Dear colleagues of the Cryosphere community,
Work has recently begun on the 5th Assessment Report (AR5) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which will be published in 2013/14. Below is a short summary of developments that may be of specific interest to the cryospheric research community.
At the end of last year the structure and outline of the AR5 were approved by the IPCC Plenary. Cryospheric topics where given a high profile in several chapters in WG1 (The Physical Science Basis) and WG2 (Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability).
* Chapter 4 "Observations: Cryosphere", will focus on improved understanding and observed changes in all parts of the cryosphere (glaciers, ice sheets, sea ice, snow and permafrost).
* Chapter 5 "Information from Palaeoclimate Archives", will include assessment of patterns, amplitudes and rates of change in ice sheets.
* Chapter 13, "Sea level change", will focus on projections of sea-level rise, and include a discussion on potential ice-sheet instabilities in the context of sea-level rise.
In addition, the names of Coordinating Lead Authors (CLAs), Lead Authors (LAs) and Review Editors (REs) for WGI , WGII and WGII have now been announced, but in the coming months there will be other opportunities to contribute to the content and quality of the assessment:
1. Contributing Authors (CAs) will be co-opted into the chapter teams as required to provide extra expertise. CAs will be named at the start of each Chapter.
2. Many researchers will be asked to participate in the three reviews of the chapter drafts, and we urge those invited to participate. Reviewers of the formal review of the first and second order drafts will be named in each WG report.
3. The IPCC does not undertake new science - it relies on published science as the basis of the science content. In the AR5, increasingly heavy reliance will be on peer-reviewed sources. Thus the entire cryospheric community can contribute towards the report through timely submission (and review) of significant results. There are two specific deadlines; to be eligible for the WGI assessement, papers should be submitted to journals by July 31, 2012 and should be at least "in press" by March 15, 2013.
4. Finally, personal interactions with the LAs and CLAs are to be encouraged, as it is hoped that these representatives will bring forward opinions from their science communities into the report writing process.
On behalf of the writing team for WGI Chapter 4, we look forward to working with you over the coming months and years to provide a clear, objective and unbiased assessment of the cryosphere and its interactions. We hope this contribution will increase understanding of the science behind climate change, and provide a strong foundation for the wider debate surrounding our personal and collective responses to climate change.
David Vaughan, Georg Kaser and Joey Comiso
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