Climate Science Special Report Details Severity of Climate Change

Pumps. Photo by Humane Herald staff.

The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) achieved a major milestone yesterday, Friday, Nov. 3, 2017, with the release of a new climate change report.  Almost 500 pages long, the Climate Science Special Report (CSSR) includes a number of findings regarding the severity of climate change and its effects, with a focus on the United States.  For instance:

  • Surface air temperature.  The CSSR states that “annually averaged [global] surface air temperature has increased by about 1.8°F (1.0°C) over the last 115 years (1901–2016). This period is now the warmest in the history of modern civilization.”
  • Sea level rise.  The CSSR states that “global average sea level has risen by about 7–8 inches since 1900, with almost half (about 3 inches) of that rise occurring since 1993,”  adding that “[g]lobal average sea levels are expected to continue to rise—by at least several inches in the next 15 years and by 1–4 feet by 2100. A rise of as much as 8 feet by 2100 cannot be ruled out. “
  • Anthropogenic cause.  The CSSR concludes that “it is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century. For the warming over the last century, there is no convincing alternative explanation supported by the extent of the observational evidence.”

An announcement from Virginia Burkett, ​Acting Chair of the Subcommittee on Global Change Research, and Michael Kuperberg, ​Executive Director of the USCGRP, describes the background of the report:

[T]he CSSR represents the scientific consensus on climate science in America.  The assessment was written by a team of America’s top experts in climate change science, including representatives from the Federal government, national laboratories, universities, and the private sector.  It underwent six rounds of expert, technical review and is intended to serve as the foundation for an assessment of climate-related impacts, risks and adaptation.

The USCGRP was mandated in the Global Change Research Act of 1990, which provides a purpose of “development and coordination of a comprehensive and integrated United States research program which will assist the Nation and the world to understand, assess, predict, and respond to human-induced and natural processes of global change.”