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(September 25) IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate

In the report, released at a conference on September 25, 100 scientists from more than 30 countries convened to assess the latest scientific knowledge to determine the impacts of climate change on ocean, coastal, polar, and mountain ecosystems as well as the human communities that depend on them. Adaptation capacities, as well as options for achieving climate-resilient pathways are also presented.

The report touches on observed impact areas:

  • Observed physical changes: mass loss from ice sheets and glaciers, and increasing sea level rise (projected to rise by 1m by 2050, not 2100 as previously predicted).
  • Observed impacts on ecosystems: changes in snow and permafrost cover have contributed to the distribution of ecologically, culturally, and economically important plants and species, altering ecosystem function.
  • Observed impacts of people and ecosystem services: the shrinking Arctic cryosphere has led to negative impacts on food security, water security and quality, livelihoods, health and well being, infrastructure, and tourism. Communities have also been exposed to climate related hazards such as tropical cyclones, sea level rise and flooding, and permafrost thaw.

And continues to outline projected changes and risks including:

  • Projected physical changes: global-scale mass glacier loss impacting river runoff and local hazards, increasing oceanic temperature, acidity, and stratification, and extreme sea level rise by 2050.
  • Projected risks s on ecosystems: Massive decrease in global biomass of marine animal communities, their production, and fisheries catch potential . We can expect reduced biodiversity and along with that, decreased ecosystem functionality.
  • Projected risks for people and ecosystem services: Cryosphere changes are expected to impact water resources and their uses, such as hydropower. Risks to human communities in low lying coastal ares are exacerbated.

The report continues by outlining challenges, strengthening response options, and enabling conditions, which support an Low Carbon Resilience (LCR) approach:

C4. Enabling climate resilience and sustainable development depends critically on urgent and ambitious emissions reductions coupled with coordinated sustained and increasingly ambitious adaptation actions (very high confidence).

To read the full report, click here.

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