News / Science & Technology

Report Expected to Highlight Human Causes of Climate Change

A leaked climate change report finds it is extremely likely, 95 percent likely, that humans are major contributors to global warming.
A leaked climate change report finds it is extremely likely, 95 percent likely, that humans are major contributors to global warming.
Rosanne Skirble
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) brings together hundreds of the world’s leading scientists to study the effects of human activity on the Earth’s climate, the impact of climate change on the environment and civil society and ways to mitigate its effects.

Since 1990 the IPCC has issued four assessments; the fifth is due out Friday, September 27. The IPCC reports help governments and civil society make more informed decisions on climate issues.

The IPCC Fifth Assessment Report will be released in stages over the next year, beginning with an analysis of the physical science of climate change. The report is a consensus of how and why the climate is changing and how it might change in the future.

“It will look at changes in the temperature of the atmosphere and oceans, changes in storms, rainfall patterns, droughts, and other extreme weather events, and the consequences of changes in glaciers and ice sheets for sea level rise," said Alden Meyer, a policy analyst for the Union of Concerned Scientists. "It will also assess the contributions to these changes from both human activities and natural factors.”

The report synthesizes peer-reviewed studies on climate change science released since the last IPCC report in 2007. It is an immense task that has engaged hundreds of authors, editors and reviewers from 47 countries. Meyer doesn’t expect any startling new findings.

“But it will validate and reinforce the findings of previous IPCC reports with probably an increased level of confidence in some areas,” Meyer said.  
    
James McCarthy played a lead role in the Third IPCC Assessment Report released in 2001. The Harvard oceanographer says that since the fourth report, climate science has advanced significantly. Much more is known, for example, about the heat content of the ocean, he says, as reflected in data from an immense array of floats in the world’s oceans.

“The ocean heat content has been steadily increasing over the last 20 years and although earlier data would have allowed us to make a statement like that, the precision, coming from these 3500 floats, allows us to say this with much greater confidence," McCarthy said.

Also, McCarthy adds, a lot more is now known about the accelerated loss of ice from Greenland and Antarctica, and the projection of sea level rise connected to that loss.  

“If the ice melts on Greenland and Antarctica, how much will sea level rise? We’ll see now in the calculations for projected sea level rise that we didn’t see in 2007," he said. "So this will be a big improvement for people who are indeed looking with increasing concern at what might happen in coastal areas.”  

A draft version of the report leaked to the media last month states that the planet has warmed at a rapid pace since the 1950s and that it is extremely likely, 95 percent likely, that humans caused more than half of the observed changes, including melting snow and ice, sea level rise and climate extremes.
        
Climatologist Heidi Cullen with the non-profit group Climate Central says if that degree of certainty remains in the language of the report it will be significant.

“I think that with this report coming out, a statement like 95 percent certainty that human influence on climate is a result of our actions, that statement in and of itself, is quite profound," Cullen said. "We have altered the planet. Our actions have altered the planet, and we’re about as precise as you can get, as confident as you can get in that."

The Fifth Assessment Report will be released on Sept. 27 in Stockholm, followed by reports in 2014 on the impact of climate change and what can be done about it.

You May Like

Video Snowstorm Sweeps Northeastern US

'This is nothing like we feared it would be,' New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says; he had warned storm could be one of worst in city history More

Millions of Displaced Nigerians Struggle With Daily Existence

Government acknowledges over a million people displaced in 2014 due to fight against Boko Haram insurgency More

Facebook: Internal Error to Blame for Outages

Temporary outage appeared to spill over and temporarily slow or block traffic to other major Internet sites More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: scott from: philippines
September 21, 2013 6:20 AM
We are destroying the planet and their is NOTHING we can do at this point . The damage is done.


by: Kitagawa Keikoh from: Daikanyama, T-site
September 20, 2013 8:36 PM
OK. We understand that the climate is changing at a rapid pace since the 1950s.
But what does it mean for the long term climate change? The world climate has been changing for 100 years, 1000 years and more. Maybe there might be some rapid changes in the past.
Does scientists proof there was no such a rapid change in the past?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid