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IPCC: Climate Warming Unequivocal, Human Activity Very Likely (>90% Probability) Causing Most

Ar41
Comparison of observed continental- and global-scale changes in surface temperature (black line) with results simulated by climate models using natural and anthropogenic forcings. Click to enlarge.

Warming of the world’s climate system is “unequivocal”, most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is “very likely” due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations caused by anthropogenic emissions, and continued greenhouse gas emissions at or above current rates will cause further warming and induce many changes in the global climate that would “very likely” be larger than those observed during the 20th century, according to the just-released Summary of the first volume of “Climate Change 2007”—also known as the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4)—by Working Group I of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Very likely,” as used in the Summary, indicates a greater than 90% probability, using expert judgement, of an outcome or a result. This assessment reflects a greater confidence in the role of anthropogenic emissions than in the prior report in 2001, when their role was deemed “likely”—greater than 66% probability.

Ar42
Global-average radiative forcing (RF) estimates and ranges in 2005 for anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O) and other important agents and mechanisms, together with the typical geographical extent (spatial scale) of the forcing and the assessed level of scientific understanding (LOSU). Click to enlarge.

The entire Climate Change 2007 report will comprise three main volumes resulting from the efforts of three working groups:

  • Working Group I: The Physical Science Basis (Release 2 February 2007)
  • Working Group II: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability (Acceptance and approval 2-5 April 2007)
  • Working Group III: Mitigation of Climate Change (Acceptance and approval 30 April - 3 May 2007)
  • A short 30-page synthesis report

Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis assesses the current scientific knowledge of the natural and human drivers of climate change, observed changes in climate, the ability of science to attribute changes to different causes, and projections for future climate change. The document released today is a summary of that work.

The report was produced by some 600 authors from 40 countries. More than 620 expert reviewers and a large number of government reviewers also participated. Approximately 300 delegates from 113 countries reviewed and revised the Summary line-by-line during the course of this past week before adopting it and accepting the underlying report. Acceptance is through consensus; the implications is that whatever is accepted and approved has the acceptance of all the participating governments.

While you may probably feel that there is no direct connection between the physical science related to climate change and mitigation options which require actions, let’s say, in reducing or improving the efficiency of fossil fuel use, there is a direct connection because if you see the extent to which human activities are influencing the climate system, then the options for mitigation of the emissions of greenhouse gases appear in a totally different light...you are able to see then what the costs of inaction are.

—Dr Rajendra K Pachauri, Chairman, IPCC
Ar43
Atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide over the last 10,000 years (large panels) and since 1750 (inset panels). Measurements are shown from ice cores (symbols with different colours for different studies) and atmospheric samples (red lines). The corresponding radiative forcings are shown on the right hand axes of the large panels. Click to enlarge.

Key findings of the report include:

  • Global atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide have increased markedly as a result of human activities since 1750 and now far exceed pre-industrial values determined from ice cores spanning many thousands of years. The global increases in carbon dioxide concentration are due primarily to fossil fuel use and land-use change, while those of methane and nitrous oxide are primarily due to agriculture.

  • There is a very high confidence that the globally averaged net effect of human activities since 1750 has been one of warming, with a radiative forcing of +1.6 [+0.6 to +2.4] W m-2.

  • 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 mean sea level.

  • At continental, regional, and ocean basin scales, numerous long-term changes in climate have been observed. These include changes in Arctic temperatures and ice, widespread changes in precipitation amounts, ocean salinity, wind patterns and aspects of extreme weather including droughts, heavy precipitation, heat waves and the intensity of tropical cyclones. Some aspects of climate have not been observed to change.

  • Paleoclimate information supports the interpretation that the warmth of the last half century is unusual in at least the previous 1,300 years. The last time the polar regions were significantly warmer than present for an extended period (about 125,000 years ago), reductions in polar ice volume led to 4 to 6 meters of sea level rise.

  • Ar44
    Projected warming for different scenarios, shown as continuations of the 20th century simulations. Shading denotes the plus/minus one standard deviation range of individual model annual means. The gray bars at right indicate the best estimate (solid line within each bar) and the likely range assessed for the six SRES marker scenarios. Click to enlarge.
    Most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations. Discernible human influences now extend to other aspects of climate, including ocean warming, continental-average temperatures, temperature extremes and wind patterns

  • Analysis of climate models together with constraints from observations enables an assessed likely range to be given for climate sensitivity for the first time and provides increased confidence in the understanding of the climate system response to radiative forcing.

  • For the next two decades a warming of about 0.2°C per decade is projected for a range of SRES emission scenarios. Even if the concentrations of all greenhouse gases and aerosols had been kept constant at year 2000 levels, a further warming of about 0.1°C per decade would be expected.

  • Continued greenhouse gas emissions at or above current rates would cause further warming and induce many changes in the global climate system during the 21st century that would very likely be larger than those observed during the 20th century. Best estimates for the temperature increase by 2100 in the different scenarios range from 1.8°C to 4.0°C, within broader ranges.

  • There is now higher confidence in projected patterns of warming and other regional-scale features, including changes in wind patterns, precipitation, and some aspects of extremes and of ice.

  • Anthropogenic warming and sea level rise would continue for centuries due to the timescales associated with climate processes and feedbacks, even if greenhouse gas concentrations were to be stabilized.

Resources:

Comments

philmcneal

OttoWeimar nice story, i'll be sure to teach it to my son sometime.

Scatter

"Interesting twist, this time there will be alternative summary, prepared by “qualified experts in fields related to climate science and has been reviewed by more than 50 scientists around the world”, such as “noted climate researcher Dr. Ross McKitrick as well as Dr. Andrei Illarionov, former advisor to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Professor David Henderson, former head of Economics and Statistics at the OECD, David Bellamy, noted environmentalist."

So Exxon have got an economist, another economist, another economist and finally a television botanist. The IPCC has climate scientists. Who you gonna believe when it comes to global warming?!

wintermane

Yes and all top secret info is oublished worldwide and peir reviewed...

Get a clue everything thats inportant that they know is NOT what they can tell us because its classified. And if you cant understand why details on climate change and us planning for it would be top secret you realy need help... Id excpect the details would be more important to keep secret then even the manhaten project.

cidi

"What you said is called scientific extrapolation. You took some observational measurements and then predicted what would happen" -- Stan Peterson

What you said is called causation by correlation, which is the primary argument of those who argue that it's all natural cycles.

I don't know if everyone knows this, but this is a watered down report. PRC and US delegates (anong others) pushed for more vague, and less alarming wording. -- allen_xl_Z

Essentially the same thing happened after the release of the 2nd and 3rd assessment reports. The IPCC is a committee -- this is inevitable.

Before that, in 1970, the scare of the day was global cooling, but of course on much smaller scale. -- Andrey

You know what, scientists are still predicting global cooling, for the same reasons they gave in the 70's and on the same timescale: we're going into an ice age because of orbital variations and will be in the thick of it in about 30,000 years. The "scare" was built by the MSM, who apparently cannot distinguish between 30 years and 30,000 (neither, apparently, can the Inhofe crowd).

So Exxon have got an economist, another economist, another economist and finally a television botanist. The IPCC has climate scientists. Who you gonna believe when it comes to global warming?! -- Scatter

Exxon of course! Are you nuts?!?

DS

So Exxon have got an economist, another economist, another economist and finally a television botanist. The IPCC has climate scientists. Who you gonna believe when it comes to global warming?!
Exxon of course. They're putting their money where their mouth is!!
Not like a bunch of freeloading academic.

Harvey D.

Many years ago, when a few 'traitors' and/or 'disloyal researchers' reported that tobacco company labs had discovered that smoking gave lung cancer, the tobacco industry went to court for almost 50 years to try to prove otherwise.

Today, we all know that smoking = many lung cancer cases + more heart failures and many premature deaths.

There seems to be a close parallel between our reaction to the ill effects of GHG and smoking; but many of us seems to (and are even paid) to refute it.

How many more well documented reports, storms, degrees of themperature rise, etc will be required for humanity to admit that it has done something wrong?

Many will claim that we are simply going throught a repetitive normal natural cycle. That this warm clcle will be followed by a cold one as happened many times before.

That is certainly true but human activities may very well make this current warm cycle a real champion. If it does, the self-regulation that Roger mentionned above may become a reality. With a lot less (or none) polluters remaining around, the Earth may swing towards the next cold cycle with more vigor. Will the next mankind to better?

DB

When is the last time Liberals organized a successful Conspiracy?

Fluoridated water in 1950's maybe?
(DS's earlier comment)

I seem to remember the panick started in the late 1980s of "the whole US is going to be overflowing with garbage and trash unless we recycle like crazy" which started the recycling craze that we have today. Recycling paper is WAAAAAY more harmful to the environment with all its steps than growing more trees (which is already done- tree farms)is.
Other controversies- probably 10-15% of people believe
9/11 was done by our own govt thanks to the CTs. We could go on and on, but that's all for now.

wintermane

Hehe waaay back in the late 80s my roffessor asked if I thought it was gona be global warming or global cooling and I said.. wichever it is its gona be global poopin in pants.

Neil

I find it somewhat ironic that here on "GREEN"carCongress I find some of the last of the diehard climate change skeptics. My Science degree was not in climatology. I will therefore not have the gall to make an ignorant pronouncement of fact (as some have done). While I'm not entirely convinced of the Science of global warming (based on my professional knowledge of modeling software) it seems prudent to be safe rather than sorry. Time to cut the CO2.

Andrey

Cidi:
Actually, global cooling mini-hysteria in 1970-s had a factual base. Global temperatures were on down trend for about 30 years after peaking in late 1930-s. That 0.2-0.3C instrumentally observed downtrend allowed MSM to claim that “we are entering new ice age”.
The history of two global warming and two global cooling MSM campaigns in 20 century was extensively exploited by Sen. Imhof & “crowd” to point out that dare predictions should be taken with grain of salt. There is nice article about it:
http://www.businessandmedia.org/specialreports/2006/fireandice/fireandice.asp

Neil:

Yes. This is exactly what GCC is about: promoting such “fail-safe mode” as improved fuel and energy efficiency and sustainability of personal transportation.

wintermane

Actauly what the givernment knew was fairly simple. Back a good ways a guy who was in fact not a climateologist in fact discovered how the climate of north and south america rythimcly change over hundreds of years. The givernment listened and checked and sure enough its FACT.

So back a good ways the givernment made plans for climate change. Worldwide change.

Along the way they started checking what exactly FACTUALY canges local and regional climates.

Slow work but very factual solid work.

The result was a bunch of prodent projects started to create the tools needed to handle a changed and changing climate.

Out of ths work it became solid fact that if enough local changes occured in enough places the solid fact would be a world wide change.

What they didnt know was the exact role of co2 ghg of other types and many feedback loops in the natural systems. All they knew was what could be proven.

That was that food would be scarce due to local climate changes.

They knew for a fact as cities grew heatwaves in cities due to heat island effect and local climate changes would escalate.

They knew for a fact there would be war.

And they knew for a fact they would NOT know even 10% of what was comming.

That is what we KNEW for a fact in the 80s.

Now they know alot more about co2 and other ghg and alot more about the ocean and permafrost and what was lirking under it and whats lurking in the deapths of the ocean.

But they also know as fact that they dont know most of whats going on.

So do they realy expct to win? No hey expect to survive.

So yes china and india and the us and others will now start trying to curb some ghg and do some other things.. Bu they wont let the econ stumble because in the end the ecn is what will pay to keep us alive when we fail. Not if WHEN.

Weare no better then cavemen trying to turn off a car by hitting it with rocks. Might as well trey it but dont bet on it.

Roger Pham

Wintermane,
I agree with most of what you're saying, but the major GHG producers are wrong in their assessment that curbing GHG release will damage their economy.

Economic theory 101: without increasing market demand, an economy will become stagnant, incapable of previous growth. Certainly, wars can stimulate economic production, but at the expense of human lives. FDR's New DEAl program also stimulated economic growth by expanding huge public work programs that lead the US out of the Great Depression. Using that same logic, there can be no greater economic stimulus than developing and deploying GREEN ENERGY technologies in large scale globally. Tens of millions of jobs will be created in the ramp up of GREEN energy machinery and the continual maintenance of these GREEN machinery will maintain a great number of these jobs. We have an excess of manpower globally for the task. The more expensive the new GREEN energy will be, the more jobs will be created, since most expenses will go toward payroll. Now, we need a little bit of cooperation from the Governments to make fossil energy more expensive via any politically palatable means...for the greater good of mankind!

Why should we as the entire human race be lazy and sits on our fat butts watching TV, burning up polluting and non-sustainable fossil fuel while many of us collecting unemployments or welfare checks...while we could be working a little bit harder to start building GREEN ENERGY infrastructures?

wintermane

I could explain exactly why the us economy would have tanked at the time if the us had signed kyoto but that wouldbe very boring and long winded.

Suffice to say trillions in pensions and a whole lota jobs were on the line.

Most of those pensioners are now DEAD. And alot of those jobs have slowlyshifted out of the us. Its safer now to do something and its cheaper too.

Also if yhe us had signed kyoto lets face reality folks we would be in deep doo doo right now.

1 The tropics would be 1 fuel farm.

2 Nuke plants as far as the eye can see.

3 Seeing that the us with its deep pockets was "SAVING THE WORLD" who else would have realy paniced enough to have dug deep and spent? And we all know how effiecent the us congress is with money.. In short 1/1000th the work would have gotten done and 99% of it would have been about stupid things.

4 Without the us pissing people off and freaking soo many out by ignoring global warming ... what would things be like now?

5 Would you realy want the us congress leading the fight against global warming?

6 George Bush the savior of mankind... just let that image sink in deep and let it soak in... Do you realy want to ever know what that would would have been like?

Alan

...and still not a word about the most important greenhouse gas of all. Seems the whole "Scientific" community is in collective denial. Anyone out there want to guess what this mystery gas is?

Neil

Alan:
are you by chance referring to:

by total effect - water vapour. (in all of the papers I've read the Climatologists were aware of it)
or
anthropogenic - methane and CO2 etc...

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