IPCC 2022 – Women and Climate Change

In this resource we will explore the links between two of the Sustainable Development Goals – gender equality, and climate action.

Sustainable development goals 5 and 13

Learning Objectives

  • To be able to explain how Climate Change disproportionately affects women.
  • To be able to give some examples of how women have a crucial role to play in adapting to or preventing climate change

According to the 2022 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report1  

Climate resilient development is facilitated by developing partnerships with traditionally marginalised groups, including women, youth, Indigenous Peoples, local communities and ethnic minorities

IPCC 20221 SPM.D.2

Salinisation-associated changes may disproportionately burden women responsible for securing drinking water and fuel, such as in the Indian Sundarbans.                 

IPCC 20221, Section 3.5.5.3

Changes in water-related hazards disproportionately impact vulnerable populations such as the poor, women, children, Indigenous Peoples, and the elderly in all locations, especially in the Global South.  

IPCC 20221, Chapter 4

Many countries and social groups most threatened by climate change have contributed the least to the problem and do not have the adequate resources to adapt. Water adaptation policies enabled through ethical co-production between holders of Indigenous Knowledge, local knowledge and technical knowledge; through cooperation and coordinated actions among multiple actors, including women and all marginalized groups, at various levels of governance is needed for effective transitions towards Climate Resilient Development.   

IPCC 20221, Chapter 4

Climate-induced water scarcity and supply disruptions disproportionately impact women and girls. The necessity of water collection takes away time from income-generating activities, child care, and education.

IPCC 20221, section 4.3.3

Although women are often depicted as victims of climate change-induced water scarcity, they are also proactive adaptation actors

IPCC 20221 section 4.8.3

Optional activity – read out these statements and explore what phrases such as water-related hazards, climate resilient development, adaptation, salinisation, Indian Sundarbans etc. mean.

Optional Activity – watch these clips3 from the gender equality day at COP26.

Read this extract from the Malala Fund report2. The Malala Fund is working for a world where every girl can learn and lead.

excerpt from Malala Fund climate change report

Summarise the information in the extract in the following table:

blank table

The Malala Fund estimates that in 2021 climate-related events will prevent at least four million girls in low and lower-middle-income countries from completing their education. If current trends continue, by 2025 climate change will be a contributing factor in preventing at least 12.5 million girls from completing their education each year.

Complete this knowledge organiser using your existing knowledge of extreme weather and climate change :

knowledge organiser

The Mahila Housing Sewa Trust (MHT)’s mission is to organize and empower women in poor communities to improve their habitat.

A quality habitat is a home with all basic services such as clean water, toilets, electricity, and adequate light and ventilation. It is a key financial asset that supports livelihoods, and makes the poor more resilient to heat stress, disease, and other hazards of climate change. Women understand that a strong neighbourhood is essential to upgrading individual homes. They know how to work together to bring much needed services in their under-served communities.

Watch this video:

  1. In Indian slums, why are women more affected by climate change than men?
  2. Why are women better placed than men to lead climate change adaptation?
  3. What simple technology was the woman in the film using to cool her home?

Watch this video

  1. At the edge of the Sahara, what problem were women facing because of climate change?
  2. What did the women do, to solve the problem?
  3. What subsequent benefits has this had for them?

Watch this video

  • For each of the three points made in the film, write a short paragraph explaining how women can make a difference to climate change.

Sources

  1. IPCC, 2022: Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [H.-O. Pörtner, D.C. Roberts, M. Tignor, E.S. Poloczanska, K. Mintenbeck, A. Alegría, M. Craig, S. Langsdorf, S. Löschke, V. Möller, A. Okem, B. Rama (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press. In Press. Sixth Assessment Report (ipcc.ch)
  2. A greener, fairer future: Why leaders need to invest in climate and girls education, March 2021, the Malala Fund
  3. COP26 recordings https://unfccc-cop26.streamworld.de/webcast/presidency-event-advancing-gender-equality-in-clim

Depressions: Case Study Template and Storm Eunice Example

Download editable worksheet.
This can be used to create a case study of a named depression in the UK. Below, we have given an example of how the worksheet could be used to create a case study of Storm Eunice.
Depressions are low pressure weather systems which bring rain, wind and sometimes snow to the UK. They are responsible for much of our extreme weather.   A depression is easily recognisable on weather charts and satellite images. It has low pressure in the centre with warm, cold and occluded fronts and a hook shaped cloud.
Storm Eunice cloud and wind

In the UK, storms have been given names since 2015. A storm is named if it is likely to have a significant impact on the UK or Ireland.

  1. Write down the names of any recent storms you can remember. Eunice
  2. Use the Met Office storm centre index to discover the date that one of those storms had an impact on the UK/ Ireland (if your storm isn’t in the current year, scroll to the bottom of the page to the Related Links section for previous years).

Storm Name: Eunice Date: 18th February 2022

Now download the weather charts for the storm. 

In the bottom left of the page, where is says ‘Archiv – Basistermin, enter the date of the storm in the format day – month – year

3) Copy and paste the weather map onto this document.

4) Put a red circle around the centre of the storm. This is marked by a cross and the pressure value at the centre of the storm is given.

Now use the single forward arrow to advance the chart by 6 hours.

5) Copy and paste the weather map onto this document.

6) Put a red circle around the centre of the storm

Storm Eunice

Now use the single forward arrow to advance the chart by 6 hours.

7) Copy and paste the weather map onto this document.

8) Put a red circle around the centre of the storm

9) Now complete the table using information from your three weather maps:

Eunice centre data

Winds rotate around a depression in an anticlockwise direction, following the pressure contours. 

10) Use ‘insert’ and ‘shapes’ to add arrows showing the wind direction around the storm to the first of your weather maps.

In addition to naming storms, sometimes colour coded weather warnings are given. The colour of the warning depends on a combination of how much damage the storm is expected to do, and how likely that damage is. So a storm that is very likely to cause a lot of damage is given a red warning, but a yellow warning could mean that a storm is either very likely to cause a bit of damage, or unlikely to cause a lot of damage.

weather warning matrix

11) Go back to the Met Office storm centre https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/warnings-and-advice/uk-storm-centre/index and click on your storm’s name – this should give you a summary sheet about your storm. Scroll through it – were any weather warnings issued? List them below, or write ‘none’.

Eunice warnings

Extension

Use the Met Office summary sheet you just opened, or BBC news https://www.bbc.co.uk/news to write a paragraph about the impacts of your storm.

Storm Eunice had significant impacts, including four fatalities and significant wind damage. However, with weather warnings issued almost a week in advance, the precautionary measures people were able to take, for example closing schools, meant that damage was minimised. 

 

IPCC 2021 – Comparing Arctic and Global temperatures – using Excel

According to the IPCC report for Policymakers “It is very likely that the Arctic has warmed at more than twice the global rate over the past 50 years1.

You are going to test this statement to see if it is true.

Resources

Arctic and global temperatures data spreadsheet

Tutorial: Using Formula in Excel

Tutorial: Creating Line Graphs in Excel

temperature data
  1. Contrast the results of your averages and the range for global air temperatures and those in the Arctic                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
  2. Using the Change over time value in your table consider oif the statement “It is very likely that the Arctic has warmed at more than twice the global rate over the past 50 years” is true.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
climate change blank graph
  1. Complete the graph above which shows data on Global and Arctic temperature change from 1900 to 2020;
    • Add a title to the graph
    • Draw a curved line of best fit between the data shown for the start of each decade for the Global data
    • Draw a curved line of best fit between the data shown for the start of each decade for the Arctic data
    • Try to predict the future! Continue your line of best fit for both Global and Arctic lines on until 2100. To do so follow the recent tend and try to project that into the future.
    • What could change the future? Think about government policies relating to climate change and the future.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Why is the Arctic warming faster that the rest of the globe?

Place the following information into a logical sequence to explain why the Arctic is warming faster that the global average:

Sources

  1. IPCC, 2021: Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Masson-Delmotte, V., P. Zhai, A. Pirani, S.L. Connors, C. Péan, S. Berger, N. Caud, Y. Chen, L. Goldfarb, M.I. Gomis, M. Huang, K. Leitzell, E. Lonnoy, J.B.R. Matthews, T.K. Maycock, T. Waterfield, O. Yelekçi, R. Yu, and B. Zhou (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press. In Press. P.3461. Accessed 28th November 2021 at Sixth Assessment Report (ipcc.ch)
  2. Ecochard, K., 2021. NASA – What’s causing the poles to warm faster than the rest of Earth?. [online] Nasa.gov. Available at: https://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/warmingpoles.html Accessed 29 November 2021.
  3. The annual mean global and Arctic  temperature time series are provided by Dr. Muyin Wang. Values are the weighted average of all the non-missing, grid-box anomalies plus the absolute temperature. They are based on the monthly  global gridded data (5×5 grid box ) and the absolute temperature,   that has been developed by the Climatic Research Unit (University of East Angliaand NCAS) jointly with the Hadley Centre (UK Met Office).

IPCC 2021 – Comparing Arctic and Global temperatures

According to the IPCC report for Policymakers “It is very likely that the Arctic has warmed at more than twice the global rate over the past 50 years1.

You are going to test this statement to see if it is true.

temperature data
  1. Contrast the results of your averages and the range for global air temperatures and those in the Arctic                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
  2. Using the Change over time value in your table consider oif the statement “It is very likely that the Arctic has warmed at more than twice the global rate over the past 50 years” is true.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
climate change blank graph
  1. Complete the graph above which shows data on Global and Arctic temperature change from 1900 to 2020;
    • Add a title to the graph
    • Draw a curved line of best fit between the data shown for the start of each decade for the Global data
    • Draw a curved line of best fit between the data shown for the start of each decade for the Arctic data
    • Try to predict the future! Continue your line of best fit for both Global and Arctic lines on until 2100. To do so follow the recent tend and try to project that into the future.
    • What could change the future? Think about government policies relating to climate change and the future.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Why is the Arctic warming faster that the rest of the globe?

Place the following information into a logical sequence to explain why the Arctic is warming faster that the global average:

Sources

  1. IPCC, 2021: Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Masson-Delmotte, V., P. Zhai, A. Pirani, S.L. Connors, C. Péan, S. Berger, N. Caud, Y. Chen, L. Goldfarb, M.I. Gomis, M. Huang, K. Leitzell, E. Lonnoy, J.B.R. Matthews, T.K. Maycock, T. Waterfield, O. Yelekçi, R. Yu, and B. Zhou (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press. In Press. P.3461. Accessed 28th November 2021 at Sixth Assessment Report (ipcc.ch)
  2. Ecochard, K., 2021. NASA – What’s causing the poles to warm faster than the rest of Earth?. [online] Nasa.gov. Available at: https://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/warmingpoles.html Accessed 29 November 2021.
  3. The annual mean global and Arctic  temperature time series are provided by Dr. Muyin Wang. Values are the weighted average of all the non-missing, grid-box anomalies plus the absolute temperature. They are based on the monthly  global gridded data (5×5 grid box ) and the absolute temperature,   that has been developed by the Climatic Research Unit (University of East Angliaand NCAS) jointly with the Hadley Centre (UK Met Office).

IPCC 2021 – Impacts of Polar Climate Change

According to the IPCC report for Policymakers “Human influence is very likely the main driver of the global retreat of glaciers since the 1990s and the decrease in Arctic sea ice area between 1979–1988 and 2010–2019 (about 40% in September and about 10% in March). There has been no significant trend in Antarctic sea ice area from 1979 to 2020 due to regionally opposing trends and large internal variability. Human influence very likely contributed to the decrease in Northern Hemisphere spring snow cover since 1950. It is very likely that human influence has contributed to the observed surface melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet over the past two decades, but there is only limited evidence, with medium agreement, of human influence on the Antarctic Ice Sheet mass loss.”1

The Impacts of climate change in Polar regions

Read page 2 of the polar regions fact sheet from the IPCC2.

Produce a spider diagram of all the suggested impacts that are predicted to occur in the Arctic and the Antarctic. Around those impacts suggest some of the negative consequences for humankind.

spider diagram polar climate change
impacts of polar climate change

Sources

  1. IPCC, 2021: Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Masson-Delmotte, V., P. Zhai, A. Pirani, S.L. Connors, C. Péan, S. Berger, N. Caud, Y. Chen, L. Goldfarb, M.I. Gomis, M. Huang, K. Leitzell, E. Lonnoy, J.B.R. Matthews, T.K. Maycock, T. Waterfield, O. Yelekçi, R. Yu, and B. Zhou (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press. In Press. P.10. Accessed 28th November 2021 at Sixth Assessment Report (ipcc.ch)
  2. IPCC.ch. 2021. Regional fact sheet – Polar Regions. [online] Available at: https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg1/downloads/factsheets/IPCC_AR6_WGI_Regional_Fact_Sheet_Polar_regions.pdf [Accessed 28 November 2021].

IPCC 2021 – Changing Polar Climate

According to the IPCC report for Policymakers “Human influence is very likely the main driver of the global retreat of glaciers since the 1990s and the decrease in Arctic sea ice area between 1979–1988 and 2010–2019 (about 40% in September and about 10% in March). There has been no significant trend in Antarctic sea ice area from 1979 to 2020 due to regionally opposing trends and large internal variability. Human influence very likely contributed to the decrease in Northern Hemisphere spring snow cover since 1950. It is very likely that human influence has contributed to the observed surface melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet over the past two decades, but there is only limited evidence, with medium agreement, of human influence on the Antarctic Ice Sheet mass loss.”1

NASA https://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/ice-min-approach.html

The Arctic is largely sea ice with some parts of countries intruding

Sea ice typically covers about 14 to 16 million km2 in late winter in the Arctic

Antarctica

https://www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/k-4/stories/nasa-knows/what-is-antarctica-k4.html

Antarctica is a CONTINENT with land mass under the ice, mountains, and volcanoes.

Antarctica is 14 million km2 PLUS 17 to 20 million km2 of sea ice in the Antarctic Southern Ocean in winter.

polar regional changes
  1. Using your knowledge of global warming explain why the four changes described above have occurred.
table - regional changes reasons

*Losing mass – this means that more ice melts than is gained via snowfall in a given year.

  1. Change two above suggests that there will be more precipitation (snowfall and rainfall) in Arctic and Antarctic regions. Complete the futures exercise below to consider what this change could mean for those regions.
    • What possible futures are there for the Arctic and Antarctic with increased precipitation?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
    • What probable futures are there for the Arctic and Antarctic with increased precipitation?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
    • What preferable futures exist for these regions? Here you might want to consider the key role these regions play in regulating our global climate.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Changes to the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheet.

The graphic below shows Greenland Ice Sheet cumulative mass changes in gigatonnes (recently observed and projected by models under SSP1-2.6 and SSP5-8.5 scenarios) and equivalent sea level change (in metres). Maps show recent elevation changes (metres/year).

      • SSP1-2.6: Global CO2 emissions are cut severely, but not as fast, reaching net-zero after 2050. Temperatures stabilize around 1.8°C higher by the end of the century.
      • SSP5-8.5: Current CO2 emissions levels roughly double by 2050. The global economy grows quickly, but this growth is fuelled by exploiting fossil fuels and energy-intensive lifestyles. By 2100, the average global temperature is a scorching 4.4°C higher.
IPCC ice mass and sea level change
Source: IPCC2
  1. Using the graphs on ice mass change complete the table below.

SIMPLE TABLE

A gigaton is a billion tonnes. It is roughly equivalent to the mass all of the living mammals other than humans on earth.

  1. Which of the two areas, Greenland or Antarctica, will be most affected by climate change in 2100? Use data from the two graphs and maps to justify your view.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Projected climate changes in the Polar regions

Look carefully at the graphic below, it shows projected changes in the future (SSP5-8.5 scenario) in mean annual temperature and total precipitation at 2°C global warming compared to 1850–1900 for the Arctic (left) and Antarctic (right).

Answer the questions below:

projected polar climate change

Temperature

  1. What is the projected change for Greenland (G)?
  2. What is the projected change for Lapland (L)?
  3. What is the projected change for Siberia (S)?
  4. Which parts of the Arctic will suffer the most from temperature changes under the IPCC’s most extreme climate change scenario?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
  5. What is the projected temperature change for the Antarctic Peninsula (P)?                                                                                                                                                            
  6. What is the projected temperature change at Vostok (V)?                                                                                                                                                            

Precipitation

  1. What is the projected change for Greenland?
  2. What is the projected change for Lapland?
  3. What is the projected change for Siberia?
  4. Which parts of the Arctic will suffer the most from precipitation changes under the IPCC’s most extreme climate change scenario?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
  5. What is the projected precipitation change for the Antarctic peninsula?                                                                                                                                                            
  6. What is the projected precipitation change at Vostok?                                                                                                      
  7. Which areas are likely to suffer the most change, the oceans or the land masses?                                                                                                                                                            
  8. Conduct research online, why is it significant for ice melting that the oceans warm? (e.g. https://www.worldwildlife.org/pages/why-are-glaciers-and-sea-ice-melting)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Extension

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) – run the simulation at this website https://sealevel.nasa.gov/vesl/web/sea-level/slr-antarctica/.
Describe the changes that take place to try to explain them.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

sea level change

Sources

  • IPCC, 2021: Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Masson-Delmotte, V., P. Zhai, A. Pirani, S.L. Connors, C. Péan, S. Berger, N. Caud, Y. Chen, L. Goldfarb, M.I. Gomis, M. Huang, K. Leitzell, E. Lonnoy, J.B.R. Matthews, T.K. Maycock, T. Waterfield, O. Yelekçi, R. Yu, and B. Zhou (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press. In Press. P.10. Accessed 28th November 2021 at Sixth Assessment Report (ipcc.ch)
  • ch. 2021. Regional fact sheet – Polar Regions. [online] Available at: https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg1/downloads/factsheets/IPCC_AR6_WGI_Regional_Fact_Sheet_Polar_regions.pdf [Accessed 28 November 2021].

IPCC 2021 – Evidence for Past Climate Change

According to the IPCC report for Policymakers “In 2019, atmospheric CO2 concentrations were higher than at any time in at least 2 million years, and concentrations of CH4 and N2O were higher than at any time in at least 800,000 years. Since 1750, increases in CO2 (47%) and CH4 (156%) concentrations far exceed, and increases in N2O (23%) are similar to, the natural multi-millennial changes between glacial and interglacial periods over at least the past 800,000 years.”1

IPCC AR6 data sources

Source:IPCC1

To gather information about the climate scientists need to use a wide range of sources. As can be seen on the graphic opposite, from 1800 onwards scientists can rely upon observations collected by various instruments. However to really understand climate change we need to examine longer term patterns going back thousands two hundreds of thousands of years. The evidence that we have for these can be taken for various sources as can be seen on graph B showing paleoclimatic sources of evidence. Paleoclimate is just a way of saying climate from the geological past.

Task:

Select one of the sources of instrumental observations and one of the paleoclimatic evidence and conduct some research into it.

Complete the tables to evaluate the methods of showing climate change.

Instrumental Evidence

instrumental evidence table

Paleoclimate Evidence

Sources
  1. IPCC, 2021: Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Masson-Delmotte, V., P. Zhai, A. Pirani, S.L. Connors, C. Péan, S. Berger, N. Caud, Y. Chen, L. Goldfarb, M.I. Gomis, M. Huang, K. Leitzell, E. Lonnoy, J.B.R. Matthews, T.K. Maycock, T. Waterfield, O. Yelekçi, R. Yu, and B. Zhou (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press. In Press. P10. Accessed 28th November 2021 at Sixth Assessment Report (ipcc.ch)

IPCC 2021 – The Evidence for Climate Change

climate stripes

Climate stripes Image source: Show your stripes2

The text below is simplified from FAQ3.1 of the IPCC’s 2021 WG1 report1.

How do we Know Humans are Responsible for Climate Change?

The dominant role of humans in driving recent climate change is clear. This conclusion is based on a synthesis (mixture) of information from multiple lines of evidence, including direct observations of recent changes in Earth’s climate; analyses of tree rings, ice cores, and other long-term records documenting how the climate has changed in the past; and computer simulations based on the fundamental physics that govern the climate system.

Climate is influenced by a range of factors

There are two main natural drivers of variations in climate on timescales of decades to centuries.

  1. The first is variations in the Sun’s activity, which alter the amount of incoming energy from the sun.
  2. The second is large volcanic eruptions, which increase the number of small particles (aerosols) in the upper atmosphere that reflect sunlight and cool the surface—an effect that can last for several years.

The main human drivers of climate change are increases in the atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases and of aerosols from burning fossil fuels, land use change (e.g. deforestation) and other sources. The greenhouse gases absorb infrared radiation (heat) near the surface, warming the climate. Aerosols, like those produced naturally by volcanoes, on average cool the climate by increasing the reflection of sunlight.

Evidence for human activity causing recent change.

Multiple lines of evidence demonstrate that human drivers are the main cause of recent climate change. The current rates of increase of the concentration of the major greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide) are unprecedented over at least the last 800,000 years.

Climate models

The basic physics underlying the warming effect of greenhouse gases on the climate has been understood for more than a century, and our current understanding has been used to develop the latest generation climate models.

They include a representation of the ocean, atmosphere, sea ice, land and vegetation and the main processes important in driving climate and climate change.

IPCC climate change graphs FAQ3.1

Source:IPCC3

Results consistently show that such climate models can only reproduce the observed warming  when including the effects of human activities, in particular the increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases.

These climate models show a dominant warming effect of greenhouse gas increases, which has been partly offset by the cooling effect of increases in atmospheric aerosols.

By contrast, simulations that include only natural processes such as variations in the activity of the Sun and emissions from large volcanoes are not able to reproduce the observed warming.

The fact that simulations including only natural processes show much smaller temperature increases indicates that natural processes alone cannot explain the strong rate of warming observed.

Extra evidence

An additional line of evidence for the role of humans in driving climate change comes from comparing the rate of warming observed over recent decades with that which occurred prior to human influence on climate. Evidence from tree rings and other paleoclimate records shows that the rate of increase of global surface temperature observed over the past fifty years exceeded that which occurred in any previous 50-year period over the past 2000 years.

Taken together, this evidence shows that humans are the dominant cause of observed global warming over recent decades.

Humans and climate change – comprehension exercise

Using the article make a list of all of the evidence that is available for proving what is responsible for climate change.

  1. What are the natural drivers of climate change?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
  2. What are the main human drivers of climate change?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
  3. What is a climate model and how do they work?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
  4. Using graph a, make two statements about the recent warming in the context of:
    • i) the last 2000 years
    • ii) the last 100,000 years?
  5. Using graph b which situation from the climate models matches the observed temperature change?                                                                                                                         
  6. What do the results of the climate models show when trying to explain why temperatures have increased in recent decades?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
  7. What other evidence is there to support that shown by the climate models?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
  8. What should governments and policymakers do to respond to this evidence?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Sources

    1. ipcc.ch. 2021. AR6 WGI Report Frequently Asked Questions. [online] Available at: https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg1/downloads/faqs/IPCC_AR6_WGI_FAQs.pdf [Accessed 28 November 2021]. P. 14
    2. Analytics, M., 2021. Show Your Stripes. [online] Showyourstripes.info. Available at: https://showyourstripes.info/s/globe [Accessed 28 November 2021].
    3. IPCC, 2021: Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Masson-Delmotte, V., P. Zhai, A. Pirani, S.L. Connors, C. Péan, S. Berger, N. Caud, Y. Chen, L. Goldfarb, M.I. Gomis, M. Huang, K. Leitzell, E. Lonnoy, J.B.R. Matthews, T.K. Maycock, T. Waterfield, O. Yelekçi, R. Yu, and B. Zhou (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press. In Press. P.8.  Accessed 28th November 2021 at Sixth Assessment Report (ipcc.ch)

IPCC 2021 – Changing Climate Zones

According to the IPCC report for Policymakers “Changes in the land biosphere since 1970 are consistent with global warming: climate zones have shifted poleward in both hemispheres, and the growing season has on average lengthened by up to two days per decade since the 1950s North of the Tropic of Cancer1

  1. Complete the table below on the positives and negatives of the changes described above
climate zones table
Summary of changes to the Biosphere from the report2
  • Warming contributed to an overall spring advancement in the Northern Hemisphere.
  • There are increases in the length of the thermal growing season over much of the land surface since at least the mid-20th century. The thermal growing season is the length of time in a calendar year when temperatures are warm enough for agricultural activity.
  • Over the Northern Hemisphere as a whole, an increase of about 2.0 days per decade is evident for 1951–2018 with slightly larger increases north of 45°N.
  • Over North America, a rise of about 1.3 days per decade is apparent in the United States for 1900–2014 with larger increases after 1980.
  • Growing season length in China increased by at least 1.0 days per decade since 1960 .
  • Peak bloom dates for cherry blossoms in Kyoto, Japan have occurred progressively earlier in the growing season in recent decades. In 2021, peak bloom was reached on 26 March, the earliest since the Japan Meteorological Agency started collecting the data in 1953 and 10 days ahead of the 30-year average.3
  • Grape harvest dates in Beaune, France have also been earlier. Using harvest data for Beaune stretching back nearly 700 years it has been noted that from 1354 to 1987, grapes were on average picked from 28 September whereas during the last 31-year-long period of rapid warming from 1988 to 2018, harvests began 13 days earlier.4

2. Map the changes listed in the box above on the appropriate regions on the world map below:

world map

Source – https://equal-earth.com/   

Changes in dates for various plants, crops and regions

IPCC AR6 phenology data

Image source: Adjusted from IPCC 1

  1. Add straight lines of best fit to each graph.
  2. What has happened to the date of the grape harvest in France? Use data to describe the change.
  3. Which graph shows the greatest change?
  4. Which graph shows the smallest change?
  5. How might these changes affect insect, bird and land animals? You could research these and consider migration, harvesting, hibernation and flowering times.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
  6. How might these changes affect farmers and food supply?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

The change in growing season in the USA

Study the graph5 below:

USA growing season
  1. Complete the table below using information from the graph. Use the nearest WHOLE NUMBER available.
IPCC extreme weather table
  1. Explain which location has the greatest change in its growing season. Use data from the table above in your response.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
  2. Make a list of advantages that this shift in growing season will bring to the USA.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
  • Sources:
    1. IPCC, 2021: Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Masson-Delmotte, V., P. Zhai, A. Pirani, S.L. Connors, C. Péan, S. Berger, N. Caud, Y. Chen, L. Goldfarb, M.I. Gomis, M. Huang, K. Leitzell, E. Lonnoy, J.B.R. Matthews, T.K. Maycock, T. Waterfield, O. Yelekçi, R. Yu, and B. Zhou (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press. In Press. P.7. Accessed 28th November 2021 at Sixth Assessment Report (ipcc.ch)
    2. IPCC, 2021: Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Masson-Delmotte, V., P. Zhai, A. Pirani, S.L. Connors, C. Péan, S. Berger, N. Caud, Y. Chen, L. Goldfarb, M.I. Gomis, M. Huang, K. Leitzell, E. Lonnoy, J.B.R. Matthews, T.K. Maycock, T. Waterfield, O. Yelekçi, R. Yu, and B. Zhou (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press. In Press. P.517. Accessed 28th November 2021 at Sixth Assessment Report (ipcc.ch)
    3. Associated Press (author unknown), 2021. Climate crisis ‘likely cause’ of early cherry blossom in Japan. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/mar/30/climate-crisis-likely-cause-of-early-cherry-blossom-in-japan [Accessed 28 November 2021]
    4. Mercer, C., 2021. Burgundy harvests getting earlier as vineyards heat up, says study – Decanter. [online] Decanter. Available at: https://www.decanter.com/wine-news/burgundy-harvests-earlier-study-423807/ [Accessed 28 November 2021].
    5. US EPA. 2021. Climate Change Indicators: Length of Growing Season | US EPA. [online] Available at: https://www.epa.gov/climate-indicators/climate-change-indicators-length-growing-season [Accessed 28 November 2021].

IPCC 2021 – Which Regions have been affected the most by climate change?

“A.3 Human-induced climate change is already affecting many weather and climate extremes in every region across the globe. Evidence of observed changes in extremes such as heatwaves, heavy precipitation, droughts, and tropical cyclones, and, in particular, their attribution to human influence, has strengthened since AR5”1

Consider the three following maps with your students, or alternatively focus in on one of the maps.

Heavy Precipitation

“A.3.2 The frequency and intensity of heavy precipitation events have increased since the 1950s over most land area for which observational data are sufficient for trend analysis (high confidence), and human-induced climate change is likely the main driver. Human-induced climate change has contributed to increases in agricultural and ecological droughts in some regions due to increased land evapotranspiration (medium confidence).”1

IPCC precipitation

Source: Adjusted from IPCC 1

  1. Study carefully the map above which shows an assessment of the observed change in heavy precipitation across the globe.
  2. How many of the regions showing on the map have experienced an increase in heavy precipitation?                                                                                                                                                            
  3. How many of the regions shown on the map have experienced a decrease in heavy precipitation?                                                                                                                                                            
  4. What is the situation in the region where you live with regards to changes in heavy precipitation?                                                                                                                                                            
  5. Identify the region where there is high confidence in the human contribution to the observed change.                                                                                                                                                            
  6. Use TEA (Trend, Evidence, Anomoly) to describe the patterns shown on the map above. Which regions have had an increase in observed heavy precipitation? Which regions have limited evidence?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
  7. Suggest what impacts an increase in heavy precipitation might have.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
  8. Look closely at the areas that have limited data and/or literature. Can you suggest reasons why these areas have limited data and literature in relation to heavy precipitation?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Hot Extremes

“A.3.1 It is virtually certain that hot extremes (including heatwaves) have become more frequent and more intense across most land regions since the 1950s, while cold extremes (including cold waves) have become less frequent and less severe, with high confidence that human-induced climate change is the main driver14 of these changes. Some recent hot extremes observed over the past decade would have been extremely unlikely to occur without human influence on the climate system. Marine heatwaves have approximately doubled in frequency since the 1980s (high confidence), and human influence has very likely contributed to most of them since at least 2006.” 1

IPCC hot extremes

Source: Adjusted from IPCC 1

The IPCC define an extreme weather event as “an event that is rare at a particular place and time of year. Definitions of rare vary, but an extreme weather event would normally be as rare as or rarer” than the top or bottom 10% of observed events. Therefore, for hot extremes these would be periods where temperatures are in the top 10% for that region. 1

  1. Study the map above carefully which shows an assessment of the observed change in hot extremes across the globe.
  2. How many of the regions showing on the map have experienced an increase in hot extremes?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
  3. How many of the regions shown on the map have experienced a decrease in hot extremes?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
  4. What is the situation in the region where you live with regards to changes in hot extremes?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
  5. Identify the region where there is high confidence in the human contribution to the observed change.                                                                                                                                                            
  6. Describe the patterns shown in the regions that have had an increase in observed hot extremes.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
  7. Suggest what impacts an increase in hot extremes might have.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
  8. Look closely at the areas that have limited data and/or literature on both the hot extremes and heavy precipitation maps. There are more regions with limited data on the heavy precipitation map.  Can you suggest reasons why?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Agricultural and Ecological Drought

“A.3.5 Human influence has likely increased the chance of compound extreme events18 since the 1950s. This includes increases in the frequency of concurrent heatwaves and droughts on the global scale (high confidence)”1

IPCC drought

Image source: Adjusted from IPCC 1

The IPCC define Drought as “A period of abnormally dry weather long enough to cause a serious hydrological (water) imbalance.”1 This would mean that the amount of rain that falls is not sufficient to meet agricultural (farming) or ecological (the plants and animals in a region) needs and during the growing season impinges on crop production or ecosystem function.

  1. How many of the regions showing on the map have experienced an increase in agricultural and ecological drought?                                                                                                                                                            
  2. How many of the regions shown on the map have experienced a decrease in agricultural and ecological drought?                                                                                                                                                            
  3. Identify the two regions where there is medium confidence in the human contribution to the observed change.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
  4. What is the situation in the region where you live with regards to changes in agricultural and ecological drought?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
  5. Describe the patterns shown in the regions that have had an increase in observed agricultural and ecological drought.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
  6. Suggest what impacts an increase in agricultural and ecological drought might have.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
  7. Look closely at the areas that have limited data and/or literature. Can you suggest reasons why these areas have limited data and literature in relation to agricultural and ecological drought?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Overview – Which Regions have been Affected the Most?

IPCC extreme weather overview
Source: Adjusted from IPCC 1
  1. Using the graphic above identify three places but are affected negatively by all three situations [hot extremes, heavy precipitation, and agricultural and ecological drought]
    1.                                                                       
    2.                                                                       
    3.                                                                       
  2. Using the graphic identify an area that that is affected by fewest of the situations?                                                                                                                                                            
  3. Which areas on the map should be a priority for further research into the effects of climate change? Explain your answer.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
  4. Which of the three situations have affected most regions of the world? Use evidence from the maps to support your answer.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
  5. Write a letter to your local MP, use evidence from the graphic to justify the need for action on climate change. You should focus upon the urgent need for action and how that can be implemented (done) locally.

Geographical information systems activity

Visit the website below, it is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Interactive Atlas. IPCC WGI Interactive Atlas Click on the regional information button, it will bring up an interactive map. Complete the table below using information from the map. You will need to use the menu tools above the map, changing the variable and scenario. Complete this for the Near Term. If you finish, you could repeat for the Long Term on a new sheet and then compare results.
IPCC extreme weather table

Overall what does the table and map show you about global climates in the future?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Note 

  • SSP1-2.6: Global CO2 emissions are cut severely, but not as fast, reaching net-zero after 2050. Temperatures stabilize around 1.8°C higher by the end of the century.
  • SSP5-8.5: Current CO2 emissions levels roughly double by 2050. The global economy grows quickly, but this growth is fuelled by exploiting fossil fuels and energy-intensive lifestyles. By 2100, the average global temperature is a scorching 4.4°C higher.

Sources:

  • IPCC, 2021: Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Masson-Delmotte, V., P. Zhai, A. Pirani, S.L. Connors, C. Péan, S. Berger, N. Caud, Y. Chen, L. Goldfarb, M.I. Gomis, M. Huang, K. Leitzell, E. Lonnoy, J.B.R. Matthews, T.K. Maycock, T. Waterfield, O. Yelekçi, R. Yu, and B. Zhou (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press. In Press. P.11. Accessed 28th November 2021 at Sixth Assessment Report (ipcc.ch)
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