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While the world waits for publication of the IPCC’s next assessment in 2014, a new study commissioned by the government of Sweden confirms many of the previous findings regarding climate change and how human activity contributes to the process.
“Our overall assessment is that new research published since 2006 in many respects confirm earlier research results about the ongoing climate change, human influence and possible future climate change,” conclude researchers Markku Rummukainen and Erland Källén.
The pair’s findings come from an April 2009 study published under the auspices of the Swedish government’s advisory Commission for Sustainable Development, and are drawn from a review of more than 120 scientific articles published since the IPCC’s last assessment.
Sweden set up the panel in 2007 to examine more closely issues related to sustainable development. The panel includes representatives from industry and the non-governmental sector, researchers, and policy makers. The commission is chaired by Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, with Sweden’s Minister for Environment Andreas Carlgren serving as deputy chair.
The literature review by Rummukainen and Källén was meant as a way to revisit the IPCC’s findings, which are restricted to research completed before 2007, to see if more recent studies could offer additional insights into to complex dynamics of climate change.
According to the new report, greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere continue to increase and at an accelerating rate. In addition, global warming is likely involved both in recently observed Arctic and Antarctic warming trends.
The authors also find research to suggest that the dramatic reduction in Arctic sea ice in 2007 and 2008 may be the first observed threshold effect or “tipping point” in the climate system.
“Research published after the AR4 report adds new pieces of knowledge to climate science but there is nothing to suggest a weakening of the conclusions presented in AR4,” Rummukainen and Källén write.
“We rather believe that the published results show that some of the effects of the continued global warming are more severe than previously thought and that future climate warming can be larger than previously estimated.”
By David Landes
To download the report (Markku Rummukainen och Erland Källén, 2009: Ny klimatvetenskap 2006-2009. Kommissionen för hållbar utveckling, Regeringskansliet) with the full list of references, click here.
To read the authors summary in english, click here.
The Swedish Commission for Sustainable Development has also published;
Four policy scenarios for Copenhagen (An analysis of four possible outcomes of the COP15 negotiations)