In light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, announcements were issued in April 2020 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on the Sixth Assessment (AR6) reporting timelines for Working Groups (WGs) I and II, as well as new experiences with a virtual format for the WG III Third Lead Authors meeting.


WG I - The Physical Sciences Basis

The second order draft (SOD) of the WGI contribution to AR6 is now open for government and expert review. The review runs from 2 March to 5 June 2020 (extended from 26 April). Interested experts can still register until 29 May 2020 midnight CEST via this link

As a reminder, the MRI would like to encourage the mountain research community with the relevant expertise to consider registering and contributing to the expert review of the WGI SOD. While the entire report is of relevance and importance for mountains, specific chapters and sections of the report are of particular interest given their content relevance for cross-referencing and links with the WGII assessment, including:

  • Chapter 2: Changing state of the climate system 
  • Chapter 3: Human influence on the climate system
  • Chapter 4: Future global climate: scenario-based projections and near-term information
  • Chapter 8: Water cycle changes
  • Chapter 9: Ocean, cryosphere, and sea level change
  • Chapter 10: Linking global to regional climate change
  • Chapter 11: Weather and climate extreme events in a changing climate
  • Chapter 12: Climate change information for regional impact and for risk assessment
  • Summary for Policymakers

Please note that this is the last opportunity to contribute with an expert review for this report in AR6, since the final review is reserved for governments.

More information about the WGI Report:

WG II - Impacts, Vulnerability, and Adaptation

In view of the extensive impacts on the assessment work for the SOD due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the IPCC issued a statement to announce an extension to the reporting timeline and schedule of key milestones. The revised timelines are the latest in a series of changes the IPCC is undertaking as a strategic response to the impact of the pandemic.

WG II is extending a number of milestones due to be reached in 2020 by around four months. The cut-off date for scientific literature to be submitted for publication, if it is to be included in the assessment, moves to 1 November 2020 from 1 July 2020. The government and expert review of the report’s Second Order Draft will now take place between 4 December 2020 and 29 January 2021, four months later than originally scheduled. The Fourth Lead Author Meeting to prepare the final draft will also be postponed by about four months to March 2021.

In preparation for this SOD, which includes a Cross-Chapter Paper (CCP) on Mountains, synthesis and systematic review papers continue to be in great demand. Of particular relevance are papers that address the various sectors and topics outlined in the WGII contribution to AR6, including an overview for how impacts, vulnerability, and adaptation to climate change in these sectors manifest in the various regions. Improving the knowledge basis in the form of literature available for this assessment improves the quality of the assessment itself, and with the extended timeline, there is an opportunity to make relevant research and review/synthesis work known to the Lead Authors and made available for this assessment. 

Call for paper contributions. In order to facilitate the ongoing identification of key literature relevant for CCP-Mountains, the MRI continues its call to the mountain research community to assist in the development and publication of review and synthesis papers that draw on literature published since March 2013 (since the IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report). For papers currently under development, the new key cut-off dates for papers submitted to a journal for peer-review is 1 November 2020. For more information about the specific topics and reference periods needed, please refer to this earlier call here.

Let us know of key and relevant publications on mountains. If you have published or know of published literature that responds to the assessment needs of the CCP-Mountains in the WGII IPCC AR6, please share those details with us! An online form is available for the MRI research community to notify Lead Authors of key literature available (or soon to be available, under preparation or review). Please use this online form to submit your contributions to the IPCC AR6 repository for the CCP-Mountains author team.

Calling all Early Career Researchers! The MRI is also partnering in a call by the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists APECS for early career researchers from various disciplines to come together to produce a group review of the IPCC WGII contribution to AR6. This is an excellent opportunity to learn more about how to conduct these expert reviews and enrich your skills and expand your networks and professional connections for future participation in global assessments. We are temporarily pausing applications since  we need some time to adapt the group review process and schedule to the new dates, but the call will be announced again later in 2020.  Read more here.

More information about the WGII Report:

WG III - Mitigation of Climate Change

IPCC experts and Lead Authors met virtually - for the first time - on 14 to 19 April 2020 at their Third Lead Authors Meeting (LAM), to advance their work on the WG III contribution to AR6. More than 270 experts from 65 countries were expected to come together online for one week to begin preparing the SOD of the report, which is currently due to be finalized in September 2021. The meeting was originally due to be hosted by the Ministry of the Environment, Government of Ecuador, but was instead held online because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“This is the first time that the IPCC has conducted a virtual Lead Author Meeting. I would like to acknowledge the commitment and dedication of our authors and thank the Co-Chairs of Working Group III for making this happen,” said IPCC Chair Hoesung Lee, in a press release issued by the IPCC. “While we know this can’t achieve the same results as a meeting in person over a week, it will show what the IPCC can achieve at a distance.”

IPCC WG III is responsible for assessing the mitigation of climate change – responses and solutions to the threat of dangerous climate change by reducing emissions and enhancing sinks of the greenhouse gases that are responsible for global warming.

More information about the WGIII Report:

About the IPCC

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the UN body for assessing the science related to climate change. It was established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 1988 to provide political leaders with periodic scientific assessments concerning climate change, its implications and risks, as well as to put forward adaptation and mitigation strategies. It has 195 member states. In the same year, the UN General Assembly endorsed the action by the WMO and UNEP in jointly establishing the IPCC.

Thousands of people from all over the world contribute to the work of the IPCC. For the assessment reports, IPCC scientists volunteer their time to assess the thousands of scientific papers published each year to provide a comprehensive summary of what is known about the drivers of climate change, its impacts and future risks, and how adaptation and mitigation can reduce those risks.

The IPCC has three working groups: Working Group I, dealing with the physical science basis of climate change; Working Group I, dealing with impacts, adaptation and vulnerability; and Working Group III, dealing with the mitigation of climate change. It also has a Task Force on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories that develops methodologies for measuring emissions and removals.

About the Sixth Assessment Cycle

Comprehensive scientific assessment reports are published every 6 to 7 years; the latest, the Fifth Assessment Report, was completed in 2014, and provided the main scientific input to the Paris Agreement. The IPCC also publishes special reports on more specific issues between assessment reports.

At its 41st Session in February 2015, the IPCC decided to produce a Sixth Assessment Report (AR6). At its 42nd Session in October 2015 it elected a new Bureau that would oversee the work on this report and Special Reports to be produced in the assessment cycle. At its 43rd Session in April 2016, it decided to produce three Special Reports, a Methodology Report and AR6.

Relevant links:

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
IPCC Working Group 1 - The Physical Science Basis
IPCC Working Group 2 - Impacts, Vulnerability and Adaptation
IPCC Working Group 3 - Mitigation of Climate Change

 Photo by Pixabay user JuergenPM

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