October 11, 2007
BOULDER—More than three dozen scientists and support staff at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) served as authors or reviewers for reports by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and several have played leadership roles. The IPCC was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize today with former Vice President Al Gore.
NCAR experts are available to comment on this morning's announcement. The Nobel committee cited the IPCC's two decades of scientific reports, saying they have "created an ever-broader informed consensus about the connection between human activities and global warming."
Published this year, the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report presents a clear picture of a planet undergoing a rapid climate transition with significant societal and environmental impacts. The Community Climate System Model (CCSM) and Parallel Climate Model (PCM), developed and maintained by NCAR scientists and their colleagues in universities and national laboratories, played an important role in the Fourth Assessment Report. Experiments with these models enabled thorough investigation of multiple scenarios and climate simulations of unprecedented detail, providing much of the modeling data considered and analyzed by the IPCC. These contributions were made possible by the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation’s strong support for the CCSM project and the advanced supercomputing needed to undertake large-scale climate model experiments. Japan’s Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry also provided significant support for CCSM development and experimentation for the IPCC.
"I expect this will provide greater visibility to the issue of climate change and to the importance of educating the general public and decision makers about this critical problem," said NCAR senior scientist Kevin Trenberth, a coordinating lead author on this year's IPCC report. "Warming of the climate system is unequivocal and it is very likely due to human activities, according to the IPCC. The science is settled in the sense that we know we need to take action."
Trenberth, Gerald Meehl, and Guy Brasseur served as coordinating lead authors of the IPCC's Working Group I, which focused on the science of climate change. Five other scientists at NCAR served as lead authors of that report: William Collins, Elisabeth Holland, Reto Knutti, Linda Mearns, and Bette Otto-Bliesner.
In addition, three NCAR scientists - Mearns, Kathleen Miller, and Patricia Romero Lankao -- served as lead authors for IPCC's Working Group II report this year. That report focused on the potential impacts of climate change and how society can adapt.
In all, 40 NCAR staff served as coordinating lead authors, lead authors, reviewers, or contributors on the 2007 IPCC reports, with additional staff providing technical support. Find a list of NCAR authors and reviewers for the 2007 report | for all reports.
The IPCC, a group representing over 180 governments, operates under the auspices of the U.N. Environment Programme and the World Meteorological Organization. It commissions assessments of global climate change by hundreds of scientists who are experts in the field.
Research Reports on Computer Modeling for the IPCC
Future climate change impacts, by region - interactive map
Images to explain climate modeling
Photos to illustrate climate stories
Teleconferences featuring IPCC scientists (April 6 and February 2)
During 2007 the IPCC is issuing the fourth in a series of periodic assessments begun in 1990. NCAR scientists and technical staff have been major contributors since IPCC was formed and issued its first report.
The 2007 assessment by Working Group I reports on observed changes in temperature, rainfall, storms, ice cover, and other climate features. It also examines greenhouse gases, airborne particles, and other factors that affect climate, including solar variations. It looks back at past climate and includes projections of future changes, both globally and regionally.
Working Group II reports on climate change impacts, both globally and by continent, and discusses societal vulnerabilities and options for adapting to climate change.
Working Group III addresses the mitigation of climate change.
The IPCC conducts these periodic assessments of climate change science, involving hundreds to thousands of experts, under the auspices of the U.N. Environment Programme and the World Meteorological Organization. A Synthesis Report is scheduled for release at the close of a meeting November 12-16, 2007, in Valencia, Spain.
More information is available on the official web site of the IPCC.
More information on the Nobel Peace Prize for 2007 is available from the official Web site of the Nobel Foundation.
The National Center for Atmospheric Research and UCAR Office of Programs are operated by UCAR under the sponsorship of the National Science Foundation and other agencies. Opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of any of UCAR's sponsors.