variability and mean still within a normal distribution? • Winter: high number of significantly negatively skewed seasonal temperatures. Less impact of greenhouse gases (snow reinforce cold conditions). • Summer: high number of significantly positively skewed seasonal temperatures.
  27. 27. • Hansen et al. states that recent extreme temperature anomalies, like those in 2011 (USA), 2010 (Russia), and 2003 (France), would not have occurred without global warming. • Observational data reveal significant increases in several other types of extremes, some of them expected to occur in a warming world. • There’s no statistically significant changes in land-falling hurricanes or tropical storm wind speeds in the Climate Extremes Index.
  28. 28. • In 2011, a record 55% of the United States was affected by either too much or too little water. It is consistent with climate model projections of drier conditions in the southwestern United States and wetter conditions in the northern United States as greenhouse gases continue to increase. • The first seven months of 2012 have registered the highest Climate Extremes Index (without hurricanes) ever observed. • The national average temperature has been above average each month for 14 consecutive months through July 2012.  This is expected to occur only once in about 500,000 years.
  29. 29. • In 2011, a record 55% of the United States was affected by either too much or too little water. It is consistent with climate model projections of drier conditions in the southwestern United States and wetter conditions in the northern United States as greenhouse gases continue to increase. • The first seven months of 2012 have registered the highest Climate Extremes Index (without hurricanes) ever observed. • The national average temperature has been above average each month for 14 consecutive months through July 2012.  This is expected to occur only once in about 500,000 years.
  30. 30. Uncertainty • More work is needed to understand this potentially important characteristic of the climate system better  Planning and adaptation implications, particularly if this observed change is part of the climate’s response to sustained changes in atmospheric composition. • Identify and remove any time-dependent biases from the climate record.
  31. 31. Conclusion • We are no longer waiting for evidence of global warming. It is clearly here now, affecting a wide variety of weather and climate events, and it will continue to grow as we burn more fossil fuel (Hansen et al.). • Some issues need further clarity, such as the details of how the distribution of extreme events will change.
  32. 32. • What is your opinion about the reports? Did they convince you that climate change is a threat? • What do you think are the weak points in the texts? • Uncertainty and politics: If someone says that is very likely (90%) that given soda to your children would kill them in the mid-term, what would you do? Would you still give it to they and wait for more evidence?

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