As nations around the world are still recovering from recent record-breaking heat and floods that claimed hundreds of lives, an international team of experts is preparing a new report on climate change.
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) convened Monday (July 26), and will release the new climate "report card" on Aug. 9.
One area of interest in the report will be extreme weather, such as relentless heat waves, raging wildfires and deadly flooding. Such events are increasing in both frequency and severity, and can be traced to significant warming in the Arctic, "which has had an impact on the dynamics of the atmosphere in the whole Northern Hemisphere," Petteri Taalas, secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organization, said at the ceremony.
This report will be the first of three such documents, which are compiled by more than 1,000 scientists assessing existing studies and data to determine how climate change is affecting the planet and to recommend strategies for policymakers, U.N. Foundation representatives said in a statement (the U.N. Foundation is a charitable organization that supports U.N. causes and projects, according to the foundation's website).
Their findings are then presented to working groups of climate experts, who produce the three IPCC reports. The Aug. 9 report will address scientific evidence of climate change worldwide, covering drivers for rising land and sea surface temperatures; disappearing sea ice; sea level rise and acidification; and an increase in extreme weather events.
Other working groups will produce two more reports — one will be released in February 2022 and the other in March 2022 — evaluating climate change's impacts and risks and recommending options for climate-mitigating policies and economic plans, according to the statement.
In recent years, the IPCC's assessments and reports "have been foundational to our understanding of climate change, the severe and growing risks it poses throughout the world, and the urgent need for action to address it," Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, said at the opening ceremony.
Vanishing glaciers and melting sea ice are strikingly visible examples of how climate change is currently reshaping Earth's surface. There is also accumulating evidence of climate change fueling extreme weather, such as wildfires, droughts and floods. Recent studies have also demonstrated that climate change is making storms wetter and more powerful, Live Science previously reported.
"This upcoming report should serve as a catalyst for countries to act swiftly by demonstrating the severity of current impacts and the opportunity to solve the climate crisis — but only if we act now," Pete Ogden, the U.N. Foundation's vice president for energy, climate and the environment, said in the statement.
Originally published on Live Science.
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Mindy Weisberger is an editor at Scholastic and a former Live Science channel editor and senior writer. She has reported on general science, covering climate change, paleontology, biology, and space. Mindy studied film at Columbia University; prior to Live Science she produced, wrote and directed media for the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Her videos about dinosaurs, astrophysics, biodiversity and evolution appear in museums and science centers worldwide, earning awards such as the CINE Golden Eagle and the Communicator Award of Excellence. Her writing has also appeared in Scientific American, The Washington Post and How It Works Magazine.