Ocean variability and realistic marine regional projections should be included in Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports to better inform policy-makers, state researchers from the University of Bristol and University of Tasmania.
A commentary on what should be included in the next IPCC special interdisciplinary report on oceans and the cryosphere has been released in Nature by Daniela Schmidt, Professor of Palaeobiology from the University of Bristol and Philip Boyd, a professor of marine biogeochemistry from the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania.
The IPCC is an international body which was set up in 1988 to assess the science related to climate change.
Currently on its sixth assessment cycle, the goal of the IPCC is to inform policymakers of the science on climate change, the impacts, future risks and potential options for adaption and mitigation.
The latest IPCC report had for the first time chapters dedicated to the Oceans. This year, the IPCC are going one step further with a special interdisciplinary report on the ocean and the cryosphere which will be published in 2019.
In December, a panel of experts will discuss what should be included in this special report.
Professors Schmidt and Boyd think that changes need to happen in three key areas:
Professor Schmidt said: "IPCC projections are focussed on the mean state of change in the year 2100. Governments have accepted that climate change is happening. However, global action takes years to be negotiated while local action can be much faster implemented and really have an impact."
Professor Boyd added: "A series of interim projections, on the joint effects of anthropogenic climate change and natural variability, on a decadal or shorter timescale would provide invaluable touchstones for marine resource managers.
"Ultimately, the IPCC needs to shift their approach. The talks in December must acknowledge the variability of the oceans whilst focussing more on the effect of regional scale pressures to aid in creating practical policy solutions of the future."
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