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Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis

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Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis is the most comprehensive and up-to-date scientific assessment of past, present and future climate change. The report: • Analyses an enormous body of observations of all parts of the climate system. • Catalogues increasing concentrations of atmospheric greenhouse gases. • Assesses our understanding of the processes and feedbacks which govern the climate system. • Projects scenarios of future climate change using a wide range of models of future emissions of greenhouse gases and aerosols. • Makes a detailed study of whether a human influence on climate can be identified. • Suggests gaps in information and understanding that remain in our knowledge of climate change and how these might be addressed. Simply put, this latest assessment of the IPCC will again form the standard scientific reference for all those concerned with climate change and its consequences, including students and researchers in environmental science, meteorology, climatology, biology, ecology and atmospheric chemistry, and policymakers in governments and industry worldwide.
Variations of the Earth's surface temperature over the last 140 years and the last millennium. (a) The Earth's surface temperature is shown year by year (red bars) and approximately decade by decade (black line, a filtered annual curve suppressing fluctuations below near decadal time-scales). There are uncertainties in the annual data (thin black whisker bars represent the 95% confidence range) due to data gaps, random instrumental errors and uncertainties, uncertainties in bias corrections in the ocean surface temperature data and also in adjustments for urbanisation over the land. Over both the last 140 years and 100 years, the best estimate is that the global average surface temperature has increased by 0.6 ± 0.2°C. (b) Additionally, the year by year (blue curve) and 50 year average (black curve) variations of the average surface temperature of the Northern Hemisphere for the past 1000 years have been reconstructed from "proxy" data calibrated against thermometer data (see list of the main proxy data in the diagram). The 95% confidence range in the annual data is represented by the grey region. These uncertainties increase in more distant times and are always much larger than in the instrumental record due to the use of relatively sparse proxy data. Nevertheless the rate and duration of warming of the 20th century has been much greater than in any of the previous nine centuries. Similarly, it is likely 7 that the 1990s have been the warmest decade and 1998 the warmest year of the millennium. [Based upon (a) Chapter 2, Figure 2.7c and (b) Chapter 2, Figure 2.20]
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CLIMATE CHANGE 2001:
THE SCIENTIFIC BASIS
Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis is the most comprehensive and up-to-date scientific assessment of past, present and
future climate change. The report:
Analyses an enormous body of observations of all parts of the climate system.
Catalogues increasing concentrations of atmospheric greenhouse gases.
Assesses our understanding of the processes and feedbacks which govern the climate system.
Projects scenarios of future climate change using a wide range of models of future emissions of greenhouse gases and aerosols.
Makes a detailed study of whether a human influence on climate can be identified.
Suggests gaps in information and understanding that remain in our knowledge of climate change and how these might be
addressed.
Simply put, this latest assessment of the IPCC will again form the standard scientific reference for all those concerned with climate
change and its consequences, including students and researchers in environmental science, meteorology, climatology, biology,
ecology and atmospheric chemistry, and policymakers in governments and industry worldwide.
J.T. Houghton is Co-Chair of Working Group I, IPCC.
Y. Ding is Co-Chair of Working Group I, IPCC.
D.J. Griggs is the Head of the Technical Support Unit, Working Group I, IPCC.
M. Noguer is the Deputy Head of the Technical Support Unit, Working Group I, IPCC.
P.J. van der Linden is the Project Administrator, Technical Support Unit, Working Group I, IPCC.
X. Dai is a Visiting Scientist, Technical Support Unit, Working Group I, IPCC.
K. Maskell is a Climate Scientist, Technical Support Unit, Working Group I, IPCC.
C.A. Johnson is a Climate Scientist, Technical Support Unit, Working Group I, IPCC.
Climate Change 2001:
The Scientific Basis
Edited by
J.T. Houghton Y. Ding D.J. Griggs
Co-Chair of Working Group I, IPCC Co-Chair of Working Group I, IPCC Head of Technical Support Unit,
Working Group I, IPCC
M. Noguer P.J. van der Linden X. Dai
Deputy Head of Technical Support Project Administrator, Technical Visiting Scientist, Technical Support
Unit, Working Group I, IPCC Support Unit, Working Group I, IPCC Unit, Working Group I, IPCC
K. Maskell C.A. Johnson
Climate Scientist, Technical Support Climate Scientist, Technical Support
Unit, Working Group I, IPCC Unit, Working Group I, IPCC
Contribution of Working Group I to the Third Assessment Report
of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Published for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
iv
PUBLISHED BY THE PRESS SYNDICATE OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE
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© Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2001
This book is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception and to the provisions of relevant
collective licensing agreements, no reproduction of any part may take place without the
written permission of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
First published 2001
Printed in USA at the University Press, New York
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library
Library of Congress cataloguing in publication data available
ISBN 0521 80767 0 hardback
ISBN 0521 01495 6 paperback
When citing chapters or the Technical Summary from this report, please use the authors in the order given on the chapter frontpage,
for example, Chapter 2 is referenced as:
Folland, C.K., T.R. Karl, J.R. Christy, R.A. Clarke, G.V. Gruza, J. Jouzel, M.E. Mann, J. Oerlemans, M.J. Salinger and S.-W. Wang,
2001: Observed Climate Variability and Change. In: Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to
the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Houghton, J.T., Y. Ding, D.J. Griggs, M. Noguer,
P.J. van der Linden, X. Dai, K. Maskell, and C.A. Johnson (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and
New York, NY, USA, 881pp.
Reference to the whole report is:
IPCC, 2001: Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Third Assessment Report of the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Houghton, J.T., Y. Ding, D.J. Griggs, M. Noguer, P.J. van der Linden, X. Dai, K.
Maskell, and C.A. Johnson (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA, 881pp.
Cover photo © Science Photo Library
v
Contents
Foreword vii
Preface ix
Summary for Policymakers 1
Technical Summary 21
1 The Climate System: an Overview 85
2 Observed Climate Variability and Change 99
3 The Carbon Cycle and Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide 183
4 Atmospheric Chemistry and Greenhouse Gases 239
5 Aerosols, their Direct and Indirect Effects 289
6 Radiative Forcing of Climate Change 349
7 Physical Climate Processes and Feedbacks 417
8 Model Evaluation 471
9 Projections of Future Climate Change 525
10 Regional Climate Information – Evaluation and Projections 583
11 Changes in Sea Level 639
12 Detection of Climate Change and Attribution of Causes 695
13 Climate Scenario Development 739
14 Advancing Our Understanding 769
Appendix I Glossary 787
Appendix II SRES Tables 799
Appendix III Contributors to the IPCC WGI Third Assessment Report 827
Appendix IV Reviewers of the IPCC WGI Third Assessment Report 845
Appendix V Acronyms and Abbreviations 861
Appendix VI Units 869
Appendix VII Some Chemical Symbols used in this Report 871
Appendix VIII Index 873
vii
Foreword
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was
jointly established by the World Meteorological Organization
(WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme
(UNEP) in 1988. Its terms of reference include (i) to assess
available scientific and socio-economic information on climate
change and its impacts and on the options for mitigating climate
change and adapting to it and (ii) to provide, on request,
scientific/technical/socio-economic advice to the Conference of
the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention
on Climate Change (UNFCCC). From 1990, the IPCC has
produced a series of Assessment Reports, Special Reports,
Technical Papers, methodologies and other products that have
become standard works of reference, widely used by policy-
makers, scientists and other experts.
This volume, which forms part of the Third Assessment Report
(TAR), has been produced by Working Group I (WGI) of the
IPCC and focuses on the science of climate change. It consists
of 14 chapters covering the physical climate system, the factors
that drive climate change, analyses of past climate and
projections of future climate change, and detection and attribu-
tion of human influences on recent climate.
As is usual in the IPCC, success in producing this report has
depended first and foremost on the knowledge, enthusiasm and
co-operation of many hundreds of experts worldwide, in many
related but different disciplines. We would like to express our
gratitude to all the Co-ordinating Lead Authors, Lead Authors,
Contributing Authors, Review Editors and Reviewers. These
individuals have devoted enormous time and effort to produce this
report and we are extremely grateful for their commitment to the
IPCC process. We would like to thank the staff of the WGI
Technical Support Unit and the IPCC Secretariat for their dedica-
tion in co-ordinating the production of another successful IPCC
report. We are also grateful to the governments, who have
supported their scientists’ participation in the IPCC process and
who have contributed to the IPCC Trust Fund to provide for the
essential participation of experts from developing countries and
countries with economies in transition. We would like to express
our appreciation to the governments of France, Tanzania, New
Zealand and Canada who hosted drafting sessions in their
countries, to the government of China, who hosted the final session
of Working Group I in Shanghai, and to the government of the
United Kingdom, who funded the WGI Technical Support Unit.
We would particularly like to thank Dr Robert Watson,
Chairman of the IPCC, for his sound direction and tireless and
able guidance of the IPCC, and Sir John Houghton and Prof.
Ding Yihui, the Co-Chairmen of Working Group I, for their
skillful leadership of Working Group I through the production
of this report.
G.O.P. Obasi
Secretary General
World Meteorological Organization
K. Töpfer
Executive Director
United Nations Environment Programme
and
Director-General
United Nations Office in Nairobi
ix
Preface
This report is the first complete assessment of the science of
climate change since Working Group I (WGI) of the IPCC
produced its second report Climate Change 1995: The Science
of Climate Change in 1996. It enlarges upon and updates the
information contained in that, and previous, reports, but
primarily it assesses new information and research, produced in
the last five years. The report analyses the enormous body of
observations of all parts of the climate system, concluding that
this body of observations now gives a collective picture of a
warming world. The report catalogues the increasing
concentrations of atmospheric greenhouse gases and assesses
the effects of these gases and atmospheric aerosols in altering the
radiation balance of the Earth-atmosphere system. The report
assesses the understanding of the processes that govern the
climate system and by studying how well the new generation
of climate models represent these processes, assesses the
suitability of the models for projecting climate change into the
future. A detailed study is made of human influence on climate
and whether it can be identified with any more confidence than
in 1996, concluding that there is new and stronger evidence
that most of the observed warming observed over the last 50
years is attributable to human activities. Projections of future
climate change are presented using a wide range of scenarios
of future emissions of greenhouse gases and aerosols. Both
temperature and sea level are projected to continue to rise
throughout the 21st century for all scenarios studied. Finally,
the report looks at the gaps in information and understanding
that remain and how these might be addressed.
This report on the scientific basis of climate change is the first
part of Climate Change 2001, the Third Assessment Report
(TAR) of the IPCC. Other companion assessment volumes
have been produced by Working Group II (Impacts, Adaptation
and Vulnerability) and by Working Group III (Mitigation). An
important aim of the TAR is to provide objective information
on which to base climate change policies that will meet the
Objective of the FCCC, expressed in Article 2, of stabilisation
of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level
that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with
the climate system. To assist further in this aim, as part of the
TAR a Synthesis Report is being produced that will draw from
the Working Group Reports scientific and socio-economic
information relevant to nine questions addressing particular
policy issues raised by the FCCC objective.
This report was compiled between July 1998 and January
2001, by 122 Lead Authors. In addition, 515 Contributing
Authors submitted draft text and information to the Lead
Authors. The draft report was circulated for review by experts,
with 420 reviewers submitting valuable suggestions for
improvement. This was followed by review by governments
and experts, through which several hundred more reviewers
participated. All the comments received were carefully
analysed and assimilated into a revised document for consider-
ation at the session of Working Group I held in Shanghai, 17
to 20 January 2001. There the Summary for Policymakers was
approved in detail and the underlying report accepted.
Strenuous efforts have also been made to maximise the ease of
utility of the report. As in 1996 the report contains a Summary
for Policymakers (SPM) and a Technical Summary (TS), in
addition to the main chapters in the report. The SPM and the
TS follow the same structure, so that more information on
items of interest in the SPM can easily be found in the TS. In
turn, each section of the SPM and TS has been referenced to
the appropriate section of the relevant chapter by the use of
Source Information, so that material in the SPM and TS can
easily be followed up in further detail in the chapters. The
report also contains an index at Appendix VIII, which
although not comprehensive allows for a search of the report
at relatively top-level broad categories. By the end of 2001 a
more in-depth search will be possible on an electronic version
of the report, which will be found on the web at
http://www.ipcc.ch.
We wish to express our sincere appreciation to all the
Co-ordinating Lead Authors, Lead Authors and Review Editors
whose expertise, diligence and patience have underpinned the
successful completion of this report, and to the many contribu-
tors and reviewers for their valuable and painstaking dedica-
tion and work. We are grateful to Jean Jouzel, Hervé Le Treut,
Buruhani Nyenzi, Jim Salinger, John Stone and Francis
Zwiers for helping to organise drafting meetings; and to Wang
Caifang for helping to organise the session of Working Group
I held in Shanghai, 17 to 20 January 2001.
We would also like to thank members of the Working Group I
Bureau, Buruhani Nyenzi, Armando Ramirez-Rojas, John
Stone, John Zillman and Fortunat Joos for their wise counsel
and guidance throughout the preparation of the report.
xPreface
We would particularly like to thank Dave Griggs, Maria
Noguer, Paul van der Linden, Kathy Maskell, Xiaosu Dai,
Cathy Johnson, Anne Murrill and David Hall in the Working
Group I Technical Support Unit, with added assistance from
Alison Renshaw, for their tireless and good humoured
support throughout the preparation of the report. We would
also like to thank Narasimhan Sundararaman, the Secretary
of IPCC, Renate Christ, Deputy Secretary, and the staff of
the IPCC Secretariat, Rudie Bourgeois, Chantal Ettori and
Annie Courtin who provided logistical support for govern-
ment liaison and travel of experts from the developing and
transitional economy countries.
Robert Watson
IPCC Chairman
John Houghton
Co-chair IPCC WGI
Ding Yihui
Co-chair IPCC WGI
Summary for Policymakers
Based on a draft prepared by:
Daniel L. Albritton, Myles R. Allen, Alfons P. M. Baede, John A. Church, Ulrich Cubasch, Dai Xiaosu, Ding Yihui,
Dieter H. Ehhalt, Christopher K. Folland, Filippo Giorgi, Jonathan M. Gregory, David J. Griggs, Jim M. Haywood,
Bruce Hewitson, John T. Houghton, Joanna I. House, Michael Hulme, Ivar Isaksen, Victor J. Jaramillo, Achuthan Jayaraman,
Catherine A. Johnson, Fortunat Joos, Sylvie Joussaume, Thomas Karl, David J. Karoly, Haroon S. Kheshgi, Corrine Le Quéré,
Kathy Maskell, Luis J. Mata, Bryant J. McAvaney, Mack McFarland, Linda O. Mearns, Gerald A. Meehl, L. Gylvan Meira-Filho,
Valentin P. Meleshko, John F. B. Mitchell, Berrien Moore, Richard K. Mugara, Maria Noguer, Buruhani S. Nyenzi,
Michael Oppenheimer, Joyce E. Penner, Steven Pollonais, Michael Prather, I. Colin Prentice, Venkatchalam Ramaswamy,
Armando Ramirez-Rojas, Sarah C. B. Raper, M. Jim Salinger, Robert J. Scholes, Susan Solomon, Thomas F. Stocker,
John M. R. Stone, Ronald J. Stouffer, Kevin E. Trenberth, Ming-Xing Wang, Robert T. Watson, Kok S. Yap, John Zillman
with contributions from many authors and reviewers.
1
A Report of Working Group I of the Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change
2
The Third Assessment Report of Working Group I of the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) builds
upon past assessments and incorporates new results from the
past five years of research on climate change1. Many hundreds
of scientists2from many countries participated in its preparation
and review.
This Summary for Policymakers (SPM), which was approved
by IPCC member governments in Shanghai in January 20013,
describes the current state of understanding of the climate
system and provides estimates of its projected future evolution
and their uncertainties. Further details can be found in the
underlying report, and the appended Source Information
provides cross references to the report's chapters.
An increasing body of observations
gives a collective picture of a
warming world and other changes
in the climate system.
Since the release of the Second Assessment Report (SAR4),
additional data from new studies of current and palaeoclimates,
improved analysis of data sets, more rigorous evaluation of
their quality, and comparisons among data from different
sources have led to greater understanding of climate change.
The global average surface temperature
has increased over the 20th century by
about 0.6°C.
The global average surface temperature (the average of near
surface air temperature over land, and sea surface temperature)
has increased since 1861. Over the 20th century the increase
has been 0.6 ±0.2°C5,6 (Figure 1a). This value is about 0.15°C
larger than that estimated by the SAR for the period up to
1994, owing to the relatively high temperatures of the
additional years (1995 to 2000) and improved methods of
processing the data. These numbers take into account various
adjustments, including urban heat island effects. The record
shows a great deal of variability; for example, most of the
warming occurred during the 20th century, during two
periods, 1910 to 1945 and 1976 to 2000.
Globally, it is very likely7that the 1990s was the warmest
decade and 1998 the warmest year in the instrumental
record, since 1861 (see Figure 1a).
New analyses of proxy data for the Northern Hemisphere
indicate that the increase in temperature in the 20th century
is likely7to have been the largest of any century during the
past 1,000 years. It is also likely7that, in the Northern
Hemisphere, the 1990s was the warmest decade and 1998
the warmest year (Figure 1b). Because less data are
available, less is known about annual averages prior to
1,000 years before present and for conditions prevailing in
most of the Southern Hemisphere prior to 1861.
On average, between 1950 and 1993, night-time daily
minimum air temperatures over land increased by about
0.2°C per decade. This is about twice the rate of increase in
daytime daily maximum air temperatures (0.1°C per decade).
This has lengthened the freeze-free season in many mid- and
high latitude regions. The increase in sea surface temperature
over this period is about half that of the mean land surface
air temperature.
Summary for Policymakers
1Climate change in IPCC usage refers to any change in climate over time, whether due to natural variability or as a result of human activity. This usage differs
from that in the Framework Convention on Climate Change, where climate change refers to a change of climate that is attributed directly or indirectly to
human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and that is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods.
2In total 122 Co-ordinating Lead Authors and Lead Authors, 515 Contributing Authors, 21 Review Editors and 420 Expert Reviewers.
3Delegations of 99 IPCC member countries participated in the Eighth Session of Working Group I in Shanghai on 17 to 20 January 2001.
4The IPCC Second Assessment Report is referred to in this Summary for Policymakers as the SAR.
5Generally temperature trends are rounded to the nearest 0.05°C per unit time, the periods often being limited by data availability.
6In general, a 5% statistical significance level is used, and a 95% confidence level.
7In this Summary for Policymakers and in the Technical Summary, the following words have been used where appropriate to indicate judgmental estimates of
confidence: virtually certain (greater than 99% chance that a result is true); very likely (9099% chance); likely (6690% chance); medium likelihood (3366%
chance); unlikely (1033% chance); very unlikely (110% chance); exceptionally unlikely (less than 1% chance). The reader is referred to individual chapters
for more details.
Figure 1: Variations of the Earth’s
surface temperature over the last
140 years and the last millennium.
(a) The Earth’s surface temperature is
shown year by year (red bars) and
approximately decade by decade (black
line, a filtered annual curve suppressing
fluctuations below near decadal
time-scales). There are uncertainties in
the annual data (thin black whisker
bars represent the 95% confidence
range) due to data gaps, random
instrumental errors and uncertainties,
uncertainties in bias corrections in the
ocean surface temperature data and
also in adjustments for urbanisation over
the land. Over both the last 140 years
and 100 years, the best estimate is that
the global average surface temperature
has increased by 0.6 ±0.2°C.
(b) Additionally, the year by year (blue
curve) and 50 year average (black
curve) variations of the average surface
temperature of the Northern Hemisphere
for the past 1000 years have been
reconstructed from “proxy” data
calibrated against thermometer data (see
list of the main proxy data in the
diagram). The 95% confidence range in
the annual data is represented by the
grey region. These uncertainties increase
in more distant times and are always
much larger than in the instrumental
record due to the use of relatively sparse
proxy data. Nevertheless the rate and
duration of warming of the 20th century
has been much greater than in any of
the previous nine centuries. Similarly, it
is likely7that the 1990s have been the
warmest decade and 1998 the warmest
year of the millennium.
[Based upon (a) Chapter 2, Figure 2.7c
and (b) Chapter 2, Figure 2.20]
3
1860 1880 1900 1920 1940 1960 1980 2000
Year
Departures in temperature (°C)
from the 1961 to 1990 average
Departures in temperature (°C)
from the 1961 to 1990 average
Variations of the Earth's surface temperature for:
(a) the past 140 years
(b) the past 1,000 years
GLOBAL
NORTHERN HEMISPHERE
Data from thermometers (red) and from tree rings,
corals, ice cores and historical records (blue).
1000 1200 1400 1600 1800 2000
Year
1.0
0.5
0.0
0.5
Data from thermometers.
0.8
0.4
0.0
0.4
0.8
Temperatures have risen during the past
four decades in the lowest 8 kilometres of
the atmosphere.
Since the late 1950s (the period of adequate observations
from weather balloons), the overall global temperature
increases in the lowest 8 kilometres of the atmosphere and
in surface temperature have been similar at 0.1°C per decade.
Since the start of the satellite record in 1979, both satellite
and weather balloon measurements show that the global
average temperature of the lowest 8 kilometres of the
atmosphere has changed by +0.05 ±0.10°C per decade, but the
global average surface temperature has increased significantly
by +0.15 ±0.05°C per decade. The difference in the warming
rates is statistically significant. This difference occurs
primarily over the tropical and sub-tropical regions.
The lowest 8 kilometres of the atmosphere and the surface
are influenced differently by factors such as stratospheric
ozone depletion, atmospheric aerosols, and the El Niño
phenomenon. Hence, it is physically plausible to expect that
over a short time period (e.g., 20 years) there may be
differences in temperature trends. In addition, spatial sampling
techniques can also explain some of the differences in
trends, but these differences are not fully resolved.
Snow cover and ice extent have decreased.
Satellite data show that there are very likely7to have been
decreases of about 10% in the extent of snow cover since
the late 1960s, and ground-based observations show that
there is very likely7to have been a reduction of about two
weeks in the annual duration of lake and river ice cover in
the mid- and high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere,
over the 20th century.
There has been a widespread retreat of mountain glaciers in
non-polar regions during the 20th century.
Northern Hemisphere spring and summer sea-ice extent has
decreased by about 10 to 15% since the 1950s. It is likely7
that there has been about a 40% decline in Arctic sea-ice
thickness during late summer to early autumn in recent
decades and a considerably slower decline in winter sea-ice
thickness.
Global average sea level has risen and
ocean heat content has increased.
Tide gauge data show that global average sea level rose
between 0.1 and 0.2 metres during the 20th century.
Global ocean heat content has increased since the late 1950s,
the period for which adequate observations of sub-surface
ocean temperatures have been available.
Changes have also occurred in other
important aspects of climate.
It is very likely7that precipitation has increased by 0.5 to
1% per decade in the 20th century over most mid- and
high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere continents, and
it is likely7that rainfall has increased by 0.2 to 0.3% per
decade over the tropical (10°N to 10°S) land areas.
Increases in the tropics are not evident over the past few
decades. It is also likely7that rainfall has decreased over
much of the Northern Hemisphere sub-tropical (10°N to
30°N) land areas during the 20th century by about 0.3%
per decade. In contrast to the Northern Hemisphere, no
comparable systematic changes have been detected in
broad latitudinal averages over the Southern Hemisphere.
There are insufficient data to establish trends in precipitation
over the oceans.
In the mid- and high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere
over the latter half of the 20th century, it is likely7that there
has been a 2 to 4% increase in the frequency of heavy
precipitation events. Increases in heavy precipitation events
can arise from a number of causes, e.g., changes in
atmospheric moisture, thunderstorm activity and large-scale
storm activity.
It is likely7that there has been a 2% increase in cloud cover
over mid- to high latitude land areas during the 20th century.
In most areas the trends relate well to the observed decrease
in daily temperature range.
Since 1950 it is very likely7that there has been a reduction
in the frequency of extreme low temperatures, with a smaller
increase in the frequency of extreme high temperatures.
4
Warm episodes of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO)
phenomenon (which consistently affects regional variations
of precipitation and temperature over much of the tropics,
sub-tropics and some mid-latitude areas) have been more
frequent, persistent and intense since the mid-1970s,
compared with the previous 100 years.
Over the 20th century (1900 to 1995), there were relatively
small increases in global land areas experiencing severe
drought or severe wetness. In many regions, these changes
are dominated by inter-decadal and multi-decadal climate
variability, such as the shift in ENSO towards more warm
events.
In some regions, such as parts of Asia and Africa, the
frequency and intensity of droughts have been observed to
increase in recent decades.
Some important aspects of climate appear
not to have changed.
A few areas of the globe have not warmed in recent decades,
mainly over some parts of the Southern Hemisphere oceans
and parts of Antarctica.
No significant trends of Antarctic sea-ice extent are apparent
since 1978, the period of reliable satellite measurements.
Changes globally in tropical and extra-tropical storm
intensity and frequency are dominated by inter-decadal to
multi-decadal variations, with no significant trends evident
over the 20th century. Conflicting analyses make it difficult
to draw definitive conclusions about changes in storm
activity, especially in the extra-tropics.
No systematic changes in the frequency of tornadoes, thunder
days, or hail events are evident in the limited areas analysed.
Emissions of greenhouse gases and
aerosols due to human activities
continue to alter the atmosphere in
ways that are expected to affect the
climate.
Changes in climate occur as a result of both internal variability
within the climate system and external factors (both natural
and anthropogenic). The influence of external factors on
climate can be broadly compared using the concept of
radiative forcing8. A positive radiative forcing, such as that
produced by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases,
tends to warm the surface. A negative radiative forcing, which
can arise from an increase in some types of aerosols
(microscopic airborne particles) tends to cool the surface.
Natural factors, such as changes in solar output or explosive
volcanic activity, can also cause radiative forcing.
Characterisation of these climate forcing agents and their
changes over time (see Figure 2) is required to understand past
climate changes in the context of natural variations and to
project what climate changes could lie ahead. Figure 3 shows
current estimates of the radiative forcing due to increased
concentrations of atmospheric constituents and other
mechanisms.
8Radiative forcing is a measure of the influence a factor has in altering the balance of incoming and outgoing energy in the Earth-atmosphere system, and
is an index of the importance of the factor as a potential climate change mechanism. It is expressed in Watts per square metre (Wm2).
5
CO
2
(ppm)
260
280
300
320
340
360
1000 1200 1400 1600 1800 2000
CH
4
(ppb)
1250
1000
750
1500
1750
N
2
O
(ppb)
310
290
270
250
0.0
0.5
1.0
1.5
0.5
0.4
0.3
0.2
0.1
0.0
0.15
0.10
0.05
0.0
Carbon dioxide
Methane
Nitrous oxide
Atmospheric concentration
Radiative forcing (Wm2)
1600 1800
200
100
0
(mg SO42 per tonne of ice)
Sulphur
Sulphate concentration
Year
Year
2000
50
25
0
SO2 emissions (Millions of
tonnes sulphur per year)
(b) Sulphate aerosols deposited in Greenland ice
(a) Global atmospheric concentrations of three well mixed
greenhouse gases
Indicators of the human influence on the atmosphere
during the Industrial Era
Figure 2: Long records of past changes in
atmospheric composition provide the context for
the influence of anthropogenic emissions.
(a) shows changes in the atmospheric
concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane
(CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O) over the past 1000
years. The ice core and firn data for several sites in
Antarctica and Greenland (shown by different
symbols) are supplemented with the data from direct
atmospheric samples over the past few decades
(shown by the line for CO2and incorporated in the
curve representing the global average of CH4). The
estimated positive radiative forcing of the climate
system from these gases is indicated on the right-
hand scale. Since these gases have atmospheric
lifetimes of a decade or more, they are well mixed,
and their concentrations reflect emissions from
sources throughout the globe. All three records show
effects of the large and increasing growth in
anthropogenic emissions during the Industrial Era.
(b) illustrates the influence of industrial emissions on
atmospheric sulphate concentrations, which produce
negative radiative forcing. Shown is the time history
of the concentrations of sulphate, not in the
atmosphere but in ice cores in Greenland (shown by
lines; from which the episodic effects of volcanic
eruptions have been removed). Such data indicate
the local deposition of sulphate aerosols at the site,
reflecting sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions at
mid-latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere. This
record, albeit more regional than that of the
globally-mixed greenhouse gases, demonstrates the
large growth in anthropogenic SO2emissions during
the Industrial Era. The pluses denote the relevant
regional estimated SO2emissions (right-hand scale).
[Based upon (a) Chapter 3, Figure 3.2b (CO2);
Chapter 4, Figure 4.1a and b (CH4) and Chapter 4,
Figure 4.2 (N2O) and (b) Chapter 5, Figure 5.4a]
6
Concentrations of atmospheric greenhouse
gases and their radiative forcing have
continued to increase as a result of human
activities.
The atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) has
increased by 31% since 1750. The present CO2concentration
has not been exceeded during the past 420,000 years and
likely7not during the past 20 million years. The current rate
of increase is unprecedented during at least the past 20,000
years.
About three-quarters of the anthropogenic emissions of CO2
to the atmosphere during the past 20 years is due to fossil
fuel burning. The rest is predominantly due to land-use
change, especially deforestation.
Currently the ocean and the land together are taking up
about half of the anthropogenic CO2emissions. On land,
the uptake of anthropogenic CO2very likely7exceeded the
release of CO2by deforestation during the 1990s.
The rate of increase of atmospheric CO2concentration has
been about 1.5 ppm9(0.4%) per year over the past two
decades. During the 1990s the year to year increase varied
from 0.9 ppm (0.2%) to 2.8 ppm (0.8%). A large part of this
variability is due to the effect of climate variability (e.g., El
Niño events) on CO2uptake and release by land and oceans.
The atmospheric concentration of methane (CH4) has
increased by 1060 ppb9(151%) since 1750 and continues
to increase. The present CH4concentration has not been
exceeded during the past 420,000 years. The annual
growth in CH4concentration slowed and became more
variable in the 1990s, compared with the 1980s. Slightly
more than half of current CH4emissions are anthropogenic
(e.g., use of fossil fuels, cattle, rice agriculture and
landfills). In addition, carbon monoxide (CO) emissions
have recently been identified as a cause of increasing CH4
concentration.
The atmospheric concentration of nitrous oxide (N2O) has
increased by 46 ppb (17%) since 1750 and continues to
increase. The present N2O concentration has not been
exceeded during at least the past thousand years. About a
third of current N2O emissions are anthropogenic (e.g.,
agricultural soils, cattle feed lots and chemical industry).
Since 1995, the atmospheric concentrations of many of
those halocarbon gases that are both ozone-depleting and
greenhouse gases (e.g., CFCl3and CF2Cl2), are either
increasing more slowly or decreasing, both in response to
reduced emissions under the regulations of the Montreal
Protocol and its Amendments. Their substitute compounds
(e.g., CHF2Cl and CF3CH2F) and some other synthetic
compounds (e.g., perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulphur
hexafluoride (SF6)) are also greenhouse gases, and their
concentrations are currently increasing.
The radiative forcing due to increases of the well-mixed
greenhouse gases from 1750 to 2000 is estimated to be
2.43 Wm2: 1.46 Wm2from CO2; 0.48 Wm2from CH4;
0.34 Wm2from the halocarbons; and 0.15 Wm2from N2O.
(See Figure 3, where the uncertainties are also illustrated.)
The observed depletion of the stratospheric ozone (O3)
layer from 1979 to 2000 is estimated to have caused a
negative radiative forcing (–0.15 Wm2). Assuming full
compliance with current halocarbon regulations, the positive
forcing of the halocarbons will be reduced as will the
magnitude of the negative forcing from stratospheric ozone
depletion as the ozone layer recovers over the 21st century.
The total amount of O3in the troposphere is estimated to
have increased by 36% since 1750, due primarily to
anthropogenic emissions of several O3-forming gases. This
corresponds to a positive radiative forcing of 0.35 Wm2.
O3forcing varies considerably by region and responds
much more quickly to changes in emissions than the long-
lived greenhouse gases, such as CO2.
9ppm (parts per million) or ppb (parts per billion, 1 billion = 1,000 million) is the ratio of the number of greenhouse gas molecules to the total number of
molecules of dry air. For example: 300 ppm means 300 molecules of a greenhouse gas per million molecules of dry air.
7
Level of Scientific Understanding
2
1
0
1
2
3
Radiative forcing (Watts per square metre)
Cooling Warming
The global mean radiative forcing of the climate system
for the year 2000, relative to 1750
High
Medium Medium
Low Very
Low
Very
Low
Very
Low
Very
Low
Very
Low
Very
Low
CO2
Very
Low
CH4
N2O
Halocarbons
Stratospheric
ozone
Tropospheric
ozone
Sulphate
Black
carbon from
fossil
fuel
burning
Organic
carbon
from
fossil
fuel
burning
Biomass
burning
Contrails
Solar
Mineral
Dust
Aerosol
indirect
effect
Land-
use
(albedo)
only
Aviation-induced
Cirrus
Very
Low
Aerosols
Figure 3: Many external factors force climate change.
These radiative forcings arise from changes in the atmospheric composition, alteration of surface reflectance by land use, and variation in the output
of the sun. Except for solar variation, some form of human activity is linked to each. The rectangular bars represent estimates of the contributions of
these forcings some of which yield warming, and some cooling. Forcing due to episodic volcanic events, which lead to a negative forcing lasting
only for a few years, is not shown. The indirect effect of aerosols shown is their effect on the size and number of cloud droplets. A second indirect
effect of aerosols on clouds, namely their effect on cloud lifetime, which would also lead to a negative forcing, is not shown. Effects of aviation on
greenhouse gases are included in the individual bars. The vertical line about the rectangular bars indicates a range of estimates, guided by the
spread in the published values of the forcings and physical understanding. Some of the forcings possess a much greater degree of certainty than
others. A vertical line without a rectangular bar denotes a forcing for which no best estimate can be given owing to large uncertainties. The overall
level of scientific understanding for each forcing varies considerably, as noted. Some of the radiative forcing agents are well mixed over the globe,
such as CO2, thereby perturbing the global heat balance. Others represent perturbations with stronger regional signatures because of their spatial
distribution, such as aerosols. For this and other reasons, a simple sum of the positive and negative bars cannot be expected to yield the net effect
on the climate system. The simulations of this assessment report (for example, Figure 5) indicate that the estimated net effect of these perturbations
is to have warmed the global climate since 1750. [Based upon Chapter 6, Figure 6.6]
8
Anthropogenic aerosols are short-lived and
mostly produce negative radiative forcing.
The major sources of anthropogenic aerosols are fossil fuel
and biomass burning. These sources are also linked to
degradation of air quality and acid deposition.
Since the SAR, significant progress has been achieved in
better characterising the direct radiative roles of different
types of aerosols. Direct radiative forcing is estimated to be
0.4 Wm2for sulphate, 0.2 Wm2for biomass burning
aerosols, 0.1 Wm2for fossil fuel organic carbon and
+0.2 Wm2for fossil fuel black carbon aerosols. There is
much less confidence in the ability to quantify the total
aerosol direct effect, and its evolution over time, than that
for the gases listed above. Aerosols also vary considerably
by region and respond quickly to changes in emissions.
In addition to their direct radiative forcing, aerosols have an
indirect radiative forcing through their effects on clouds.
There is now more evidence for this indirect effect, which is
negative, although of very uncertain magnitude.
Natural factors have made small
contributions to radiative forcing over the
past century.
The radiative forcing due to changes in solar irradiance for
the period since 1750 is estimated to be about +0.3 Wm2,
most of which occurred during the first half of the 20th
century. Since the late 1970s, satellite instruments have
observed small oscillations due to the 11-year solar cycle.
Mechanisms for the amplification of solar effects on
climate have been proposed, but currently lack a rigorous
theoretical or observational basis.
Stratospheric aerosols from explosive volcanic eruptions
lead to negative forcing, which lasts a few years. Several
major eruptions occurred in the periods 1880 to 1920 and
1960 to 1991.
The combined change in radiative forcing of the two major
natural factors (solar variation and volcanic aerosols) is
estimated to be negative for the past two, and possibly the
past four, decades.
Confidence in the ability of models
to project future climate has
increased.
Complex physically-based climate models are required to
provide detailed estimates of feedbacks and of regional
features. Such models cannot yet simulate all aspects of
climate (e.g., they still cannot account fully for the observed
trend in the surface-troposphere temperature difference since
1979) and there are particular uncertainties associated with
clouds and their interaction with radiation and aerosols.
Nevertheless, confidence in the ability of these models to
provide useful projections of future climate has improved due
to their demonstrated performance on a range of space and
time-scales.
Understanding of climate processes and their incorporation
in climate models have improved, including water vapour,
sea-ice dynamics, and ocean heat transport.
Some recent models produce satisfactory simulations of
current climate without the need for non-physical adjustments
of heat and water fluxes at the ocean-atmosphere interface
used in earlier models.
Simulations that include estimates of natural and
anthropogenic forcing reproduce the observed large-scale
changes in surface temperature over the 20th century
(Figure 4). However, contributions from some additional
processes and forcings may not have been included in the
models. Nevertheless, the large-scale consistency between
models and observations can be used to provide an
independent check on projected warming rates over the next
few decades under a given emissions scenario.
Some aspects of model simulations of ENSO, monsoons
and the North Atlantic Oscillation, as well as selected
periods of past climate, have improved.
9
There is new and stronger evidence
that most of the warming observed
over the last 50 years is attrib-
utable to human activities.
The SAR concluded: “The balance of evidence suggests a
discernible human influence on global climate”. That report
also noted that the anthropogenic signal was still emerging from
the background of natural climate variability. Since the SAR,
progress has been made in reducing uncertainty, particularly
with respect to distinguishing and quantifying the magnitude
of responses to different external influences. Although many
of the sources of uncertainty identified in the SAR still remain
to some degree, new evidence and improved understanding
support an updated conclusion.
There is a longer and more closely scrutinised temperature
record and new model estimates of variability. The warming
over the past 100 years is very unlikely7to be due to
internal variability alone, as estimated by current models.
Reconstructions of climate data for the past 1,000 years
(Figure 1b) also indicate that this warming was unusual and
is unlikely7to be entirely natural in origin.
There are new estimates of the climate response to natural
and anthropogenic forcing, and new detection techniques
have been applied. Detection and attribution studies consis-
tently find evidence for an anthropogenic signal in the
climate record of the last 35 to 50 years.
Simulations of the response to natural forcings alone (i.e.,
the response to variability in solar irradiance and volcanic
eruptions) do not explain the warming in the second half of
the 20th century (see for example Figure 4a). However, they
indicate that natural forcings may have contributed to the
observed warming in the first half of the 20th century.
The warming over the last 50 years due to anthropogenic
greenhouse gases can be identified despite uncertainties in
forcing due to anthropogenic sulphate aerosol and natural
factors (volcanoes and solar irradiance). The anthropogenic
sulphate aerosol forcing, while uncertain, is negative over
this period and therefore cannot explain the warming.
Changes in natural forcing during most of this period are
also estimated to be negative and are unlikely7to explain
the warming.
Detection and attribution studies comparing model
simulated changes with the observed record can now take
into account uncertainty in the magnitude of modelled
response to external forcing, in particular that due to
uncertainty in climate sensitivity.
Most of these studies find that, over the last 50 years, the
estimated rate and magnitude of warming due to increasing
concentrations of greenhouse gases alone are comparable
with, or larger than, the observed warming. Furthermore,
most model estimates that take into account both
greenhouse gases and sulphate aerosols are consistent with
observations over this period.
The best agreement between model simulations and
observations over the last 140 years has been found when
all the above anthropogenic and natural forcing factors are
combined, as shown in Figure 4c. These results show that
the forcings included are sufficient to explain the observed
changes, but do not exclude the possibility that other
forcings may also have contributed.
In the light of new evidence and taking into account the
remaining uncertainties, most of the observed warming over
the last 50 years is likely7to have been due to the increase in
greenhouse gas concentrations.
Furthermore, it is very likely7that the 20th century warming
has contributed significantly to the observed sea level rise,
through thermal expansion of sea water and widespread loss of
land ice. Within present uncertainties, observations and models
are both consistent with a lack of significant acceleration of
sea level rise during the 20th century.
10
Temperature anomalies (°C)
Temperature anomalies (°C)
(a) Natural (b) Anthropogenic
(c) All forcings
1850 1900 1950 2000
Year
1.0
0.5
0.0
0.5
1.0
Temperature anomalies (°C)
Simulated annual global mean surface temperatures
1850 1900 1950 2000
Year
1.0
0.5
0.0
0.5
1.0
1.0
0.5
0.0
0.5
1.0
1850 1900 1950 2000
Year
model
observations
model
observations
model
observations
Figure 4: Simulating the Earths temperature variations, and comparing the results to measured changes, can provide insight into the
underlying causes of the major changes.
A climate model can be used to simulate the temperature changes that occur both from natural and anthropogenic causes. The simulations
represented by the band in (a) were done with only natural forcings: solar variation and volcanic activity. Those encompassed by the band in (b) were
done with anthropogenic forcings: greenhouse gases and an estimate of sulphate aerosols, and those encompassed by the band in (c) were done with
both natural and anthropogenic forcings included. From (b), it can be seen that inclusion of anthropogenic forcings provides a plausible explanation
for a substantial part of the observed temperature changes over the past century, but the best match with observations is obtained in (c) when both
natural and anthropogenic factors are included. These results show that the forcings included are sufficient to explain the observed changes, but do
not exclude the possibility that other forcings may also have contributed. The bands of model results presented here are for four runs from the same
model. Similar results to those in (b) are obtained with other models with anthropogenic forcing. [Based upon Chapter 12, Figure 12.7]
11
Human influences will continue to
change atmospheric composition
throughout the 21st century.
Models have been used to make projections of atmospheric
concentrations of greenhouse gases and aerosols, and hence of
future climate, based upon emissions scenarios from the IPCC
Special Report on Emission Scenarios (SRES) (Figure 5).
These scenarios were developed to update the IS92 series,
which were used in the SAR and are shown for comparison
here in some cases.
Greenhouse gases
Emissions of CO2due to fossil fuel burning are virtually
certain7to be the dominant influence on the trends in
atmospheric CO2concentration during the 21st century.
As the CO2concentration of the atmosphere increases, ocean
and land will take up a decreasing fraction of anthropogenic
CO2emissions. The net effect of land and ocean climate
feedbacks as indicated by models is to further increase
projected atmospheric CO2concentrations, by reducing
both the ocean and land uptake of CO2.
By 2100, carbon cycle models project atmospheric CO2
concentrations of 540 to 970 ppm for the illustrative SRES
scenarios (90 to 250% above the concentration of 280 ppm
in the year 1750), Figure 5b. These projections include the
land and ocean climate feedbacks. Uncertainties, especially
about the magnitude of the climate feedback from the
terrestrial biosphere, cause a variation of about 10 to
+30% around each scenario. The total range is 490 to 1260
ppm (75 to 350% above the 1750 concentration).
Changing land use could influence atmospheric CO2
concentration. Hypothetically, if all of the carbon released
by historical land-use changes could be restored to the
terrestrial biosphere over the course of the century (e.g., by
reforestation), CO2concentration would be reduced by 40
to 70 ppm.
Model calculations of the concentrations of the non-CO2
greenhouse gases by 2100 vary considerably across the
SRES illustrative scenarios, with CH4changing by –190 to
+1,970 ppb (present concentration 1,760 ppb), N2O changing
by +38 to +144 ppb (present concentration 316 ppb), total
tropospheric O3changing by 12 to +62%, and a wide
range of changes in concentrations of HFCs, PFCs and SF6,
all relative to the year 2000. In some scenarios, total tropos-
pheric O3would become as important a radiative forcing
agent as CH4and, over much of the Northern Hemisphere,
would threaten the attainment of current air quality targets.
Reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and the gases that
control their concentration would be necessary to stabilise
radiative forcing. For example, for the most important
anthropogenic greenhouse gas, carbon cycle models indicate
that stabilisation of atmospheric CO2concentrations at 450,
650 or 1,000 ppm would require global anthropogenic CO2
emissions to drop below 1990 levels, within a few decades,
about a century, or about two centuries, respectively, and
continue to decrease steadily thereafter. Eventually CO2
emissions would need to decline to a very small fraction of
current emissions.
Aerosols
The SRES scenarios include the possibility of either increases
or decreases in anthropogenic aerosols (e.g., sulphate
aerosols (Figure 5c), biomass aerosols, black and organic
carbon aerosols) depending on the extent of fossil fuel use
and policies to abate polluting emissions. In addition,
natural aerosols (e.g., sea salt, dust and emissions leading to
the production of sulphate and carbon aerosols) are
projected to increase as a result of changes in climate.
Radiative forcing over the 21st century
For the SRES illustrative scenarios, relative to the year
2000, the global mean radiative forcing due to greenhouse
gases continues to increase through the 21st century, with
the fraction due to CO2projected to increase from slightly
more than half to about three quarters. The change in the
direct plus indirect aerosol radiative forcing is projected to
be smaller in magnitude than that of CO2.
12
Global average temperature and sea
level are projected to rise under all
IPCC SRES scenarios.
In order to make projections of future climate, models
incorporate past, as well as future emissions of greenhouse
gases and aerosols. Hence, they include estimates of warming
to date and the commitment to future warming from past
emissions.
Temperature
The globally averaged surface temperature is projected to
increase by 1.4 to 5.8°C (Figure 5d) over the period 1990 to
2100. These results are for the full range of 35 SRES
scenarios, based on a number of climate models10,11.
Temperature increases are projected to be greater than those
in the SAR, which were about 1.0 to 3.5°C based on the six
IS92 scenarios. The higher projected temperatures and the
wider range are due primarily to the lower projected
sulphur dioxide emissions in the SRES scenarios relative to
the IS92 scenarios.
The projected rate of warming is much larger than the
observed changes during the 20th century and is very likely7
to be without precedent during at least the last 10,000 years,
based on palaeoclimate data.
By 2100, the range in the surface temperature response
across the group of climate models run with a given
scenario is comparable to the range obtained from a single
model run with the different SRES scenarios.
On timescales of a few decades, the current observed rate of
warming can be used to constrain the projected response to
a given emissions scenario despite uncertainty in climate
sensitivity. This approach suggests that anthropogenic
warming is likely7to lie in the range of 0.1 to 0.2°C per
decade over the next few decades under the IS92a scenario,
similar to the corresponding range of projections of the
simple model used in Figure 5d.
Based on recent global model simulations, it is very likely7
that nearly all land areas will warm more rapidly than the
global average, particularly those at northern high latitudes
in the cold season. Most notable of these is the warming in
the northern regions of North America, and northern and
central Asia, which exceeds global mean warming in each
model by more than 40%. In contrast, the warming is less
than the global mean change in south and southeast Asia in
summer and in southern South America in winter.
Recent trends for surface temperature to become more
El Niño-like in the tropical Pacific, with the eastern tropical
Pacific warming more than the western tropical Pacific,
with a corresponding eastward shift of precipitation, are
projected to continue in many models.
Precipitation
Based on global model simulations and for a wide range of
scenarios, global average water vapour concentration and
precipitation are projected to increase during the 21st
century. By the second half of the 21st century, it is likely7
that precipitation will have increased over northern mid- to
high latitudes and Antarctica in winter. At low latitudes
there are both regional increases and decreases over land
areas. Larger year to year variations in precipitation are
very likely7over most areas where an increase in mean
precipitation is projected.
10 Complex physically based climate models are the main tool for projecting future climate change. In order to explore the full range of scenarios, these are
complemented by simple climate models calibrated to yield an equivalent response in temperature and sea level to complex climate models. These
projections are obtained using a simple climate model whose climate sensitivity and ocean heat uptake are calibrated to each of seven complex climate
models. The climate sensitivity used in the simple model ranges from 1.7 to 4.2°C, which is comparable to the commonly accepted range of 1.5 to 4.5°C.
11 This range does not include uncertainties in the modelling of radiative forcing, e.g. aerosol forcing uncertainties. A small carbon-cycle climate feedback
is included.
13
2000 2020 2040 2060 2080 2100
5
10
15
20
25
CO2 emissions (Gt C/yr)
Several models
all SRES
envelope
All SRES envelope
including land-ice
uncertainty
Model average
all SRES
envelope
All
IS92
Bars show the
range in 2100
produced by
several models
(a) CO2 emissions (b) CO2 concentrations (c) SO2 emissions
(e) Sea level rise
2000 2020 2040 2060 2080 2100
YearYearYear
50
100
150
SO2 Emissions (Millions of tonnes of sulphur per year)
A1B
A1T
A1FI
A2
B1
B2
IS92a
Scenarios
A1B
A1T
A1FI
A2
B1
B2
IS92a
Scenarios
A1B
A1T
A1FI
A2
B1
B2
IS92a
Scenarios
A1B
A1T
A1FI
A2
B1
B2
Scenarios
CO2 concentration (ppm)
300
400
500
600
700
800
900
1000
1100
1200
1300
2000 2020 2040 2060 2080 2100
2000 2020 2040 2060 2080 2100
Year
0.0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1.0
Sea level rise (metres)
The global climate of the 21st century
(d) Temperature change
All
IS92
2000 2020 2040 2060 2080 2100
Year
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
Temperature change (°C)
A1FI
A1B
A1T
A2
B1
B2
IS92a
(TAR method)
Several models
all SRES
envelope
Model ensemble
all SRES
envelope
Bars show the
range in 2100
produced by
several models
Figure 5: The global climate of the 21st century will depend on natural changes and the response of the climate system to human activities.
Climate models project the response of many climate variables such as increases in global surface temperature and sea level to various
scenarios of greenhouse gas and other human-related emissions. (a) shows the CO2emissions of the six illustrative SRES scenarios, which are
summarised in the box on page 18, along with IS92a for comparison purposes with the SAR. (b) shows projected CO2concentrations. (c) shows
anthropogenic SO2emissions. Emissions of other gases and other aerosols were included in the model but are not shown in the figure. (d) and (e)
show the projected temperature and sea level responses, respectively. The several models all SRES envelope in (d) and (e) shows the
temperature and sea level rise, respectively, for the simple model when tuned to a number of complex models with a range of climate sensitivities.
All SRES envelopes refer to the full range of 35 SRES scenarios. The model average all SRES envelope shows the average from these models
for the range of scenarios. Note that the warming and sea level rise from these emissions would continue well beyond 2100. Also note that this
range does not allow for uncertainty relating to ice dynamical changes in the West Antarctic ice sheet, nor does it account for uncertainties in
projecting non-sulphate aerosols and greenhouse gas concentrations. [Based upon (a) Chapter 3, Figure 3.12, (b) Chapter 3, Figure 3.12, (c)
Chapter 5, Figure 5.13, (d) Chapter 9, Figure 9.14, (e) Chapter 11, Figure 11.12, Appendix II]
14
Extreme Events
Table 1 depicts an assessment of confidence in observed
changes in extremes of weather and climate during the latter
half of the 20th century (left column) and in projected changes
during the 21st century (right column)a. This assessment relies
on observational and modelling studies, as well as the physical
plausibility of future projections across all commonly-used
scenarios and is based on expert judgement7.
For some other extreme phenomena, many of which may
have important impacts on the environment and society,
there is currently insufficient information to assess recent
trends, and climate models currently lack the spatial detail
required to make confident projections. For example, very
small-scale phenomena, such as thunderstorms, tornadoes,
hail and lightning, are not simulated in climate models.
aFor more details see Chapter 2 (observations) and Chapter 9, 10 (projections).
bFor other areas, there are either insufficient data or conflicting analyses.
cPast and future changes in tropical cyclone location and frequency are uncertain.
12 Heat index: A combination of temperature and humidity that measures effects on human comfort.
Confidence in observed changes Changes in Phenomenon Confidence in projected changes
(latter half of the 20th century) (during the 21st century)
Likely7Higher maximum temperatures and more Very likely7
hot days over nearly all land areas
Very likely7Higher minimum temperatures, fewer Very likely7
cold days and frost days over nearly
all land areas
Very likely7Reduced diurnal temperature range over Very likely7
most land areas
Likely7, over many areas Increase of heat index12 over land areas Very likely7, over most areas
Likely7, over many Northern Hemisphere More intense precipitation eventsbVery likely7, over many areas
mid- to high latitude land areas
Likely7, in a few areas Increased summer continental drying Likely7, over most mid-latitude continental
and associated risk of drought interiors. (Lack of consistent projections
in other areas)
Not observed in the few analyses Increase in tropical cyclone peak wind Likely7, over some areas
available intensitiesc
Insufficient data for assessment Increase in tropical cyclone mean and Likely7, over some areas
peak precipitation intensitiesc
15
Table 1: Estimates of confidence in observed and projected changes in extreme weather and climate events.
El Niño
Confidence in projections of changes in future frequency,
amplitude, and spatial pattern of El Niño events in the
tropical Pacific is tempered by some shortcomings in how
well El Niño is simulated in complex models. Current
projections show little change or a small increase in
amplitude for El Niño events over the next 100 years.
Even with little or no change in El Niño amplitude,
global warming is likely7to lead to greater extremes of
drying and heavy rainfall and increase the risk of
droughts and floods that occur with El Niño events in
many different regions.
Monsoons
It is likely7that warming associated with increasing
greenhouse gas concentrations will cause an increase of
Asian summer monsoon precipitation variability. Changes
in monsoon mean duration and strength depend on the
details of the emission scenario. The confidence in such
projections is also limited by how well the climate
models simulate the detailed seasonal evolution of the
monsoons.
Thermohaline circulation
Most models show weakening of the ocean thermohaline
circulation which leads to a reduction of the heat
transport into high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere.
However, even in models where the thermohaline
circulation weakens, there is still a warming over Europe
due to increased greenhouse gases. The current
projections using climate models do not exhibit a
complete shut-down of the thermohaline circulation by
2100. Beyond 2100, the thermohaline circulation could
completely, and possibly irreversibly, shut-down in either
hemisphere if the change in radiative forcing is large
enough and applied long enough.
Snow and ice
Northern Hemisphere snow cover and sea-ice extent are
projected to decrease further.
Glaciers and ice caps are projected to continue their
widespread retreat during the 21st century.
The Antarctic ice sheet is likely7to gain mass because of
greater precipitation, while the Greenland ice sheet is
likely7to lose mass because the increase in runoff will
exceed the precipitation increase.
Concerns have been expressed about the stability of the
West Antarctic ice sheet because it is grounded below sea
level. However, loss of grounded ice leading to substantial
sea level rise from this source is now widely agreed to be
very unlikely7during the 21st century, although its
dynamics are still inadequately understood, especially for
projections on longer time-scales.
Sea level
Global mean sea level is projected to rise by 0.09 to 0.88
metres between 1990 and 2100, for the full range of
SRES scenarios. This is due primarily to thermal
expansion and loss of mass from glaciers and ice caps
(Figure 5e). The range of sea level rise presented in the
SAR was 0.13 to 0.94 metres based on the IS92
scenarios. Despite the higher temperature change
projections in this assessment, the sea level projections
are slightly lower, primarily due to the use of improved
models, which give a smaller contribution from glaciers
and ice sheets.
16
Anthropogenic climate change will
persist for many centuries.
Emissions of long-lived greenhouse gases (i.e., CO2,N
2O,
PFCs, SF6) have a lasting effect on atmospheric
composition, radiative forcing and climate. For example,
several centuries after CO2emissions occur, about a quarter
of the increase in CO2concentration caused by these
emissions is still present in the atmosphere.
After greenhouse gas concentrations have stabilised, global
average surface temperatures would rise at a rate of only a
few tenths of a degree per century rather than several
degrees per century as projected for the 21st century
without stabilisation. The lower the level at which
concentrations are stabilised, the smaller the total
temperature change.
Global mean surface temperature increases and rising sea
level from thermal expansion of the ocean are projected to
continue for hundreds of years after stabilisation of
greenhouse gas concentrations (even at present levels),
owing to the long timescales on which the deep ocean
adjusts to climate change.
Ice sheets will continue to react to climate warming and
contribute to sea level rise for thousands of years after
climate has been stabilised. Climate models indicate that
the local warming over Greenland is likely7to be one to
three times the global average. Ice sheet models project that
a local warming of larger than 3°C, if sustained for
millennia, would lead to virtually a complete melting of the
Greenland ice sheet with a resulting sea level rise of about
7 metres. A local warming of 5.5°C, if sustained for 1,000
years, would be likely7to result in a contribution from
Greenland of about 3 metres to sea level rise.
Current ice dynamic models suggest that the West Antarctic
ice sheet could contribute up to 3 metres to sea level rise
over the next 1,000 years, but such results are strongly
dependent on model assumptions regarding climate change
scenarios, ice dynamics and other factors.
Further action is required to
address remaining gaps in
information and understanding.
Further research is required to improve the ability to detect,
attribute and understand climate change, to reduce uncertainties
and to project future climate changes. In particular, there is a
need for additional systematic and sustained observations,
modelling and process studies. A serious concern is the decline
of observational networks. The following are high priority
areas for action.
Systematic observations and reconstructions:
Reverse the decline of observational networks in many
parts of the world.
Sustain and expand the observational foundation for
climate studies by providing accurate, long-term,
consistent data including implementation of a strategy for
integrated global observations.
Enhance the development of reconstructions of past
climate periods.
Improve the observations of the spatial distribution of
greenhouse gases and aerosols.
Modelling and process studies:
Improve understanding of the mechanisms and factors
leading to changes in radiative forcing.
Understand and characterise the important unresolved
processes and feedbacks, both physical and biogeo-
chemical, in the climate system.
Improve methods to quantify uncertainties of climate
projections and scenarios, including long-term ensemble
simulations using complex models.
Improve the integrated hierarchy of global and regional
climate models with a focus on the simulation of climate
variability, regional climate changes and extreme events.
Link more effectively models of the physical climate and
the biogeochemical system, and in turn improve coupling
with descriptions of human activities.
17
Cutting across these foci are crucial needs associated with
strengthening international co-operation and co-ordination in
order to better utilise scientific, computational and observational
resources. This should also promote the free exchange of data
among scientists. A special need is to increase the observational
and research capacities in many regions, particularly in
developing countries. Finally, as is the goal of this assessment,
there is a continuing imperative to communicate research
advances in terms that are relevant to decision making.
The Emissions Scenarios of the Special Report on Emissions Scenarios
(SRES)
A1. The A1 storyline and scenario family describes a future world of very rapid economic growth, global population that
peaks in mid-century and declines thereafter, and the rapid introduction of new and more efficient technologies. Major
underlying themes are convergence among regions, capacity building and increased cultural and social interactions, with a
substantial reduction in regional differences in per capita income. The A1 scenario family develops into three groups that
describe alternative directions of technological change in the energy system. The three A1 groups are distinguished by their
technological emphasis: fossil intensive (A1FI), non-fossil energy sources (A1T), or a balance across all sources (A1B) (where
balanced is defined as not relying too heavily on one particular energy source, on the assumption that similar improvement
rates apply to all energy supply and end use technologies).
A2. The A2 storyline and scenario family describes a very heterogeneous world. The underlying theme is self-reliance and
preservation of local identities. Fertility patterns across regions converge very slowly, which results in continuously increasing
population. Economic development is primarily regionally oriented and per capita economic growth and technological change
more fragmented and slower than other storylines.
B1. The B1 storyline and scenario family describes a convergent world with the same global population, that peaks in mid-
century and declines thereafter, as in the A1 storyline, but with rapid change in economic structures toward a service and
information economy, with reductions in material intensity and the introduction of clean and resource-efficient technologies.
The emphasis is on global solutions to economic, social and environmental sustainability, including improved equity, but
without additional climate initiatives.
B2. The B2 storyline and scenario family describes a world in which the emphasis is on local solutions to economic, social
and environmental sustainability. It is a world with continuously increasing global population, at a rate lower than A2,
intermediate levels of economic development, and less rapid and more diverse technological change than in the B1 and A1
storylines. While the scenario is also oriented towards environmental protection and social equity, it focuses on local and
regional levels.
An illustrative scenario was chosen for each of the six scenario groups A1B, A1FI, A1T, A2, B1 and B2. All should be
considered equally sound.
The SRES scenarios do not include additional climate initiatives, which means that no scenarios are included that explicitly
assume implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change or the emissions targets of the
Kyoto Protocol.
18
Source Information: Summary for
Policymakers
This appendix provides the cross-reference of the topics in the
Summary for Policymakers (page and bullet point topic) to the
sections of the chapters of the full report that contain
expanded information about the topic.
An increasing body of observations gives a
collective picture of a warming world and
other changes in the climate system.
SPM Page Cross-Reference: SPM Topic Chapter Section
2 The global average surface temperature has
increased over the 20th century by about 0.6°C.
Chapter 2.2.2 Chapter 2.2.2 Chapter 2.3
Chapter 2.2.2
4Temperatures have risen during the past four
decades in the lowest 8 kilometres of the
atmosphere. Chapter 2.2.3 and 2.2.4
Chapter 2.2.3 and 2.2.4 Chapter 2.2.3, 2.2.4
and Chapter 12.3.2
4Snow cover and ice extent have decreased. All
three bullet points: Chapter 2.2.5 and 2.2.6
4Global average sea level has risen and ocean
heat content has increased. Chapter 11.3.2
Chapter 2.2.2 and Chapter 11.2.1
4 5Changes have also occurred in other important
aspects of climate. Chapter 2.5.2
Chapter 2.7.2 Chapter 2.2.2 and 2.5.5
Chapter 2.7.2 Chapter 2.6.2 and 2.6.3
Chapter 2.7.3 Chapter 2.7.3
5Some important aspects of climate appear not to
have changed. Chapter 2.2.2 Chapter 2.2.5
Chapter 2.7.3 Chapter 2.7.3
Emissions of greenhouse gases and
aerosols due to human activities continue
to alter the atmosphere in ways that are
expected to affect the climate system.
SPM Page Cross-Reference: SPM Topic Chapter Section
5 Chapeau: “Changes in climate occur …”
Chapter 1, Chapter 3.1, Chapter 4.1, Chapter 5.1,
Chapter 6.1, 6.2, 6.9, 6.11 and 6.13
7 Concentrations of atmospheric greenhouse gases
and their radiative forcing have continued to
increase as a result of human activities.
Carbon dioxide: Chapter 3.3.1, 3.3.2, 3.3.3
and 3.5.1 Chapter 3.5.1
Chapter 3.2.2, 3.2.3, 3.5.1 and Table 3.1
Chapter 3.5.1 and 3.5.2
Methane: Chapter 4.2.1
Nitrous oxide: Chapter 4.2.1
Halocarbons: Chapter 4.2.2
Radiative forcing of well-mixed gases:
Chapter 4.2.1 and Chapter 6.3
Stratospheric ozone: Chapter 4.2.2 and
Chapter 6.4
Tropospheric ozone: Chapter 4.2.4 and
Chapter 6.5
9Anthropogenic aerosols are short-lived and
mostly produce negative radiative forcing.
Chapter 5.2 and 5.5.4 Chapter 5.1, 5.2 and
Chapter 6.7 Chapter 5.3.2, 5.4.3 and Chapter 6.8
9Natural factors have made small contributions to
radiative forcing over the past century.
Chapter 6.11 and 6.15.1 Chapter 6.9 and 6.15.1
Chapter 6.15.1
19
Confidence in the ability of models to
project future climate has increased.
SPM Page Cross-Reference: SPM Topic Chapter Section
9 Chapeau: “Complex physically-based …”
Chapter 8.3.2, 8.5.1, 8.6.1, 8.10.3 and Chapter 12.3.2
9Chapter 7.2.1, 7.5.2 and 7.6.1 Chapter 8.4.2
Chapter 8.6.3 and Chapter 12.3.2
Chapter 8.5.5, 8.7.1 and 8.7.5
There is new and stronger evidence that
most of the warming observed over the last
50 years is attributable to human activities.
SPM Page Cross-Reference: SPM Topic Chapter Section
10 Chapeau: “The SAR concluded: The balance of
evidence suggests …” Chapter 12.1.2 and 12.6
10 Chapter 12.2.2, 12.4.3 and 12.6
Chapter 12.4.1, 12.4.2, 12.4.3 and 12.6
Chapter 12.2.3, 12.4.1, 12.4.2, 12.4.3 and 12.6
Chapter 12.4.3 and 12.6. Chapter 12.6
Chapter 12.4.3 Chapter 12.4.3 and 12.6
10 “In the light of new evidence and taking into
account the …” Chapter 12.4 and 12.6
10 “Furthermore, it is very likely that the 20th
century warming has …” Chapter 11.4
Human influences will continue to change
atmospheric composition throughout the
21st century.
SPM Page Cross-Reference: SPM Topic Chapter Section
12 Chapeau: “Models have been used to make
projections …” Chapter 4.4.5 and Appendix II
12 Greenhouse gases Chapter 3.7.3 and Appendix II
Chapter 3.7.1, 3.7.2, 3.7.3 and Appendix II
Chapter 3.7.3 and Appendix II
Chapter 3.2.2 and Appendix II
Chapter 4.4.5, 4.5, 4.6 and Appendix II
Chapter 3.7.3
12 Aerosols Chapter 5.5.2, 5.5.3 and Appendix II
12 Radiative forcing over the 21st century
Chapter 6.15.2 and Appendix II
Global average temperature and sea level
are projected to rise under all IPCC SRES
scenarios.
SPM Page Cross-Reference: SPM Topic Chapter Section
13 Temperature Chapter 9.3.3 Chapter 9.3.3
Chapter 2.2.2, 2.3.2 and 2.4 Chapter 9.3.3
and Chapter 10.3.2 Chapter 8.6.1, Chapter
12.4.3, Chapter 13.5.1 and 13.5.2
Chapter 10.3.2 and Box 10.1 Chapter 9.3.2
13 Precipitation Chapter 9.3.1, 9.3.6, Chapter
10.3.2 and Box 10.1
15 Extreme events Table 1: Chapter 2.1, 2.2, 2.5,
2.7.2, 2.7.3, Chapter 9.3.6 and Chapter 10.3.2
Chapter 2.7.3 and Chapter 9.3.6
16 El Niño Chapter 9.3.5 Chapter 9.3.5
16 Monsoons Chapter 9.3.5
16 Thermohaline circulation Chapter 9.3.4
16 Snow and ice Chapter 9.3.2 Chapter 11.5.1
Chapter 11.5.1 Chapter 11.5.4
16 Sea level Chapter 11.5.1
Anthropogenic climate change will persist
for many centuries.
SPM Page Cross-Reference: SPM Topic Chapter Section
17 Chapter 3.2.3, Chapter 4.4 and Chapter 6.15
Chapter 9.3.3 and 9.3.4 Chapter 11.5.4
Chapter 11.5.4 Chapter 11.5.4
Further work is required to address
remaining gaps in information and
understanding.
SPM Page Cross-Reference: SPM Topic Chapter Section
17 – 18 All bullet points: Chapter 14, Executive Summary
20
A report accepted by Working Group I of the IPCC
but not approved in detail
“Acceptance” of IPCC Reports at a Session of the Working Group or Panel signifies that the
material has not been subject to line by line discussion and agreement, but nevertheless
presents a comprehensive, objective and balanced view of the subject matter.
21
Technical Summary
Co-ordinating Lead Authors
D.L. Albritton (USA), L.G. Meira Filho (Brazil)
Lead Authors
U. Cubasch (Germany), X. Dai (China), Y. Ding (China), D.J. Griggs (UK), B. Hewitson (South Africa), J.T. Houghton (UK),
I. Isaksen (Norway), T. Karl (USA), M. McFarland (USA), V.P. Meleshko (Russia), J.F.B. Mitchell (UK), M. Noguer (UK),
B.S. Nyenzi (Tanzania), M. Oppenheimer (USA), J.E. Penner (USA), S. Pollonais (Trinidad and Tobago),
T. Stocker (Switzerland), K.E. Trenberth (USA)
Contributing Authors
M.R. Allen, (UK), A.P.M. Baede (Netherlands), J.A. Church (Australia), D.H. Ehhalt (Germany), C.K. Folland (UK),
F. Giorgi (Italy), J.M. Gregory (UK), J.M. Haywood (UK), J.I. House (Germany), M. Hulme (UK), V.J. Jaramillo (Mexico),
A. Jayaraman (India), C.A. Johnson (UK), S. Joussaume (France), D.J. Karoly (Australia), H. Kheshgi (USA),
C. Le Quéré (France), L.J. Mata (Germany), B.J. McAvaney (Australia), L.O. Mearns (USA), G.A. Meehl (USA),
B. Moore III (USA), R.K. Mugara (Zambia), M. Prather (USA), C. Prentice (Germany), V. Ramaswamy (USA),
S.C.B. Raper (UK), M.J. Salinger (New Zealand), R. Scholes (S. Africa), S. Solomon (USA), R. Stouffer (USA),
M-X. Wang (China), R.T. Watson (USA), K-S. Yap (Malaysia)
Review Editors
F. Joos (Switzerland), A. Ramirez-Rojas (Venzuela), J.M.R. Stone (Canada), J. Zillman (Australia)
A. Introduction
A.1 The IPCC and its Working Groups
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was
established by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO)
and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in
1988. The aim was, and remains, to provide an assessment of
the understanding of all aspects of climate change1, including
how human activities can cause such changes and can be
impacted by them. It had become widely recognised that
human-influenced emissions of greenhouse gases have the
potential to alter the climate system (see Box 1), with possible
deleterious or beneficial effects. It was also recognised that
addressing such global issues required organisation on a global
scale, including assessment of the understanding of the issue
by the worldwide expert communities.
At its first session, the IPCC was organised into three Working
Groups. The current remits of the Working Groups are for
Working Group I to address the scientific aspects of the
climate system and climate change, Working Group II to
address the impacts of and adaptations to climate change, and
Working Group III to address the options for the mitigation of
climate change. The IPCC provided its first major assessment
report in 1990 and its second major assessment report in 1996.
The IPCC reports are (i) up-to-date descriptions of the knowns
and unknowns of the climate system and related factors, (ii)
based on the knowledge of the international expert
communities, (iii) produced by an open and peer-reviewed
professional process, and (iv) based upon scientific publications
whose findings are summarised in terms useful to decision
makers. While the assessed information is policy relevant, the
IPCC does not establish or advocate public policy.
The scope of the assessments of Working Group I includes
observations of the current changes and trends in the climate
system, a reconstruction of past changes and trends, an
understanding of the processes involved in those changes, and
the incorporation of this knowledge into models that can attribute
the causes of changes and that can provide simulation of natural
and human-induced future changes in the climate system.
A.2 The First and Second Assessment
Reports of Working Group I
In the First Assessment Report in 1990, Working Group I broadly
described the status of the understanding of the climate system
and climate change that had been gained over the preceding
decades of research. Several major points were emphasised. The
greenhouse effect is a natural feature of the planet, and its
fundamental physics is well understood. The atmospheric
abundances of greenhouse gases were increasing, due largely to
human activities. Continued future growth in greenhouse gas
emissions was predicted to lead to significant increases in the
average surface temperature of the planet, increases that would
exceed the natural variation of the past several millennia and that
could be reversed only slowly. The past century had, at that time,
seen a surface warming of nearly 0.5°C, which was broadly
consistent with that predicted by climate models for the
greenhouse gas increases, but was also comparable to what was
then known about natural variation. Lastly, it was pointed out that
the current level of understanding at that time and the existing
capabilities of climate models limited the prediction of changes
in the climate of specific regions.
Based on the results of additional research and Special Reports
produced in the interim, IPCC Working Group I assessed the
new state of understanding in its Second Assessment Report
(SAR2) in 1996. The report underscored that greenhouse gas
abundances continued to increase in the atmosphere and that
very substantial cuts in emissions would be required for stabili-
sation of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere
(which is the ultimate goal of Article 2 of the Framework
Convention on Climate Change). Further, the general increase in
22
Technical Summary of the Working Group I Report
1Climate change in IPCC usage refers to any change in climate over time, whether due to natural variability or as a result of human activity. This usage
differs from that in the Framework Convention on Climate Change, where climate change refers to a change of climate that is attributed directly or
indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and that is in addition to natural climate variability observed over
comparable time periods. For a definition of scientific and technical terms: see the Glossary in Appendix I.
2The IPCC Second Assessment Report is referred to in this Technical Summary as the SAR.
global temperature continued, with recent years being the
warmest since at least 1860. The ability of climate models to
simulate observed events and trends had improved, particularly
with the inclusion of sulphate aerosols and stratospheric ozone as
radiative forcing agents in climate models. Utilising this
simulative capability to compare to the observed patterns of
regional temperature changes, the report concluded that the
ability to quantify the human influence on global climate was
limited. The limitations arose because the expected signal was
still emerging from the noise of natural variability and because of
uncertainties in other key factors. Nevertheless, the report also
concluded that “the balance of evidence suggests a discernible
human influence on global climate”. Lastly, based on a range of
scenarios of future greenhouse gas abundances, a set of
responses of the climate system was simulated.
A.3 The Third Assessment Report: This
Technical Summary
The third major assessment report of IPCC Working Group I
builds upon these past assessments and incorporates the results
of the past five years of climate research. This Technical
Summary is based on the underlying information of the
chapters, which is cross-referenced in the Source Notes in the
Appendix. This Summary aims to describe the major features
(see Figure 1) of the understanding of the climate system and
climate change at the outset of the 21st century. Specifically:
What does the observational record show with regard to
past climate changes, both globally and regionally and both
on the average and in the extremes? (Section B)
23
What changes
have occurred?
How well are the past and present
climates understood?
What changes
could lie ahead?
Observations:
temperatures
precipitation
snow / ice cover
sea level
circulation
extremes
Observations vis-à-vis Simulations
Palaeo & Instrumental
Periods The Present
Sections D + ESections B + C Sections F + G
Timeline:
This Summary:
The Future
Simulations:
natural variation
forcing agents
global climate
regional climate
high impact events
stabilisation
Figure 1: Key questions about the climate system and its relation to humankind. This Technical Summary, which is based on the underlying
information in the chapters, is a status report on the answers, presented in the structure indicated.
How quantitative is the understanding of the agents that
cause climate to change, including both those that are
natural (e.g., solar variation) and human-related (e.g.,
greenhouse gases) phenomena? (Section C)
What is the current ability to simulate the responses of the
climate system to these forcing agents? In particular, how
well are key physical and biogeochemical processes
described by present global climate models? (Section D)
Based on today’s observational data and today’s climate
predictive capabilities, what does the comparison show
regarding a human influence on today’s climate? (Section E)
Further, using current predictive tools, what could the
possible climate future be? Namely, for a wide spectrum of
projections for several climate-forcing agents, what does
current understanding project for global temperatures,
regional patterns of precipitation, sea levels, and changes in
extremes? (Section F)
Finally, what are the most urgent research activities that
need to be addressed to improve our understanding of the
climate system and to reduce our uncertainty regarding
future climate change?
The Third Assessment Report of IPCC Working Group I is the
product of hundreds of scientists from the developed and
developing world who contributed to its preparation and
review. What follows is a summary of their understanding of
the climate system.
Box 1: What drives changes in climate?
The Earth absorbs radiation from the Sun, mainly at the surface.
This energy is then redistributed by the atmospheric and oceanic
circulations and radiated back to space at longer (infrared)
wavelengths. For the annual mean and for the Earth as a whole, the
incoming solar radiation energy is balanced approximately by the
outgoing terrestrial radiation. Any factor that alters the radiation
received from the Sun or lost to space, or that alters the redistri-
bution of energy within the atmosphere and between the atmosphere,
land, and ocean, can affect climate. A change in the net radiative
energy available to the global Earth-atmosphere system is termed
here, and in previous IPCC reports, a radiative forcing. Positive
radiative forcings tend to warm the Earth’s surface and lower
atmosphere. Negative radiative forcings tend to cool them.
Increases in the concentrations of greenhouse gases will reduce the
efficiency with which the Earth’s surface radiates to space. More of
the outgoing terrestrial radiation from the surface is absorbed by
the atmosphere and re-emitted at higher altitudes and lower temper-
atures. This results in a positive radiative forcing that tends to
warm the lower atmosphere and surface. Because less heat escapes
to space, this is the enhanced greenhouse effect – an enhancement
of an effect that has operated in the Earth’s atmosphere for billions
of years due to the presence of naturally occurring greenhouse
gases: water vapour, carbon dioxide, ozone, methane and nitrous
oxide. The amount of radiative forcing depends on the size of the
increase in concentration of each greenhouse gas, the radiative
properties of the gases involved, and the concentrations of other
greenhouse gases already present in the atmosphere. Further, many
greenhouse gases reside in the atmosphere for centuries after being
emitted, thereby introducing a long-term commitment to positive
radiative forcing.
Anthropogenic aerosols (microscopic airborne particles or droplets)
in the troposphere, such as those derived from fossil fuel and
biomass burning, can reflect solar radiation, which leads to a
cooling tendency in the climate system. Because it can absorb solar
radiation, black carbon (soot) aerosol tends to warm the climate
system. In addition, changes in aerosol concentrations can alter
cloud amount and cloud reflectivity through their effect on cloud
properties and lifetimes. In most cases, tropospheric aerosols tend
to produce a negative radiative forcing and a cooler climate. They
have a much shorter lifetime (days to weeks) than most greenhouse
24
gases (decades to centuries), and, as a result, their concentrations
respond much more quickly to changes in emissions.
Volcanic activity can inject large amounts of sulphur-containing
gases (primarily sulphur dioxide) into the stratosphere, which are
transformed into sulphate aerosols. Individual eruptions can produce
a large, but transitory, negative radiative forcing, tending to cool the
Earth’s surface and lower atmosphere over periods of a few years.
The Sun’s output of energy varies by small amounts (0.1%) over
an 11-year cycle and, in addition, variations over longer periods
may occur. On time-scales of tens to thousands of years, slow
variations in the Earth’s orbit, which are well understood, have led
to changes in the seasonal and latitudinal distribution of solar
radiation. These changes have played an important part in
controlling the variations of climate in the distant past, such as the
glacial and inter-glacial cycles.
When radiative forcing changes, the climate system responds on
various time-scales. The longest of these are due to the large heat
capacity of the deep ocean and dynamic adjustment of the ice
sheets. This means that the transient response to a change (either
positive or negative) may last for thousands of years. Any changes
in the radiative balance of the Earth, including those due to an
increase in greenhouse gases or in aerosols, will alter the global
hydrological cycle and atmospheric and oceanic circulation,
thereby affecting weather patterns and regional temperatures and
precipitation.
Any human-induced changes in climate will be embedded in a
background of natural climatic variations that occur on a whole
range of time- and space-scales. Climate variability can occur as a
result of natural changes in the forcing of the climate system, for
example variations in the strength of the incoming solar radiation
and changes in the concentrations of aerosols arising from volcanic
eruptions. Natural climate variations can also occur in the absence
of a change in external forcing, as a result of complex interactions
between components of the climate system, such as the coupling
between the atmosphere and ocean. The El Niño-Southern
Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon is an example of such natural
“internal” variability on interannual time-scales. To distinguish
anthropogenic climate changes from natural variations, it is
necessary to identify the anthropogenic “signal” against the
background “noise” of natural climate variability.
B. The Observed Changes in the
Climate System
Is the Earth’s climate changing? The answer is unequivocally
“Yes”. A suite of observations supports this conclusion and
provides insight about the rapidity of those changes. These
data are also the bedrock upon which to construct the answer
to the more difficult question: “Why is it changing?”, which is
addressed in later Sections.
This Section provides an updated summary of the observations
that delineate how the climate system has changed in the past.
Many of the variables of the climate system have been
measured directly, i.e., the “instrumental record”. For example,
widespread direct measurements of surface temperature began
around the middle of the 19th century. Near global
observations of other surface “weather” variables, such as
precipitation and winds, have been made for about a hundred
years. Sea level measurements have been made for over 100
years in some places, but the network of tide gauges with long
records provides only limited global coverage. Upper air
observations have been made systematically only since the late
1940s. There are also long records of surface oceanic
observations made from ships since the mid-19th century and
by dedicated buoys since about the late 1970s. Sub-surface
oceanic temperature measurements with near global coverage
are now available from the late 1940s. Since the late 1970s,
other data from Earth-observation satellites have been used to
provide a wide range of global observations of various
components of the climate system. In addition, a growing set
of palaeoclimatic data, e.g., from trees, corals, sediments, and
ice, are giving information about the Earth’s climate of
centuries and millennia before the present.
This Section places particular emphasis on current knowledge of
past changes in key climate variables: temperature, precipitation
and atmospheric moisture, snow cover, extent of land and sea
ice, sea level, patterns in atmospheric and oceanic circulation,
extreme weather and climate events, and overall features of the
climate variability. The concluding part of this Section compares
the observed trends in these various climate indicators to see if a
collective picture emerges. The degree of this internal
consistency is a critical factor in assessing the level of confidence
in the current understanding of the climate system.
25
B.1 Observed Changes in Temperature
Temperatures in the instrumental record for
land and oceans
The global average surface temperature has increased by 0.6
±
0.2°C3since the late 19th century. It is very likely that the
1990s was the warmest decade and 1998 the warmest year in
the instrumental record since 1861 (see Figure 2). The main
cause of the increased estimate of global warming of 0.15°C
since the SAR is related to the record warmth of the additional
six years (1995 to 2000) of data. A secondary reason is related
to improved methods of estimating change. The current,
slightly larger uncertainty range (±0.2°C, 95% confidence
interval) is also more objectively based. Further, the scientific
basis for confidence in the estimates of the increase in global
temperature since the late 19th century has been strengthened
since the SAR. This is due to the improvements derived from
several new studies. These include an independent test of the
corrections used for time-dependent biases in the sea surface
temperature data and new analyses of the effect of urban “heat
island” influences on global land-temperature trends. As
indicated in Figure 2, most of the increase in global temperature
since the late 19th century has occurred in two distinct periods:
1910 to 1945 and since 1976. The rate of increase of temperature
for both periods is about 0.15°C/decade. Recent warming has
been greater over land compared to oceans; the increase in sea
surface temperature over the period 1950 to 1993 is about half
that of the mean land-surface air temperature. The high global
temperature associated with the 1997 to 1998 El Niño event
stands out as an extreme event, even taking into account the
recent rate of warming.
The regional patterns of the warming that occurred in the early
part of the 20th century were different than those that occurred
in the latter part. Figure 3 shows the regional patterns of the
warming that have occurred over the full 20th century, as well
as for three component time periods. The most recent period of
warming (1976 to 1999) has been almost global, but the largest
increases in temperature have
occurred over the mid- and high
latitudes of the continents in the
Northern Hemisphere. Year-round
cooling is evident in the north-
western North Atlantic and the
central North Pacific Oceans, but
the North Atlantic cooling trend
has recently reversed. The recent
regional patterns of temperature
change have been shown to be
related, in part, to various phases
of atmospheric-oceanic
oscillations, such as the North
Atlantic-Arctic Oscillation and
possibly the Pacific Decadal
Oscillation. Therefore, regional
temperature trends over a few
decades can be strongly influenced
by regional variability in the
climate system and can depart
appreciably from a global average. The 1910 to 1945 warming
was initially concentrated in the North Atlantic. By contrast, the
period 1946 to 1975 showed significant cooling in the North
Atlantic, as well as much of the Northern Hemisphere, and
warming in much of the Southern Hemisphere.
New analyses indicate that global ocean heat content has
increased significantly since the late 1950s. More than half
of the increase in heat content has occurred in the upper 300 m
26
1860 1880 1900 1920 1940 1960 1980 2000
Year
Departures in temperature (°C)
from the 1961 to 1990 average
GLOBAL
Data from thermometers.
-0.8
-0.4
0.0
0.4
0.8
3Generally, temperature trends are rounded to the nearest 0.05°C per unit of time, the periods often being limited by data availability.
Figure 2: Combined annual land-surface air and sea surface temperature anomalies (°C) 1861 to 2000,
relative to 1961 to 1990. Two standard error uncertainties are shown as bars on the annual number.
[Based on Figure 2.7c]
27
(a) Annual temperature trends, 1901 to 2000 (b) Annual temperature trends, 1910 to 1945
(c) Annual temperature trends, 1946 to 1975
Trend (°C/decade)
00.20.2 0.40.4 0.60.6 0.80.8 11
(d) Annual temperature trends, 1976 to 2000
Figure 3: Annual temperature trends for the periods 1901 to 1999, 1910 to 1945, 1946 to 1975 and 1976 to 1999 respectively. Trends are represented by
the area of the circle with red representing increases, blue representing decreases, and green little or no change. Trends were calculated from annually
averaged gridded anomalies with the requirement that the calculation of annual anomalies include a minimum of 10 months of data. For the period 1901
to 1999, trends were calculated only for those grid boxes containing annual anomalies in at least 66 of the 100 years. The minimum number of years
required for the shorter time periods (1910 to 1945, 1946 to 1975, and 1976 to 1999) was 24, 20, and 16 years respectively. [Based on Figure 2.9]
of the ocean, equivalent to a rate of temperature increase in
this layer of about 0.04°C/decade.
New analyses of daily maximum and minimum land-surface
temperatures for 1950 to 1993 continue to show that this
measure of diurnal temperature range is decreasing very
widely, although not everywhere. On average, minimum
temperatures are increasing at about twice the rate of
maximum temperatures (0.2 versus 0.1°C/decade).
Temperatures above the surface layer from
satellite and weather balloon records
Surface, balloon and satellite temperature measurements show
that the troposphere and Earth’s surface have warmed and
that the stratosphere has cooled. Over the shorter time period
for which there have been both satellite and weather balloon
data (since 1979), the balloon and satellite records show
significantly less lower-tropospheric warming than observed
at the surface. Analyses of temperature trends since 1958 for
the lowest 8 km of the atmosphere and at the surface are in
good agreement, as shown in Figure 4a, with a warming of
about 0.1°C per decade. However, since the beginning of the
satellite record in 1979, the temperature data from both
satellites and weather balloons show a warming in the global
middle-to-lower troposphere at a rate of approximately 0.05 ±
0.10°C per decade. The global average surface temperature has
increased significantly by 0.15 ±0.05°C/decade. The
difference in the warming rates is statistically significant. By
contrast, during the period 1958 to 1978, surface temperature
trends were near zero, while trends for the lowest 8 km of the
atmosphere were near 0.2°C/decade. About half of the
observed difference in warming since 1979 is likely4to be due
to the combination of the differences in spatial coverage of the
surface and tropospheric observations and the physical effects
of the sequence of volcanic eruptions and a substantial El
Niño (see Box 4 for a general description of ENSO) that
occurred within this period. The remaining difference is very
likely real and not an observing bias. It arises primarily due to
differences in the rate of temperature change over the tropical
and sub-tropical regions, which were faster in the lowest 8 km
of the atmosphere before about 1979, but which have been
slower since then. There are no significant differences in
warming rates over mid-latitude continental regions in the
Northern Hemisphere. In the upper troposphere, no significant
global temperature trends have been detected since the early
1960s. In the stratosphere, as shown in Figure 4b, both
satellites and balloons show substantial cooling, punctuated by
sharp warming episodes of one to two years long that are due
to volcanic eruptions.
Surface temperatures during the pre-
instrumental period from the proxy record
It is likely that the rate and duration of the warming of the 20th
century is larger than any other time during the last 1,000
years. The 1990s are likely to have been the warmest decade of
the millennium in the Northern Hemisphere, and 1998 is likely
to have been the warmest year. There has been a considerable
advance in understanding of temperature change that occurred
over the last millennium, especially from the synthesis of
individual temperature reconstructions. This new detailed
temperature record for the Northern Hemisphere is shown in
Figure 5. The data show a relatively warm period associated
with the 11th to 14th centuries and a relatively cool period
associated with the 15th to 19th centuries in the Northern
Hemisphere. However, evidence does not support these
“Medieval Warm Period” and “Little Ice Age” periods, respec-
tively, as being globally synchronous. As Figure 5 indicates, the
rate and duration of warming of the Northern Hemisphere in
the 20th century appears to have been unprecedented during the
millennium, and it cannot simply be considered as a recovery
from the “Little Ice Age” of the 15th to 19th centuries. These
analyses are complemented by sensitivity analysis of the spatial
representativeness of available palaeoclimatic data, indicating
that the warmth of the recent decade is outside the 95%
confidence interval of temperature uncertainty, even during the
warmest periods of the last millennium. Moreover, several
different analyses have now been completed, each suggesting
28
Figure 4: (a) Time-series of seasonal temperature anomalies of the
troposphere based on balloons and satellites in addition to the surface.
(b) Time-series of seasonal temperature anomalies of the lower strato-
sphere from balloons and satellites. [Based on Figure 2.12]
4In this Technical Summary and in the Summary for Policymakers, the following words have been used to indicate approximate judgmental estimates of
confidence: virtually certain (greater than 99% chance that a result is true); very likely (9099% chance); likely (6690% chance);
medium likelihood (3366% chance); unlikely (1033% chance); very unlikely (110% chance); exceptionally unlikely (less than 1% chance).
The reader is referred to individual chapters for more details.
Satellites
Surface
Balloons
Satellites
Balloons
1960 1970 1980 1990 2000
Year
1.0
0.5
0.0
0.5
Anomaly (°C)
a)
1960 1970 1980 1990 2000
Year
4
2
0
2
Anomaly (°C)
b)
Agung El Chichon Pinatubo
29
that the Northern Hemisphere temperatures of the past decade
have been warmer than any other time in the past six to ten
centuries. This is the time-span over which temperatures with
annual resolution can be calculated using hemispheric-wide
tree-ring, ice-cores, corals, and and other annually-resolved
proxy data. Because less data are available, less is known about
annual averages prior to 1,000 years before the present and for
conditions prevailing in most of the Southern Hemisphere prior
to 1861.
It is likely that large rapid decadal temperature changes occurred
during the last glacial and its deglaciation (between about
100,000 and 10,000 years ago), particularly in high latitudes of
the Northern Hemisphere. In a few places during the
deglaciation, local increases in temperature of 5 to 10°C are
likely to have occurred over periods as short as a few decades.
During the last 10,000 years, there is emerging evidence of
significant rapid regional temperature changes, which are part of
the natural variability of climate.
1000 1200 1400 1600 1800 2000
Year
1.0
0.5
0.0
0.5
1.0
relative to 1961 to 1990
Northern Hemisphere anomaly (°C)
1998 instrumental value
Instrumental data (AD 1902 to 1999)
Reconstruction (AD 1000 to 1980)
Reconstruction (40 year smoothed)
Figure 5: Millennial Northern Hemisphere (NH) temperature reconstruction (blue tree rings, corals, ice cores, and historical records) and instru-
mental data (red) from AD 1000 to 1999. Smoother version of NH series (black), and two standard error limits (gray shaded) are shown. [Based on
Figure 2.20]
B.3 Observed Changes in Snow Cover and
Land- and Sea-Ice Extent
Decreasing snow cover and land-ice extent continue to be
positively correlated with increasing land-surface temper-
atures. Satellite data show that there are very likely to have
been decreases of about 10% in the extent of snow cover
since the late 1960s. There is a highly significant correlation
between increases in Northern Hemisphere land temper-
atures and the decreases. There is now ample evidence to
support a major retreat of alpine and continental glaciers in
response to 20th century warming. In a few maritime
regions, increases in precipitation due to regional
atmospheric circulation changes have overshadowed
increases in temperature in the past two decades, and
glaciers have re-advanced. Over the past 100 to 150 years,
ground-based observations show that there is very likely to
have been a reduction of about two weeks in the annual
duration of lake and river ice in the mid- to high latitudes of
the Northern Hemisphere.
Northern Hemisphere sea-ice amounts are decreasing, but
no significant trends in Antarctic sea-ice extent are
apparent. A retreat of sea-ice extent in the Arctic spring and
summer of 10 to 15% since the 1950s is consistent with an
increase in spring temperatures and, to a lesser extent,
summer temperatures in the high latitudes. There is little
indication of reduced Arctic sea-ice extent during winter
when temperatures have increased in the surrounding region.
By contrast, there is no readily apparent relationship
between decadal changes of Antarctic temperatures and
sea-ice extent since 1973. After an initial decrease in the
mid-1970s, Antarctic sea-ice extent has remained stable, or
even slightly increased.
New data indicate that there likely has been an approxi-
mately 40% decline in Arctic sea-ice thickness in late
summer to early autumn between the period of 1958 to 1976
and the mid-1990s, and a substantially smaller decline in
winter. The relatively short record length and incomplete
sampling limit the interpretation of these data. Interannual
variability and inter-decadal variability could be influencing
these changes.
B.2 Observed Changes in Precipitation and
Atmospheric Moisture
Since the time of the SAR, annual land precipitation has
continued to increase in the middle and high latitudes of the
Northern Hemisphere (very likely to be 0.5 to 1%/decade), except
over Eastern Asia. Over the sub-tropics (10°N to 30°N), land-
surface rainfall has decreased on average (likely to be about
0.3%/decade), although this has shown signs of recovery in recent
years. Tropical land-surface precipitation measurements indicate
that precipitation likely has increased by about 0.2 to 0.3%/
decade over the 20th century, but increases are not evident over
the past few decades and the amount of tropical land (versus
ocean) area for the latitudes 10°N to 10°S is relatively small.
Nonetheless, direct measurements of precipitation and model
reanalyses of inferred precipitation indicate that rainfall has also
increased over large parts of the tropical oceans. Where and when
available, changes in annual streamflow often relate well to
changes in total precipitation. The increases in precipitation over
Northern Hemisphere mid- and high latitude land areas have a
strong correlation to long-term increases in total cloud amount. In
contrast to the Northern Hemisphere, no comparable systematic
changes in precipitation have been detected in broad latitudinal
averages over the Southern Hemisphere.
It is likely that total atmospheric water vapour has increased
several per cent per decade over many regions of the Northern
Hemisphere. Changes in water vapour over approximately the
past 25 years have been analysed for selected regions using in situ
surface observations, as well as lower-tropospheric measurements
from satellites and weather balloons. A pattern of overall surface
and lower-tropospheric water vapour increases over the past few
decades is emerging from the most reliable data sets, although
there are likely to be time-dependent biases in these data and
regional variations in the trends. Water vapour in the lower strato-
sphere is also likely to have increased by about 10% per decade
since the beginning of the observational record (1980).
Changes in total cloud amounts over Northern Hemisphere
mid- and high latitude continental regions indicate a likely
increase in cloud cover of about 2% since the beginning of the
20th century, which has now been shown to be positively
correlated with decreases in the diurnal temperature range.
Similar changes have been shown over Australia, the only
Southern Hemisphere continent where such an analysis has been
completed. Changes in total cloud amount are uncertain both over
sub-tropical and tropical land areas, as well as over the oceans.
30
31
B.4 Observed Changes in Sea Level
Changes during the instrumental record
Based on tide gauge data, the rate of global mean sea level rise
during the 20th century is in the range 1.0 to 2.0 mm/yr, with a
central value of 1.5 mm/yr (the central value should not be
interpreted as a best estimate). (See Box 2 for the factors that
influence sea level.) As Figure 6 indicates, the longest instrumental
records (two or three centuries at most) of local sea level come
from tide gauges. Based on the very few long tide-gauge records,
the average rate of sea level rise has been larger during the 20th
century than during the 19th century. No significant acceleration
in the rate of sea level rise during the 20th century has been
detected. This is not inconsistent with model results due to the
possibility of compensating factors and the limited data.
Changes during the pre-instrumental record
Since the last glacial maximum about 20,000 years ago, the
sea level in locations far from present and former ice sheets
has risen by over 120 m as a result of loss of mass from these
ice sheets. Vertical land movements, both upward and
downward, are still occurring in response to these large
transfers of mass from ice sheets to oceans. The most rapid
rise in global sea level was between 15,000 and 6,000 years
Box 2: What causes sea level to
change?
The level of the sea at the shoreline is
determined by many factors in the
global environment that operate on a
great range of time-scales, from hours
(tidal) to millions of years (ocean
basin changes due to tectonics and
sedimentation). On the time-scale of
decades to centuries, some of the
largest influences on the average
levels of the sea are linked to climate
and climate change processes.
Firstly, as ocean water warms, it
expands. On the basis of observations
of ocean temperatures and model
results, thermal expansion is believed
to be one of the major contributors to
historical sea level changes. Further,
thermal expansion is expected to
contribute the largest component to
sea level rise over the next hundred
years. Deep ocean temperatures
change only slowly; therefore, thermal
expansion would continue for many
centuries even if the atmospheric
concentrations of greenhouse gases
were to stabilise.
The amount of warming and the depth
of water affected vary with location.
In addition, warmer water expands
more than colder water for a given
change in temperature. The
geographical distribution of sea level
change results from the geographical
variation of thermal expansion,
changes in salinity, winds, and ocean
circulation. The range of regional
variation is substantial compared with
the global average sea level rise.
Sea level also changes when the mass
of water in the ocean increases or
decreases. This occurs when ocean
water is exchanged with the water
stored on land. The major land store is
the water frozen in glaciers or ice
sheets. Indeed, the main reason for the
lower sea level during the last glacial
period was the amount of water stored
in the large extension of the ice sheets
on the continents of the Northern
Hemisphere. After thermal expansion,
the melting of mountain glaciers and
ice caps is expected to make the
largest contribution to the rise of sea
level over the next hundred years.
These glaciers and ice caps make up
only a few per cent of the world’s
land-ice area, but they are more
sensitive to climate change than the
larger ice sheets in Greenland and
Antarctica, because the ice sheets are
in colder climates with low precipitation
and low melting rates. Consequently,
the large ice sheets are expected to
make only a small net contribution to
sea level change in the coming
decades.
Sea level is also influenced by
processes that are not explicitly
related to climate change. Terrestrial
water storage (and hence, sea level)
can be altered by extraction of ground
water, building of reservoirs, changes
in surface runoff, and seepage into
deep aquifers from reservoirs and
irrigation. These factors may be
offsetting a significant fraction of the
expected acceleration in sea level rise
from thermal expansion and glacial
melting. In addition, coastal
subsidence in river delta regions can
also influence local sea level. Vertical
land movements caused by natural
geological processes, such as slow
movements in the Earth’s mantle and
tectonic displacements of the crust,
can have effects on local sea level that
are comparable to climate-related
impacts. Lastly, on seasonal,
interannual, and decadal time-scales,
sea level responds to changes in
atmospheric and ocean dynamics, with
the most striking example occurring
during El Niño events.
32
Figure 6: Time-series of relative sea level for the past 300 years from Northern Europe: Amsterdam, Netherlands; Brest, France; Sheerness, UK;
Stockholm, Sweden (detrended over the period 1774 to 1873 to remove to first order the contribution of post-glacial rebound); Swinoujscie, Poland
(formerly Swinemunde, Germany); and Liverpool, UK. Data for the latter are of Adjusted Mean High Water rather than Mean Sea Level and
include a nodal (18.6 year) term. The scale bar indicates ±100 mm. [Based on Figure 11.7]
ago, with an average rate of about 10 mm/yr. Based on
geological data, eustatic sea level (i.e., corresponding to a
change in ocean volume) may have risen at an average rate
of 0.5 mm/yr over the past 6,000 years and at an average rate
of 0.1 to 0.2 mm/yr over the last 3,000 years. This rate is
about one tenth of that occurring during the 20th century.
Over the past 3,000 to 5,000 years, oscillations in global sea
level on time-scales of 100 to 1,000 years are unlikely to
have exceeded 0.3 to 0.5 m.
B.5 Observed Changes in Atmospheric and
Oceanic Circulation Patterns
The behaviour of ENSO (see Box 4 for a general description),
has been unusual since the mid-1970s compared with the
previous 100 years, with warm phase ENSO episodes being
relatively more frequent, persistent, and intense than the
opposite cool phase. This recent behaviour of ENSO is
reflected in variations in precipitation and temperature over
much of the global tropics and sub-tropics. The overall effect
33
is likely to have been a small contribution to the increase in
global temperatures during the last few decades. The
Inter-decadal Pacific Oscillation and the Pacific Decadal
Oscillation are associated with decadal to multidecadal
climate variability over the Pacific basin. It is likely that these
oscillations modulate ENSO-related climate variability.
Other important circulation features that affect the climate
in large regions of the globe are being characterised. The
North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) is linked to the strength of
the westerlies over the Atlantic and extra-tropical Eurasia.
During winter the NAO displays irregular oscillations on
interannual to multi-decadal time-scales. Since the 1970s,
the winter NAO has often been in a phase that contributes to
stronger westerlies, which correlate with cold season
warming over Eurasia. New evidence indicates that the NAO
and changes in Arctic sea ice are likely to be closely
coupled. The NAO is now believed to be part of a wider
scale atmospheric Arctic Oscillation that affects much of the
extratropical Northern Hemisphere. A similar Antarctic
Oscillation has been in an enhanced positive phase during
the last 15 years, with stronger westerlies over the Southern
Oceans.
B.6 Observed Changes in Climate
Variability and Extreme Weather and
Climate Events
New analyses show that in regions where total precipitation
has increased, it is very likely that there have been even more
pronounced increases in heavy and extreme precipitation
events. The converse is also true. In some regions, however,
heavy and extreme events (i.e., defined to be within the
upper or lower ten percentiles) have increased despite the
fact that total precipitation has decreased or remained
constant. This is attributed to a decrease in the frequency of
precipitation events. Overall, it is likely that for many mid-
and high latitude areas, primarily in the Northern
Hemisphere, statistically significant increases have occurred
in the proportion of total annual precipitation derived from
heavy and extreme precipitation events; it is likely that there
has been a 2 to 4% increase in the frequency of heavy
precipitation events over the latter half of the 20th century.
Over the 20th century (1900 to 1995), there were relatively
small increases in global land areas experiencing severe
drought or severe wetness. In some regions, such as parts of
Asia and Africa, the frequency and intensity of drought have
been observed to increase in recent decades. In many
regions, these changes are dominated by inter-decadal and
multi-decadal climate variability, such as the shift in ENSO
towards more warm events. In many regions, inter-daily
temperature variability has decreased, and increases in the
daily minimum temperature are lengthening the freeze-free
period in most mid- and high latitude regions. Since 1950 it
is very likely that there has been a significant reduction in
the frequency of much-below-normal seasonal mean temper-
atures across much of the globe, but there has been a smaller
increase in the frequency of much-above-normal seasonal
temperatures.
There is no compelling evidence to indicate that the
characteristics of tropical and extratropical storms have
changed. Changes in tropical storm intensity and frequency
are dominated by interdecadal to multidecadal variations,
which may be substantial, e.g., in the tropical North Atlantic.
Owing to incomplete data and limited and conflicting
analyses, it is uncertain as to whether there have been any
long-term and large-scale increases in the intensity and
frequency of extra-tropical cyclones in the Northern
Hemisphere. Regional increases have been identified in the
North Pacific, parts of North America, and Europe over the
past several decades. In the Southern Hemisphere, fewer
analyses have been completed, but they suggest a decrease in
extra-tropical cyclone activity since the 1970s. Recent
analyses of changes in severe local weather (e.g., tornadoes,
thunderstorm days, and hail) in a few selected regions do not
provide compelling evidence to suggest long-term changes.
In general, trends in severe weather events are notoriously
difficult to detect because of their relatively rare occurrence
and large spatial variability.
B.7 The Collective Picture: A Warming World
and Other Changes in the Climate System
As summarised above, a suite of climate changes is now
well-documented, particularly over the recent decades to
century time period, with its growing set of direct
measurements. Figure 7 illustrates these trends in temperature
indicators (Figure 7a) and hydrological and storm-related
indicators (Figure 7b), as well as also providing an indication
of certainty about the changes.
34
Taken together, these trends illustrate a collective picture
of a warming world:
Surface temperature measurements over the land and
oceans (with two separate estimates over the latter) have
been measured and adjusted independently. All data sets
show quite similar upward trends globally, with two major
warming periods globally: 1910 to 1945 and since 1976.
There is an emerging tendency for global land-surface air
temperatures to warm faster than the global ocean-surface
temperatures.
Weather balloon measurements show that lower-tropospheric
temperatures have been increasing since 1958, though only
slightly since 1979. Since 1979, satellite data are available
and show similar trends to balloon data.
The decrease in the continental diurnal temperature range
coincides with increases in cloud amount, precipitation, and
increases in total water vapour.
The nearly worldwide decrease in mountain glacier extent
and ice mass is consistent with worldwide surface
temperature increases. A few recent exceptions in coastal
regions are consistent with atmospheric circulation
variations and related precipitation increases.
The decreases in snow cover and the shortening seasons of
lake and river ice relate well to increases in Northern
Hemispheric land-surface temperatures.
The systematic decrease in spring and summer sea-ice
extent and thickness in the Arctic is consistent with
increases in temperature over most of the adjacent land and
ocean.
Ocean heat content has increased, and global average sea
level has risen.
The increases in total tropospheric water vapour in the last
25 years are qualitatively consistent with increases in
tropospheric temperatures and an enhanced hydrologic
cycle, resulting in more extreme and heavier precipitation
events in many areas with increasing precipitation, e.g.,
middle and high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere.
Some important aspects of climate appear not to have
changed.
A few areas of the globe have not warmed in recent
decades, mainly over some parts of the Southern Hemisphere
oceans and parts of Antarctica.
No significant trends in Antarctic sea-ice extent are apparent
over the period of systematic satellite measurements (since
1978).
Based on limited data, the observed variations in the
intensity and frequency of tropical and extra-tropical
cyclones and severe local storms show no clear trends in the
last half of the 20th century, although multi-decadal fluctu-
ations are sometimes apparent.
The variations and trends in the examined indicators imply
that it is virtually certain that there has been a generally
increasing trend in global surface temperature over the 20th
century, although short-term and regional deviations from this
trend occur.
35
LOWER STRATOSPHERE
TROPOSPHERE
NEAR-SURFACE
*** sea surface temperature:
0.4 to 0.8oC increase since
the late 19th century.
0.0 to 0.2oC increase since 1979 - satellites & balloons
** lower stratosphere: 0.5 to 2.5oC decrease since 1979
*** land air temperatures: 0.4 to 0.8oC
** N.H. Spring snow cover extent:
since
1987, 10% below 1966-86 mean
*** massive retreat of mountain glaciers
during 20th century
* land night time air temperature
increasing at twice the rate of daytime
temperatures since 1950
*
Arctic sea ice: summer
thickness decrease of 40%
and 10 to 15% decrease in
extent during spring and
summer since
1950s
(a) Temperature Indicators
** marine air temperature: 0.4 to 0.7oC
increase since late-19th century
* 0.2 to 0.4oC increase since ~1960
lake and river ice retreat at mid and high
since
the
late 19th century (2 week
?Antarctic sea ice:
no significant change
since 1978
1990s warmest decade of the millennium
and 1998 warmest year for at least the N.H.
OCEANLAND
OCEAN
**
*
*global ocean (to 300m depth)
heat content increase since 1950s
equal to 0.04 C / decade
o**
latitudes
decrease in ice duration)
Virtually certain (probability > 99%)
Very likely (probability > 90% but < 99%)
Likely (probability > 66% but < 90%)
Medium likelihood (probability > 33% but < 66%)
***
**
*
?
Likelihood:
Low- to Mid-
Upper * Little or no change since 1979
increase since late 19th century
_
_
_
Figure 7a: Schematic of observed variations of
the temperature indicators. [Based on Figure
2.39a]
Figure 7b: Schematic of observed variations of
the hydrological and storm-related indicators.
[Based on Figure 2.39b]
LOWER STRATOSPHERE
TROPOSPHERE
NEAR-SURFACE
**
5 to10% increase in N. Hemisphere
mid-to-high latitude precipitation since 1900,
of it due to heavy / extreme events
?
troposphere: *many regions with increases since about 1960
* widespread significant increases
in surface water vapour in the
N. Hemisphere, 1975 to 1995
* 2% increase in total cloud amount
over land during the 20th century
2% increase in total
cloud amount over the
ocean since 1952
** no widespread changes in
tropical storm frequency / intensity
during the 20th century
no consistent 20th century
change in extra-tropical
storm frequency / intensity
OCEANLAND
OCEAN
Virtually certain (probability > 99%)
Very likely (probability > 90% but < 99%)
Likely (probability > 66% but < 90%)
Medium likelihood (probability > 33% but < 66%)
***
**
*
?
20% water vapour increase since 1980 (above 18 km)
Water vapour
upper troposphere: *no significant global trends since 1980;
*
no systematic large-scale
change in tornadoes, thunder-days, hail
?
?
Likelihood:
20th century
land surface rainfall
*
2 to 3% decrease in sub-tropics
*
2 to 3% increase in tropics
15% increase in tropics (10°N to 10°S)
__
_
with much
(b) Hydrological and Storm related Indicators
36
CO
2
(ppm)
260
280
300
320
340
360
1000 1200 1400 1600 1800 2000
CH
4
(ppb)
1250
1000
750
1500
1750
N
2
O
(ppb)
310
290
270
250
0.0
0.5
1.0
1.5
0.5
0.4
0.3
0.2
0.1
0.0
0.15
0.10
0.05
0.0
Carbon Dioxide
Methane
Nitrous Oxide
Atmospheric concentration
Radiative forcing (Wm2)
1600 1800
200
100
0
(mg SO42 per tonne of ice)
Sulphur
Sulphate concentration
Year
Year
2000
50
25
0
SO2 emissions (Millions of
tonnes sulphur per year)
(b)
(a)
Figure 8: Records of changes in atmospheric composition. (a)
Atmospheric concentrations of CO2, CH4and N2O over the past
1,000 years. Ice core and firn data for several sites in Antarctica and
Greenland (shown by different symbols) are supplemented with the
data from direct atmospheric samples over the past few decades
(shown by the line for CO2and incorporated in the curve representing
the global average of CH4). The estimated radiative forcing from
these gases is indicated on the right-hand scale. (b) Sulphate
concentration in several Greenland ice cores with the episodic effects
of volcanic eruptions removed (lines) and total SO2emissions from
sources in the US and Europe (crosses). [Based on (a) Figure 3.2b
(CO2), Figure 4.1a and b (CH4) and Figure 4.2 (N2O) and (b) Figure
5.4a]
C. The Forcing Agents That Cause
Climate Change
In addition to the past variations and changes in the Earth’s
climate, observations have also documented the changes that
have occurred in agents that can cause climate change. Most
notable among these are increases in the atmospheric
concentrations of greenhouse gases and aerosols (microscopic
airborne particles or droplets) and variations in solar activity,
both of which can alter the Earth’s radiation budget and hence
climate. These observational records of climate-forcing agents
are part of the input needed to understand the past climate
changes noted in the preceding Section and, very importantly,
to predict what climate changes could lie ahead (see Section F).
Like the record of past climate changes, the data sets for forcing
agents are of varying length and quality. Direct measurements of
solar irradiance exist for only about two decades. The sustained
direct monitoring of the atmospheric concentrations of carbon
dioxide (CO2) began about the middle of the 20th century and,
in later years, for other long-lived, well-mixed gases such as
methane. Palaeo-atmospheric data from ice cores reveal the
concentration changes occurring in earlier millennia for some
greenhouse gases. In contrast, the time-series measurements for
the forcing agents that have relatively short residence times in
the atmosphere (e.g., aerosols) are more recent and are far less
complete, because they are harder to measure and are spatially
heterogeneous. Current data sets show the human influence on
atmospheric concentrations of both the long-lived greenhouse
gases and short-lived forcing agents during the last part of the
past millennium. Figure 8 illustrates the effects of the large
growth over the Industrial Era in the anthropogenic emissions of
greenhouse gases and sulphur dioxide, the latter being a
precursor of aerosols.
A change in the energy available to the global Earth-atmosphere
system due to changes in these forcing agents is termed
radiative forcing (Wm2) of the climate system (see Box 1).
Defined in this manner, radiative forcing of climate change
constitutes an index of the relative global mean impacts on the
surface-troposphere system due to different natural and
anthropogenic causes. This Section updates the knowledge of
the radiative forcing of climate change that has occurred from
pre-industrial times to the present. Figure 9 shows the estimated
radiative forcings from the beginning of the Industrial Era
(1750) to 1999 for the quantifiable natural and anthropogenic
37
2
1
0
1
2
3
Radiative Forcing (Wm2)
CO2
CH4
N2O
Halocarbons
(1st type)
Level of Scientific Understanding
Cooling Warming
High
Medium Medium
Low Very
Low
Very
Low
Very
Low
Very
Low
Very
Low
Very
Low
Very
Low
Stratospheric
ozone
Tropospheric
ozone
Sulphate
Fossil
fuel
burning
(black
carbon)
Fossil
fuel
burning
(organic
carbon)
Biomass
burning
Contrails
Solar
Mineral
Dust
Tropospheric
aerosol
indirect
effect
Land-
use
(albedo)
Aviation-induced
Cirrus
Very
Low
Aerosols
Figure 9: Global, annual-mean radiative forcings (Wm2) due to a number of agents for the period from pre-industrial (1750) to present (late 1990s;
about 2000) (numerical values are also listed in Table 6.11 of Chapter 6). For detailed explanations, see Chapter 6.13. The height of the rectangular
bar denotes a central or best estimate value, while its absence denotes no best estimate is possible. The vertical line about the rectangular bar with x
delimiters indicates an estimate of the uncertainty range, for the most part guided by the spread in the published values of the forcing. A vertical line
without a rectangular bar and with o delimiters denotes a forcing for which no central estimate can be given owing to large uncertainties. The
uncertainty range specified here has no statistical basis and therefore differs from the use of the term elsewhere in this document. A level of scientific
understanding index is accorded to each forcing, with high, medium, low and very low levels, respectively. This represents the subjective judgement
about the reliability of the forcing estimate, involving factors such as the assumptions necessary to evaluate the forcing, the degree of knowledge of
the physical/chemical mechanisms determining the forcing, and the uncertainties surrounding the quantitative estimate of the forcing (see Table 6.12).
The well-mixed greenhouse gases are grouped together into a single rectangular bar with the individual mean contributions due to CO2, CH4, N2O and
halocarbons shown (see Tables 6.1 and 6.11). Fossil fuel burning is separated into the black carbon and organic carbon components with its
separate best estimate and range. The sign of the effects due to mineral dust is itself an uncertainty. The indirect forcing due to tropospheric aerosols
is poorly understood. The same is true for the forcing due to aviation via its effects on contrails and cirrus clouds. Only the first type of indirect effect
due to aerosols as applicable in the context of liquid clouds is considered here. The second type of effect is conceptually important, but there exists
very little confidence in the simulated quantitative estimates. The forcing associated with stratospheric aerosols from volcanic eruptions is highly
variable over the period and is not considered for this plot (however, see Figure 6.8). All the forcings shown have distinct spatial and seasonal features
(Figure 6.7) such that the global, annual means appearing on this plot do not yield a complete picture of the radiative perturbation. They are only
intended to give, in a relative sense, a first-order perspective on a global, annual mean scale and cannot be readily employed to obtain the climate
response to the total natural and/or anthropogenic forcings. As in the SAR, it is emphasised that the positive and negative global mean forcings cannot
be added up and viewed a priori as providing offsets in terms of the complete global climate impact. [Based on Figure 6.6]
C.1 Observed Changes in Globally Well-
Mixed Greenhouse Gas Concentrations and
Radiative Forcing
Over the millennium before the Industrial Era, the atmospheric
concentrations of greenhouse gases remained relatively
constant. Since then, however, the concentrations of many
greenhouse gases have increased directly or indirectly
because of human activities.
Table 1 provides examples of several greenhouse gases and
summarises their 1750 and 1998 concentrations, their
change during the 1990s, and their atmospheric lifetimes.
The contribution of a species to radiative forcing of climate
change depends on the molecular radiative properties of the
gas, the size of the increase in atmospheric concentration,
and the residence time of the species in the atmosphere,
once emitted. The latter – the atmospheric residence time of
the greenhouse gas – is a highly policy relevant characteristic.
Namely, emissions of a greenhouse gas that has a long
atmospheric residence time is a quasi-irreversible
commitment to sustained radiative forcing over decades,
centuries, or millennia, before natural processes can remove
the quantities emitted.
forcing agents. Although not included in the figure due to their
episodic nature, volcanic eruptions are the source of another
important natural forcing. Summaries of the information about
each forcing agent follow in the sub-sections below.
The forcing agents included in Figure 9 vary greatly in their
form, magnitude and spatial distribution. Some of the
greenhouse gases are emitted directly into the atmosphere;
some are chemical products from other emissions. Some
greenhouse gases have long atmospheric residence times and,
as a result, are well-mixed throughout the atmosphere.
Others are short-lived and have heterogeneous regional
concentrations. Most of the gases originate from both natural
and anthropogenic sources. Lastly, as shown in Figure 9, the
radiative forcings of individual agents can be positive (i.e., a
tendency to warm the Earth’s surface) or negative (i.e., a
tendency to cool the Earth’s surface).
38
Table 1: Examples of greenhouse gases that are affected by human activities. [Based upon Chapter 3 and Table 4.1]
CO 2
(Carbon
Dioxide)
CH 4
(Methane)
N2O
(Nitrous
Oxide)
CFC-11
(Chlorofluoro
-carbon-11)
HFC-23
(Hydrofluoro
-carbon-23)
CF4
(Perfluoro-
methane)
Pre-industrial concentration about 280 ppm about 700 ppb about 270 ppb zero zero 40 ppt
Concentration in 1998 365 ppm 1745 ppb 314 ppb 268 ppt 14 ppt 80 ppt
Rate of concentration
change
b
1.5 ppm/yr a 7.0 ppb/yr a 0.8 ppb/yr 1.4 ppt/yr 0.55 ppt/yr 1 ppt/yr
Atmospheric lifetime 5 to 200 yr c12 yr d 114 yr d 45 yr 260 yr >50,000 yr
aRate has fluctuated between 0.9 ppm/yr and 2.8 ppm/yr for CO2and between 0 and 13 ppb/yr for CH4over the period 1990 to 1999.
bRate is calculated over the period 1990 to 1999.
cNo single lifetime can be defined for CO2because of the different rates of uptake by different removal processes.
dThis lifetime has been defined as an adjustment time that takes into account the indirect effect of the gas on its own residence time.
Carbon dioxide (CO2)
The atmospheric concentration of CO2has increased from
280 ppm5in 1750 to 367 ppm in 1999 (31%, Table 1).
Today’s CO2 concentration has not been exceeded during the
past 420,000 years and likely not during the past 20 million
years. The rate of increase over the past century is unprece-
dented, at least during the past 20,000 years (Figure 10).
The CO2isotopic composition and the observed decrease in
Oxygen (O2) demonstrates that the observed increase in CO2
is predominately due to the oxidation of organic carbon by
fossil-fuel combustion and deforestation. An expanding set
of palaeo-atmospheric data from air trapped in ice over
hundreds of millennia provide a context for the increase in
CO2concentrations during the Industrial Era (Figure 10).
Compared to the relatively stable CO2concentrations (280 ±
10 ppm) of the preceding several thousand years, the
increase during the Industrial Era is dramatic. The average
rate of increase since 1980 is 0.4%/yr. The increase is a
consequence of CO2emissions. Most of the emissions
during the past 20 years are due to fossil fuel burning, the
rest (10 to 30%) is predominantly due to land-use change,
especially deforestation. As shown in Figure 9, CO2 is the
dominant human-influenced greenhouse gas, with a current
radiative forcing of 1.46 Wm2, being 60% of the total from
the changes in concentrations of all of the long-lived and
globally mixed greenhouse gases.
Direct atmospheric measurements of CO2concentrations made
over the past 40 years show that year to year fluctuations in the
rate of increase of atmospheric CO2are large. In the 1990s, the
annual rates of CO2increase in the atmosphere varied from 0.9
to 2.8 ppm/yr, equivalent to 1.9 to 6.0 PgC/yr. Such annual
changes can be related statistically to short-term climate
variability, which alters the rate at which atmospheric CO2is
taken up and released by the oceans and land. The highest rates
of increase in atmospheric CO2have typically been in strong El
Niño years (Box 4). These higher rates of increase can be
plausibly explained by reduced terrestrial uptake (or terrestrial
outgassing) of CO2during El Niño years, overwhelming the
tendency of the ocean to take up more CO2than usual.
Partitioning of anthropogenic CO2between atmospheric
increases and land and ocean uptake for the past two decades
can now be calculated from atmospheric observations. Table
2 presents a global CO2budget for the 1980s (which proves to
be similar to the one constructed with the help of ocean
model results in the SAR) and for the 1990s. Measurements
of the decrease in atmospheric oxygen (O2) as well as the
increase in CO2were used in the construction of these new
budgets. Results from this approach are consistent with other
analyses based on the isotopic composition of atmospheric
CO2and with independent estimates based on measurements
of CO2and 13CO2in seawater. The 1990s budget is based on
newly available measurements and updates the budget for
39
SARa,b This Report a
1980 to 1989 1980 to 1989 1990 to 1999
Atmospheric increase 3.3 ± 0.1 3.3 ± 0.1 3.2 ± 0.1
Emissions (fossil fuel, cement) c 5.5 ± 0.3 5.4 ± 0.3 6.3 ± 0.4
Ocean-atmosphere flux 2.0 ± 0.5 1.9 ± 0.6 1.7 ± 0.5
Land-atmosphere flux d0.2 ± 0.6 0.2 ± 0.7 1.4 ± 0.7
Table 2: Global CO2budgets (in PgC/yr) based on measurements of atmospheric CO2and O2. Positive values are fluxes to the atmosphere;
negative values represent uptake from the atmosphere. [Based upon Tables 3.1 and 3.3]
aNote that the uncertainties cited in this table are ±1 standard error. The uncertainties cited in the SAR were ±1.6 standard error (i.e., approximately
90% confidence interval). Uncertainties cited from the SAR were adjusted to ±1 standard error. Error bars denote uncertainty, not interannual
variability, which is substantially greater.
bPrevious IPCC carbon budgets calculated ocean uptake from models and the land-atmosphere flux was inferred by difference.
cThe fossil fuel emissions term for the 1980s has been revised slightly downward since the SAR.
dThe land-atmosphere flux represents the balance of a positive term due to land-use change and a residual terrestrial sink. The two terms cannot be
separated on the basis of current atmospheric measurements. Using independent analyses to estimate the land-use change component for 1980 to
1989, the residual terrestrial sink can be inferred as follows: Land-use change 1.7 PgC/yr (0.6 to 2.5); Residual terrestrial sink 1.9 PgC/yr (3.8 to
0.3). Comparable data for the 1990s are not yet available.
5Atmospheric abundances of trace gases are reported here as the mole fraction (molar mixing ratio) of the gas relative to dry air (ppm = 106, ppb = 109,
ppt = 1012). Atmospheric burden is reported as the total mass of the gas (e.g., Mt = Tg = 1012 g). The global carbon cycle is expressed in PgC = GtC.
40
180
200
220
240
260
280
300
320
340
360
380
12500 10000 7500 5000 2500 0
Age (yr BP)
(c) Taylor Dome
CO2concentration(ppm)
180
200
220
240
260
280
300
320
340
360
380
Age (kyr BP)
0100200300400
(d) Vostok
CO2 concentration (ppm)
180
200
220
240
260
280
300
320
340</