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The IPCC 1.5C Special Report

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is due to publish its special report on 1.5°C of global warming on Monday 8th October.

Hundreds of scientists around the world have contributed to the report, which has been compiled in direct response to the Paris Agreement. This saw countries around the world agree to keep “global temperature rise this century well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5°C.”
 
 

Recognising that more information was needed on the pathways and impacts of limiting warming to 1.5°C, the IPCC were invited by the United Nations to provide a special report, with the following outline agreed:

The (IPCC is recognised by the UK Government as the international authority on climate change. It carries out its work with the help of thousands of climate scientists around the world.

The Met Office have played an integral role in the development of the IPCC 1.5°C report including the provision of:

  • Scientific literature with approximately 90 Met Office authored papers expected to be cited in the report, reflecting the influence Met Office Hadley Centre research has internationally;
  • Observational data including global average temperature (HadCRUT4) and climate extremes (HadEX2) to put recent climate change into a long-term context;
  • Climate model projections to provide evidence on the impact of climate change on, for example, temperature extremes, river flows and food production
  • Numerous reviewers and a Contributing Author to ensure the report reflects the latest available evidence;

To complement the publication of the IPCC 1.5°C special report, the Met Office Hadley Centre has produced three briefing notes which explore the following related topics:

  1. Where are we now? What does a 1.5°C world mean and given that we’ve recently passed 1°C how close are we to exceeding the long-term goal?
  2. What are the challenges of limiting warming to 1.5°C? Achieving a 1.5°C goal will be challenging so how feasible is it and how might we achieve it?
  3. What impacts can we avoid by limiting warming to 1.5°C? What are the differences between impacts at 1.5 and 2°C for heatwaves, flooding and drought? What are the benefits for achieving 1.5°C?

Forward look - AR6

The IPCC is currently in its Sixth Assessment cycle with the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) due to be completed by 2023.

Again, the Met Office are heavily involved in the production of AR6 with representatives across all three Working Groups (WGs). In total the Met Office have:

  • 2 Coordinating Lead Authors in WG1 (The Physical Science Basis) on Chapter 9 (Oceans, Cryosphere and Sea Level) and Chapter ATLAS.
  • 3 Lead Authors – 1 in WG1 Chapter 4 (Future global climate: scenario-based projections and near-term information), 1 in WG1 Chapter 7 (Earth’s Energy Budget, Climate Feedbacks and Climate Sensitivity) and 1 in WG2 (Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability) Chapter 4 (Water)
  • 1 Review Editor in WG3 (Mitigation) on the Introduction & Framing chapter
 

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