It’s extremely likely that humans have been the dominant cause of global warming since the 1950s, according to a landmark report from the world’s top panel of climate scientists. And we’re failing in our efforts to keep atmospheric warming below 2 degrees Celsius, or 3.6 Fahrenheit, which many scientists say is needed to avoid massive disruption.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change conducted an epic review of climate research over the last three years. It is summarizing the most important findings in its fifth assessment report, which offers the clearest picture science has ever painted of how humans are reshaping the climate and the planet.
Here, in a nutshell, are the main findings of a summary [PDF] of part one of the assessment report, which focuses on the science of climate change:
Human influence has been detected in warming of the atmosphere and the ocean, in changes in the global water cycle, in reductions in snow and ice, in global mean sea level rise, and in changes in some climate extremes. …
Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia.
The IPCC also concludes that oceans have absorbed more of Earth’s excess heat since the 1990s than was the case during prior periods, explaining what climate deniers wrongly describe as a warming slowdown. And the panel revised downward the lower limit of warming that’s expected once we double the atmosphere’s CO2 concentrations, but left the upper limit unchanged from its 2007 assessment.
For background on the IPCC and this assessment report, be sure to check out this explainer.
And to save you the trouble of reading the dense 36-page summary released on Friday, we’ve rounded up highlights here — key numbers, facts, and graphs:
Continue reading at Grist: http://grist.org/climate-energy/what-the-ipcc-found-the-big-news-from-the-new-climate-assessment/