The Met Office and the IPCC

4.4.1.3 IPCC Stormy Ocean

We are a key contributor to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports on climate change.

What is the IPCC?

The IPCC is an international scientific organisation that provides research-based information about the causes and consequences of climate change, including both human-influenced and naturally-occurring climate change. It also assesses measures for lessening the severity of climate change and the potential for adapting to its consequences. Its purpose is to inform government policy, but it does not recommend which policies governments should adopt.

The IPCC was formed in 1988 by two bodies: the United Nations Environmental Programme and the World Meteorological Organization. Thousands of scientists from across the world voluntarily contribute to its assessment reports, which are published every six years or so.

Our scientists have been most closely involved in Working Group 1, which sets out the physical science basis of climate change. We also have lead authors in Working Group 2, which looks at impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. Met Office research also contributes to Working Group 3, which examines the mitigation of climate change.

September 2013 sees the first phase in the publication of the IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), which consists of four reports and summaries for policymakers. The first summary from Working Group 1 is released on 27 September with the full report published on 30 September. Subsequent reports from Working Group 2 and Working Group 3 are published in March 2014 and April 2014. Finally, the Synthesis Report, providing an integrated view of climate change drawing upon the individual working group reports, is published in November 2014.

Before the Synthesis Report is released, governments of up to 195 contributing countries, including the UK, will review and approve the Summary for Policymakers section of each report. As an authoritative document, AR5's contents will form the evidence basis for decision makers in government, business and organisations around the world over the coming years.

How is the Met Office involved?

As one of the world's leading climate research centres, the Met Office Hadley Centre is a key contributor to the IPCC process and AR5. We contribute in a variety of ways throughout the process. For AR5 we have one Coordinating Lead Author and a number of Lead Authors engaged in writing the reports. Our observational datasets, climate modelling and numerous peer-reviewed papers from our scientists are also assessed in the reports. Our contribution draws on the breadth of the UK's national climate capability and our partnerships with research establishments across the UK and internationally.

Find out more from Coordinating Lead Author, Peter Stott, in our video about the IPCC process:

Dr Peter Stott explains the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) process
In this video, Dr Peter Stott explains the IPCC process and the different work involved in the report

Last updated: 27 September 2013