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World+dog awaits 'definitive' report on climate change

IPCC unveils climate crystal ball tomorrow

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The definitive report of the state of our climate is due to be published tomorrow. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (the IPCC) fourth Assesment Report, some six years in the making, will be released in Paris.

Its likely findings are by now so well known - we're in for higher sea levels and temperatures, increasing deserts, etc - that there are unlikely to be very many shocked faces when the report comes out, although there are those who will dispute its conclusions.

The findings are supposed to inform global policy making, with a view to altering behaviour to minimise the impact we humans have on the climate.

Martin Rees, president of the Royal Society, commented: "[The report] is expected to stress, more convincingly than ever before, that our planet is already warming due to human actions, and that 'business as usual' would lead to unacceptable risks underscoring the urgent need for concerted international action to reduce the worst impacts of climate change."

He described the likely dissenters as "a vocal minority with their own agendas".

The report has been put together by a panel of 2,500 reviewers from 130 countries who will make their predictions based on data from 19 computer models.

Data from satellite observation of Earth, such as the European Space Agency's Earth Observation programme, has been hugely important in developing and refining those models, especially with data from the poles.

For example: ESA's satellites have shown that sea levels have been rising at 3mm per year since the early 1990s, and that Greenland's glaciers are melting twice as fast as anyone had thought. This kind of data gets fed back into the models, allowing researchers to fine tune their simulations. ®

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