Science of Global Warming, Climate Change



"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler" - Einstein

The science of climate change / global warming is vast. The new 2013 IPCC Science report provides the most authoritative compendia of professional research. An excellent scientific resource is RealClimate, run by professional climatologists. The website Skeptical Science has accessible articles rebutting pseudo-scientific disinformation on climate science.

Media requesting reliable information on climate science will find a valuable resource in the Climate Science Rapid Response Team (CSRRT).


NB: The IPCC 2013 Science report superceded the IPCC 2007 Science report. The 2009 Copenhagen report is also useful


Dr. Jim Hansen on Sea Level Rise




The 'Wheelchair' and Climate Tipping Points

Shown is the global-mean surface temperature evolution from the Last Glacial Maximum through the Holocene, based on palaeoclimatic proxy data (grey and light blue lines, with the purple and blue shading showing one standard deviation), instrumental measurements since 1750 AD (HadCRUT data, black line) and different global warming scenarios for the future. Threshold ranges for crossing various tipping points where major subsystems of the climate system are destabilized have been added. The range for the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) has been adapted to account for the observation that part of it has probably tipped already. THC, thermohaline circulation; ENSO, El Niño–Southern Oscillation; EAIS, East Antarctic Ice Sheet. [From:  Why the right climate target was agreed in Paris]




VIDEOS on Climate Science

Global Warming in 27 Seconds

Each frame = 1 year, 1884-2011; data NASA


GREAT VIDEO on climate science from the US National Academies

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Climate Science  - 2014 US National Climate Assessment

NCA3 Full Report Appendix 3 Climate Science Supplement LowRes


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Successful Climate Predictions - AGU Tyndall Lecture by Ray Pierrehumbert


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DOWNLOADS FREE - click on the links.

  1. Front Matter 0.8MB
  2. Summary for Policymakers 2.3MB
  3. Technical Summary18.1MB
    • Supplementary Material0.3MB



  1. 1. Introduction 4.5MB
  2. 2. Observations: Atmosphere and Surface 38.3MB
    • Supplementary Material 1.5MB
  3. 3. Observations: Ocean 48.3MB
  4. 4. Observations: Cryosphere 12.8MB
    • Supplementary Material 0.4MB
  5. 5. Information from Paleoclimate Archives 10.7MB
  6. 6. Carbon and Other Biogeochemical Cycles 23.8MB
    • Supplementary Material 4MB
  7. 7. Clouds and Aerosols 19.2MB
    • Supplementary Material 0.1MB
  8. 8. Anthropogenic and Natural Radiative Forcing 18.9MB
    • Supplementary Material 15.9MB
  9. 9. Evaluation of Climate Models 24.6MB
  10. 10. Detection and Attribution of Climate Change: from Global to Regional 10.4MB
    • Supplementary Material 1.3MB
  11. 11. Near-term Climate Change: Projections and Predictability 14.1MB
  12. 12. Long-term Climate Change: Projections, Commitments and Irreversibility 36.3MB
  13. 13. Sea Level Change 32.9MB
    • Supplementary Material 0.1MB
  14. 14. Climate Phenomena and their Relevance for Future Regional Climate Change 10.6MB
    • Supplementary Material 1.9MB


  1. Annex I: Atlas of Global and Regional Climate Projections 44.7MB
  2. Annex II: Climate System Scenario Tables 1.5MB
  3. Annex III: Glossary 0.4MB
  4. Annex IV: Acronyms 0.1MB
  5. Annex V: Contributors to the WGI Fifth Assessment Report 0.2MB
  6. Annex VI: Expert Reviewers of the WGI Fifth Assessment Report 0.5MB

The designations employed and the presentation of material on maps do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.

  1. Changes to the Underlying Scientific/Technical Assessment (IPCC-XXVI/Doc.4) 0.2MB
  2. List of Substantive Edits (30 January 2014) 0.5MB
  3. Errata 0.3MB (Updated 4/3/2014)

Citation for the whole report:

IPCC, 2013: Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Stocker, T.F., D. Qin, G.-K. Plattner, M. Tignor, S.K. Allen, J. Boschung, A. Nauels, Y. Xia, V. Bex and P.M. Midgley (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA, 1535 pp.

Copies of the printed report are available from Cambridge University Press


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From RealClimateAcronyms used in the climate change science:

  • ACC= Anthropogenic Climate Change

  • AGU= American Geophysical Union

  • AGW= Anthropogenic Global Warming or (less often) Atmospheric Gravity Waves

  • AMO=Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation

  • AMS= American Meteorological Society

  • AO= Arctic oscillation (very similar to NAO)

  • AOGCM= Atmosphere-Ocean General Circulation Model

  • APS= American Physical Society

  • AR4= Fourth Assessment Report (IPCC)

  • Argo float= Ocean temperature measuring device

  • AVE= Atmospheric Vortex Engine

  • BAU= Business As Usual

  • CCD= Carbonate Compensation Depth = depth at which carbonates dissolve in the ocean

  • CCN= Cloud Condensation Nuclei

  • CCS= Carbon Capture Storage

  • CET= Central England Temperature

  • CFR= Climate Field Reconstruction

  • CME= Coronal Mass Ejections

  • CRF= Cosmic Ray Flux

  • CTD= Conductivity/Temperature/Depth. Probe for measuring ocean conditions

  • CWC= Cloud (liquid) Water Content

  • DTR= Diurnal Temperature Range

  • ECS= Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity (Charney sensitivity)

  • EMR= Electromagnetic Radiation

  • ENSO= El Niño-Southern Oscillation

  • EROI= Energy Return on Investment

  • ESS= Earth System Sensitivity = Whole system response to radiative forcing

  • FOI= Freedom of Information Act

  • GCM= Global Circulation/Climate Model (AOGCM)

  • GCR= Galactic Cosmic Rays

  • GFD= Geophysical Fluid Dynamics

  • GFDL= Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (NOAA)

  • GHE= Greenhouse Effect

  • GHG= Greenhouse Gas

  • GIS= Greenland Ice Sheet

  • GISS= Goddard Institute for Space Studies (part of NASA)

  • GMST= Global Mean Surface Temperature (anomaly)

  • GRL= Geophysical Research Letters (an AGU journal)

  • GWP= Global Warming Potential

  • HEV= Hybrid Electric Vehicle

  • ICE= Internal Combustion Engine

  • IERS= International Earth Rotation & Reference Systems Service

  • IJOC= International Journal of Climatology

  • IOC= Intergovernmental Oceanographic commission

  • IPCC= Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

  • ISW= Ice Shelf Water

  • ITCZ= Intertropical Convergence Zone

  • JGR= Journal of Geophysical Research (an AGU journal)

  • LGM= Last Glacial Maximum (about 20,000 years ago)

  • LIA= Little Ice Age

  • LTE= Local Thermodynamic Equilibrium

  • MDR= Main Development Region (for Atlantic hurricanes)

  • MOC= Meridional Overturning Circulation (ocean)

  • MWP= Medieval Warm Period (MCA is probably more apt)

  • MCA= Medieval Climate Anomaly

  • NAO= North Atlantic Oscillation

  • NH= Northern Hemisphere

  • OHC= Oceanic Heat Content

  • OLR= (also OLW) Outgoing Longwave Radiation

  • PCA= Principal Component Analysis

  • PDF= Probability Density Function

  • PDO= Pacific Decadal Oscillation

  • PETM= Paleocene Eocene Thermal Maximum

  • PHEV= Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle

  • PNAS=Proceeding of the National Academies of Science (a journal)

  • RCS= Regional Curve Standardization (method for processing tree ring data from different trees)

  • RH= Relative Humidity

  • RMS= Royal Meteorological Society (or Root Mean Square)

  • SAM= Southern Hemisphere Annular Mode (positive= wind belt around Antarctic stronger= colder)

  • SAR= Second Assessment Report (IPCC)

  • SLR= Sea level rise

  • SOI= Southern Oscillation Index (see ENSO)

  • SPE= Solar Proton Event

  • SPM= Summary for Policy Makers (usually with respect to IPCC reports)

  • SRM= Solar Radiation Management

  • SSM= Standard Solar Model

  • SST= Sea Surface Temperature

  • STP= Standard Temperature and Pressure (a reference for physical properties)

  • TAR= Third Assessment Report (of the IPCC)

  • TC= Tropical Cyclone (any hurricane)

  • TCR= Transient Climate Response

  • THC= Thermohaline Circulation (that driven by temp and salinity effects)

  • TOA= Top-of-the-atmosphere

  • TSI= Total Solar Irradiance

  • WAIS= West Antarctic Ice Sheet

  • WMO= World Meteorological Organization

  • XBT= eXpendable Bathy-Thermograph (deep ocean temperature measuring devices

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Archive - IPCC Report Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis WGI

 Contents (click to download free)

Annexes: (1)Glossary, (2)Authors, (3)Reviewers, (4)Acronyms


Uncertainty Guidance Note for the Fourth Assessment Report

Errata for the Working Group I Fourth Assessment Report



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Last edit 17Oct2016

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