IPCC: Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere

The report will be launched on 25 September in Monaco.

The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) will hold its 51stsession in Monaco from 20 to 23 September 2019, to finalise its new Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in Climate Change. Two days later, the new assessment will be publicly launched at a press conference. 

The new Special Report(full title: IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (SROCC)”) will spell out the impact of climate change on the world’s oceans, on the polar regions, densely populated coastal regions as well as the mountain regions, and what these changes mean for ecosystems and human beings around the globe both now and in the future. 

The report focuses on a series of urgent issues, including the warming of the world’s oceans and the threat of extinction for numerous fish species, the shrinking ice masses in the Arctic and Antarctic and their role in the global rise in sea level, sea-ice retreat and the consequences for ecosystems in the polar regions and the melting of mountain glaciers, which are important water reservoirs. 

To prepare the report, over the past three years 104 experts from 36 countries have compiled and assessed current scientific knowledge on the physical processes and the effects of climate change on the ecosystems in the oceans, and polar and mountain regions. Furthermore, they highlight the consequences for society and the remaining adaptation options. The Special Report is intended to help politicians and other decision-makers in business and society to take current knowledge on climate change into consideration in their future decisions, and to expidite adaptation measures in order to minimise the risks resulting from the changes that have already occurred.   

The new Special Report was produced in a close collaboration between the IPPC Working Groups I and II, with scientific and organisational support from a team at the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), based in Bremen. One of the report’s lead authors is AWI marine biologist Prof. Dr. Hans-Otto Pörtner, who, as Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group II, jointly supervised the work for the Special Report.  

Ice and ocean are cornerstones of life on Earth 

With the new report, the IPCC highlights the importance of the oceans and ice masses for life on Earth. The survival of the entire population depends directly or indirectly on the oceans and the frozen worlds of the polar regions and the mountains. The oceans and cryosophere have a significant influence on our planet’s weather and climate. They have slowed global warming to date in a number of ways, provide food and drinking water for millions of people and serve as an energy source and transport route, as well as a place of relaxation, and as a result of climate change have already transformed fundamentally. “We can already see the consequences of a one-degree increase in temperature: sea levels are rising the ice sheets in Greenland and the Antarctic are shrinking, climate zones and ecosystems are shifting – and that also has an effect on habitats, biodiversity and human beings. And the negative changes will intensify in the future if we don’t curb climate change caused by humans," stated Prof. Hans-Otto Pörtner on 29 August 2019 at a press conference in Berlin.

Information for media representatives 

Detailed information on the key findings in the new IPCC Special Report will first be made public when it is officially presented on 25 September. The IPCC. The IPPC press office  is coordinating requests for interviews with the lead authors, including the AWI marine biologist   Prof. Dr. Hans-Otto Pörtner. You can find further information on how to submit an interview request here. The IPCC website (Media Advisory)also provides information on accreditation for the press conference in Monaco and access to material under embargo. The press conference will also be transmitted in a livestream. Registration is not required for this.  

From the deep sea to the atmosphere: ice and ocean are core AWI topics 

Researchers at the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) investigate virtually all the topics in the new IPCC special report. Leading experts from the AWI will be available to talk to media representatives about the current state of knowledge in their respective field in the run-up to the launch as well as afterwards. You can find first general assessments of the situation here. The experts won’t, however, provide any information on the possible content of the Special Report or comment on it. Concrete statements on the report itself will only be possible after it has been published on 25 September at 11 a.m. local time in Monaco.

Invitation to a discussion at the REKLIM conference in Berlin

To tie in with the new IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere (SROCC), as part of its  international conference, the Helmholtz  Network Regional Climate Change is hosting a public discussion on 25 September 2019 at the Umweltforum in Berlin (Pufendorfstraße 11, 10249 Berlin) . The event starts at 2:45 p.m., and admission is free. The guest speakers will be:

·      Prof. Hans-Otto Pörtner, AWI marine biologist and Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group II (via video link from Monaco), 

·      Prof. Anders Levermann, climate researcher at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and lead author of the chapter “Sea Level Change” in the 5th  Assessment Report,

·      Prof. Beate Ratter, researcher at Universität Hamburg and the Helmholtz Centre Geesthacht, and lead author of the SROCC chapter “Extremes, Abrupt Changes and Managing Risks”,

·      Dr. Ingo Sasgen, climate researcher at the Alfred Wegener Institute and expert on mass balance in the Arctic and Antarctic ice sheets. 

You can find more information on this special event here

The term cryosphere comes from the Greek word “kryos”, meaning “cold” or “ice”. In climate research, cryosphere refers to the frozen components of the Earth system. These include sea ice, ice sheets and the ice shelves, mountain glaciers, snow, permafrost and ice cover on inland waters such as lakes and rivers. 

You can find more information on the following websites: 

·      Official IPCC website on the new Special Report (in English): https://www.ipcc.ch/report/srocc/

·      Information on the Special Report on the website of the German IPCC Coordinating Office: https://www.de-ipcc.de/252.php

·      Press information on SROCC from the German IPCC Coordinating Office: https://www.de-ipcc.de/media/content/Presseinfo_SROCC.pdf

·      Background information from the DKK press briefing prior to the release of the report with Prof. Hans-Otto Pörtner (IPCC Working Group II), Prof. Angelika Humbert (AWI) and Prof. Detlef Stammer (CEN): https://www.deutsches-klima-konsortium.de/de/ipcc-ar6/uebersicht-ar6.html#c5017

·      Contact partner at the AWI Press Office. 

Ulrike Windhövel

+49 (471) 4831 2008

Ulrike.Windhoevel@awi.de