Thursday, Jan. 18, 2007 | When scientists, policymakers and the media discuss global warming and its effects, they lean heavily on one report to explain how humans are heating the planet.
It comes from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that includes hundreds of contributing scientists from Canada to Senegal to Thailand — and from San Diego.
Three of the 39 U.S. scientists involved in the landmark international report are local: Richard Somerville, a theoretical meteorologist; Lynne Talley, an oceanography professor; and Veerabhadran Ramanathan, an applied ocean sciences professor. All work at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego.
They have contributed to a highly awaited report, one that synthesizes hundreds of published research papers. It provides the consensus view on the past, present and future of climate change: how much warming is expected in the next century, what’s causing it, what its impacts will be. Think of it as the periodic census of climate science. Scientists simply call it “the IPCC.”
“It has been for a long time the gold standard of information for the media and scientists and the public,” Somerville said. “It’s the nearest thing we’re going to get to a summary of the mainstream scientific consensus.”
Somerville, one of two coordinating lead authors of a chapter on climate change science’s history, estimates he has spent half of his time during the last three years working on the report, which will be released Feb. 2.