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Entries in Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (1)

Friday
Nov182011

Climate Change Report: Weather Extremes Increasing

Comstock/Thinkstock(GENEVA) -- A new report on the effects of a warming climate on the world’s weather by the United Nations-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says that much of the world is already seeing more weather “extremes” -- stronger hurricanes and more intense heat waves -- at least partly because of the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

A draft summary of the report, called “Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation,” or “SREX” for short, was obtained by ABC News.

Here is a sampling of some of its findings:

On temperatures: “It is very likely that there has been an overall decrease in the number of cold days and nights, and an overall increase in the number of warm days and nights, on the global scale, i.e., for most land areas with sufficient data.”

On whether human beings are contributing to the change: “It is likely that anthropogenic influences have led to warming of extreme daily minimum and maximum temperatures on the global scale.  There is medium confidence that anthropogenic influences have contributed to intensification of extreme precipitation on the global scale.  It is likely that there has been an anthropogenic influence on increasing extreme sea levels via mean sea level contributions.”

On hurricanes and tropical storms: “Mean tropical cyclone maximum wind speed is likely to increase, although increases may not occur in all ocean basins.  It is likely that the global frequency of tropical cyclones will either decrease or remain essentially unchanged.”

A summary of the report is now up on the IPCC's website [click here to read it].  The full report will be available in February 2012, according to the site.

The report is dense, and addresses a subject that provokes strong and opposing opinions.  In part because of this, definitions of basic terms have been negotiated.  For instance, “likely” means at least a 66 percent probability that a conclusion is true, and “very likely” means at least a 90 percent probability.

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ABC News Radio