The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has just issued its Fifth Assessment Report summarizing the best scientific information about global warming that is available in 2014.
Key findings are:
- It is extremely likely that humans are the dominant cause of warming since the mid-20th century.
- Each of the past three decades has been successively warmer than the preceding decades since 1850.
- Oceans absorb more than 90% of the heat.
- Land temperatures remain at historic highs while ocean temperatures continue to climb.
- Oceans will continue to warm during the 21st century.
- Global mean sea level will continue to rise during the 21st century.
- It is very likely that the Artic sea ice cover will continue to shrink and thin as global mean surface temperature rises.
- Some of the changes in extreme weather and climate events observed since about 1950 have been linked to human influence.
- The globally averaged temperature shows a warming of .85 degrees centigrade over the period 1880 – 2012. And 65% of the carbon budget compatible with limiting future temperature to an overall 2 degrees C increase has already been used.
- Energy production remains the primary driver of greenhouse gas emissions.
- Measures exist to achieve the substantial emissions reductions required to limit likely warming to 2 degrees C.
- Delaying mitigation will substantially increase the challenges associated with limiting warming to 2 degrees C.
I consider the above information from the IPCC report to be noncontroversial and providing overwhelmingly strong evidence that global warming is taking place. Next question: What do we do about it? This will be the subject of my next post!