Our climate future
GNS' world-leading climate science reflected in IPCC report
Climate science took centre stage at the COP26 summit last month, as world leaders came together to reaffirm their commitment to combatting climate change and keeping global temperature rise of 1.5°C within reach.
These global negotiations were driven by findings in the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessment Report 6 (AR6) – Working Group I (WGI) The Physical Science Basis.
Developed collaboratively by leading researchers from around the globe, AR6 WGI distils the latest scientific publications into key findings on the state of the climate, and the drivers and consequences of rising temperatures.
Within the report, you’ll find two contributing authors from GNS Science and more than 30 citations of research published by our experts. More than half of our cited research addresses the changing state of climate, underscoring how critical our past-climate observations, research and modelling are to provide long-term context for future projections of dynamic climate systems.
GNS Science’s Environment and Climate Theme Leader Dr Richard Levy says that IPCC reports give a comprehensive account of the latest climate research – while also revealing areas where more work is needed.
“In the previous IPCC report (AR5), the contribution to future global sea level rise from melt of Antarctica’s ice sheets was relatively small because our understanding of the response of large portions of the ice sheet exposed to ocean warming was considered too uncertain”.
“In response, we collaborated with partners from New Zealand and around the world to conduct research into Antarctic ice sheet response to global warming. This collaboration, supported by funding from our Ministry for Business Innovation and Employment and Antarctica New Zealand, contributed research outputs that have significantly increased the amount of Antarctic-sourced meltwater in sea-level projections in the latest report”.
Dr Levy says that much like AR5, the latest IPCC report reveals a number of gaps in climate system understanding, which GNS Science is well placed to fill with our proven climate expertise.
“Carbon sources and sinks, the impacts of sea level rise, and regional water cycles are all areas that need further exploration. And there remain large uncertainties regarding the response of the Antarctic ice sheet to warming, particularly if we fail to achieve emissions targets outlined in the Paris Agreement”.
“We also need to understand how clean energy options – like hydrogen – may impact our environment, climate, and society. And we need to keep unravelling the interconnectedness of climate processes and feedbacks to understand how everything fits together so that we can identify the likely consequences of change and adapt to, and thrive in, an evolving future.
“GNS Science has much to offer as we fill these knowledge gaps alongside our partners in Aotearoa New Zealand and around the world”.
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