Nature Puts IPCC in the Rearview Mirror

Thu, 2008-10-23 08:42Ross Gelbspan
Ross Gelbspan's picture

Nature Puts IPCC in the Rearview Mirror

Climate change is happening much faster than the world's best scientists predicted and will wreak havoc unless action is taken on a global scale, a new report warns.

The report says that the 2007 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) - a study of global warming by 4,000 scientists from more than 150 countries which alerted the world to the possible consequences of global warming - is now out of date.

Comments

If we’re going to say that short term variations shouldn’t be over-interpreted with respect to trends in climate, I think it’s rather premature to conclude that the rate of change has increased since the last IPCCs evaluation period. It’s fine to describe things with respect to expected schedules, but this goes a bit far. And with respect to sea level rise, the fourth IPCC report was never complete – the report stated that dynamic changes were not included and therefore it was an underestimate. It’s still an underestimate for that reason, not because things have accelerated since the estimate was made.

Worst Case scenarios were needed 10 years ago, but maybe someone thought it would sound alarmist to give us a peek at “what could happen if things went the worst possible way”.

What a good range for any prediction should be is “worst case”, “most likely”, and “least possible”.

We only got “sort of likely”, but the global warming reality, as it turned out, was much worse than that.

So, I hope we/they have learned a lesson, and from now on the IPCC gives us a worst case scenario… which might look something like “by 2025: 10oC avg. temp. rise ; No polar ice from April to December ; ocean levels rise 10 meters” … and also a more moderate prediction… just so we have a range to look at.

Did I try to post this here before?

Maybe the battle is being won - it wasn’t that long ago that the Telegraph was firmly in the denial of reality camp:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2006/04/09/do0907.xml http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/main.jhtml?xml=/earth/2007/11/04/eaclimate104.xml