IPCC Report is Now Open for Comment

An Opportunity to Offer Comments on an IPCC Report Currently in Development

Readers of GlacierHub, and other individuals and organizations as well, have the opportunity to provide comments on the current draft of a major international report on climate change. This report contains a chapter on glaciers, permafrost and snow in high mountain areas.

The report is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (SROCC). The First Order Draft of this report, which has been produced by a team of over 100 experts from more than 30 countries, is now open for comment, in what is called the Expert Review process. This review opened on 4 May, and will continue through 29 June 2018.

This report presents the latest scientific knowledge about the physical science basis and impacts of climate change on ocean, coastal, polar and mountain ecosystems, and the human communities that depend on them. It evaluates the vulnerabilities of these communities, as well as their capacities for adaptation. The report presents options for achieving climate-resilient development pathways in the face of the challenges which climate change imposes.

How to Register to Provide Comments on the Report

Expert Reviewers can register at this site. Registration will remain open through 22 June 2018. Interested individuals are encouraged to sign up earlier, in order to have sufficient time to read the material closely and formulate their responses. There is no fee for registration.

Lead authors of High Mountain Areas chapter at a meeting in Nadi, Fiji in October 2017 (source: Ben Orlove).

This Expert Review of the First Order Draft is a key element of the IPCC assessment process. Experts from around the world will offer comments and suggestions to the author teams. The report’s authors will address every comment received, and draw on them when they prepare the next draft. The review process aims to include the broadest possible scientific perspective. The next meeting of the authors will take place in Lanzhou, China, in late July, and will serve as an occasion for a thorough discussion and consideration of the comments.

The IPCC solicits comments from three categories of experts: scientific, technical, and socioeconomic. The third category includes stakeholders whose knowledge and experience aligns with the topics of the report. Individuals and organizations in any of these categories may register and submit their reviews.

“The review process is essential for the quality of IPCC assessment reports. We expect a broad range of feedback from the natural and social science research communities and also encourage stakeholders with relevant expertise to participate,” said Hans-Otto Pörtner, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group II.

Working Group II Co-Chair Debra Roberts added: “The author teams assess the current state of knowledge to inform policymakers at all levels and in all regions. Experts from all parts of the world are invited to review the draft based on their respective knowledge.”

All IPCC reports go through multiple stages of formal review. This first review will be followed by a second review when governments will also be invited to provide feedback. Expert Reviewers can register with a self-declaration of expertise. All Expert Reviewers will be acknowledged in the final report, due to be finalized in September 2019. Further information on the IPCC review process can be found on the IPCC website.

Mountains and Glaciers are a Major Focus of the Report

Lead authors of High Mountain Areas chapter on an excursion to Antisana Glacier before meeting in Quito, Ecuador, in February 2018 (source: Ben Orlove)

Readers of GlacierHub are likely to be particularly interested in Chapter 2 of the Special Report. Titled “High Mountain Areas,” it covers a variety of topics:

  • Observed and projected changes in mountain cryosphere (glaciers, permafrost, and snow), common drivers of change, and feedbacks (e.g., CH4 emissions, albedo) to regional and global climate
  • Effects of a changing mountain cryosphere on natural hazards and management options for protecting lives, livelihoods, infrastructure, and ecosystems
  • Impacts from changes in the mountain environment, including low latitudes (e.g., Himalayas, Andes, Africa) on habitability, community livelihoods and culture
  • Risks for societies that depend on mountain cryosphere for water resources (e.g., human consumption, ecosystems and agriculture), including cascading risks, and potential response strategies (e.g., national and international water resource management and technologies)
  • Impacts of variability and trends in water supply on hydropower production and implications for energy policy and water governance
  • Influence of mountain cryosphere run-off on river and coastal systems and sea level

Please consider this opportunity. And please pass word on to your associates and colleagues. The IPCC seeks a broad set of comments, from many nations, many fields and many perspectives.