Studies backing successive IPCC reports

While it is obvious that the 2007 Fourth Assessment Report (4AR) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was going to be more comprehensive than the 2001 Third Assessment Report (TAR), I was surprised to see the extent and the breakdown:

Sector – Studies assessed in TAR – Studies assessed in 4AR
Cryosphere: 23 – 59
Hydrology and water resources: 23 – 49
Coastal processes and zones: 4 – 56
Aquatic biological systems: 14 – 117
Terrestrial biological systems: 46 – 178
Agriculture and forestry: 5 – 49
Human health: 5 – 51
Disasters and hazards: 3 – 18

Total: 95 – 577

While it is simplistic to equate the number of studies examined with the overall quality of the conclusions drawn, the large increase is certainly reflective of the amount of research being devoted to climate change issues, as well as the level of resources it has been deemed appropriate to spend examining that body of scientific work.

These figures come from Cynthia Rosenzweig, a research scientist at NASA and member of the IPCC’s second working group.

Author: Milan

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and a general focus in the area of environmental politics. In the fall of 2005, I began reading for an M.Phil in IR at Wadham College, Oxford. Outside school, I am very interested in photography, writing, and the outdoors. I am writing this blog to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, provide a more personal view of graduate student life in Oxford, and pass on some lessons I've learned here.

2 thoughts on “Studies backing successive IPCC reports”

  1. Interesting figures. How many different researchers were involved in the TAR and 4AR, respectively?

  2. Panel Will Review U.N. Climate Work
    Published: March 10, 2010

    The review will be led by Robbert H. Dijkgraaf, a Dutch physicist and mathematician who is co-chairman of the InterAcademy Council. The study group will be financed by the United Nations but will operate wholly independently, Mr. Dijkgraaf said at a briefing at the United Nations.

    He said he was not certain how many members would serve in the group, but said they would represent a variety of scientific disciplines. He expects to complete the review by the end of August, before the I.P.C.C. officially begins work on its next scientific assessment report, which is to be completed in 2014.

    He said that the group intended to look forward rather than backward and would make recommendations on how to assure the accuracy of the next assessment and on setting standards for the types of publications that can properly be cited.

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