AFP has obtained a copy of the IPCC ‘Man-made Climate Change’ draft report’s 20-page Summary for Policymakers, due to be released on November 18, 2011. The report, which is subject to Government revisions before its release, appears to coincide with a series of Global natural catastrophes in the last couple of years that have increased the need to determine whether such events are “weather anomalies” or part of a long-term climate shift.
2010 Weather: record temperatures sparked devastating forest fires across Siberia, areas of Pakistan and India experienced unprecedented flooding.
2011 Weather: large areas of China are suffering from intense drought, the continuing flood crisis in Thailand. In the U.S. the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers experienced record-breaking flooding, the severe ongoing drought in Texas and neighboring states, Hurricane Irene battering the east coast and now the freak snowstorm in the North East on the weekend. The dollar figure for damage in these disasters is in the billions.
The draft copy of the IPCC report says global warming will generate more frequent similar weather extremes of this type, with the severity of the impacts leaving some regions more vulnerable than others.
Some conclusions of the report are:
- It is “virtually certain” 99-100 per cent that the frequency and magnitude of daily temperature extremes will increase over the 21st century on a global scale
- It is “very likely” (90-100 per cent certainty) that the length, frequency and or intensity of warm spells, including heat waves, will increase over most land areas
- Peak temperatures are “likely” (66-100 per cent certainty) to increase, compared with the late 20th century, up to 3C by 2050, and 5C by 2100
- Heavy rain and snowfall is likely to increase over the next century over many regions, especially in the tropics and at high latitudes
- Droughts will likely intensify in other areas, notably the Mediterranean region, central Europe, North America, northeastern Brazil and southern Africa.
The overall picture that emerges is of increased volatility and frequency of dangerous weather, leading to a sharply rising risk for large numbers of people in coming decades.