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PML authors contribute to crucial IPCC climate report

9 August 2021

A Plymouth Marine Laboratory researcher has contributed to the latest report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which brings together current understanding of the climate and the future under climate change.

Orange sky over the sea

The report, the Working Group I contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6), assesses the physical science basis of climate change, providing the latest scientific knowledge about the warming planet and projections for future warming.

It provides new estimates of the chances of crossing the global warming level of 1.5°C in the next decades, and finds that unless there are immediate, rapid and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, limiting warming to close to 1.5°C or even 2°C will be beyond reach.

Dr Shubha Sathyendranath, PML Merit Remote Sensing Scientist, was one of the lead authors for the report’s second chapter, ‘Changing state of the climate system’, along with 17 other researchers from around the globe.

This chapter looks at the large-scale changes that have been observed in climate system drivers (including greenhouse gases), key climate indicators like temperature and sea ice coverage, and modes of climate variability such as the El Niño-Southern Oscillation.

PML Marine Ecosystem Modeller, Dr Lee de Mora, also contributed to the report, as a contributing author for the third chapter, ‘Human influence on the climate system’.

The report was released on 9th August 2021, following the IPCC’s first ever virtual approval session for one of its reports. The creation of the report involved all 195 Member Governments of the IPCC, as well as thousands of scientists who drafted and reviewed both the report and the accompanying Summary for Policymakers. Over 14,000 scientific papers are referenced in the report, which is the first instalment of the overall report, due to be completed in 2022.

Dr Hoesung Lee, IPCC Chair, said: “This report reflects extraordinary efforts under exceptional circumstances. The innovations in this report, and advances in climate science that it reflects, provide an invaluable input into climate negotiations and decision-making.”

IPCC Working Group I Co-Chair Dr Valérie Masson-Delmotte said: “This report is a reality check. We now have a much clearer picture of the past, present and future climate, which is essential for understanding where we are headed, what can be done, and how we can prepare.”

Related information

AR6 Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis

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