Shop Windows to the Universe

The Spring 2011 issue of The Earth Scientist is focused on modernizing seismology education. Thanks to IRIS, you can download this issue for free as a pdf. Print copies are available in our online store.
Various regions of the world all show warming trends over the past 100 years. These graphs compare the observed changes in temperature (black lines) with model results that include only natural climate forcings like volcanic eruptions and changes in solar energy (blue) and model results that use both natural and human caused climate forcings (pink).
Click on image for full size
IPCC 2007: Working Group 1 - AR4

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Imagine doing a book report for a school assignment. You read a book and then write a summary describing what it is about. Simple, right?

Now imagine that you are doing that book report as a group project – not with a small group of students, but instead with a group of several hundred climate experts from around the world. And instead of one book, your group is responsible for writing a report about all of the books and articles that describe what we know about Earth’s climate.

That’s the job of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – the IPCC.

The IPCC is a group of hundreds of experts from more than 100 countries. The IPCC does not do research about climate change. Instead, the group produces reports that explain what we know about climate change. These reports are based on all the books and articles that describe the science of our planet and climate and as such they are like the world’s most extensive book reports.

The reports of the IPCC are used by government officials in countries around the world as they make decisions about how their countries will tackle problems like greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.

The IPCC was formed by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in 1988. The WMO and UNEP recognized that there was a need to help people understand how the Earth’s climate system works so that people could make informed decisions about how they would live on the planet. Since our understanding of the Earth’s climate is growing broader each year, there is an ongoing need to keep people informed about the current state of knowledge about Earth’s climate.

In October 2007 the IPCC was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize jointly with Former US Vice President Al Gore for their efforts to build up and share knowledge about climate change.

Last modified October 28, 2009 by Lisa Gardiner.

Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!

Cool It! is the new card game from the Union of Concerned Scientists that teaches kids about the choices we have when it comes to climate change—and how policy and technology decisions made today will matter. Cool It! is available in our online store.

Windows to the Universe Community

News

Opportunities

You might also be interested in:

Cool It! Game

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

What Is Climate?

The climate where you live is called regional climate. It is the average weather in a place over more than thirty years. To describe the regional climate of a place, people often tell what the temperatures...more

Earth's Greenhouse Gases

Even though only a tiny amount of the gases in Earth’s atmosphere are greenhouse gases, they have a huge effect on climate. There are several different types of greenhouse gases. The major ones are carbon...more

Effects of Climate Change Today

Over 100 years ago, people worldwide began burning more coal and oil for homes, factories, and transportation. Burning these fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere....more

Global Warming: Scientists Say Earth Is Heating Up

Earth’s climate is warming. During the 20th Century Earth’s average temperature rose 0.6° Celsius (1.1°F). Scientists are finding that the change in temperature has been causing other aspects of our planet...more

Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability - Present and Future

A second report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shares the current scientific understanding of how people and natural ecosystems are affected by climate change, and how they will...more

How Many Species Have There Been on Earth?

To predict the future diversity of life on Earth, scientists are turning to the fossil record of marine creatures – the ancestors of snails, clams, sand dollars, and crabs. Diversity is the number of species...more

The Urban Heat Island Effect

The air in urban areas can be 2 - 5°C (3.6 - 9°F) warmer than nearby rural areas. This is known as the urban heat island effect. It’s most noticeable when there is little wind. An urban heat island can...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF