Science Assessment
and Analysis

Climate science is highly complex and the policy implications are not always clear. We make the latest climate science easily accessible for stakeholders in the international climate change arena.

 ©Sarah Depper, CC BY 2.0
©Sarah Depper, CC BY 2.0

We synthesise and advance scientific knowledge in the area of climate change science, policy and impacts to make it easily accessible for stakeholders in the international climate change arena. This includes conducting our own research (for example, to evaluate the uncertainties in climate science associated with potential mitigation pathways, project sea-level rise or evaluate impacts and risks at different levels of warming) as well as bringing together and communicating the findings of the available scientific literature and providing the context needed to understand their implications. Projections of future climate change are subject to uncertainty, as they depend on a range of developments that cannot be foreseen (e.g. emission pathways). Also, there remain important limitations in the understanding and the modeling of some key processes of the climate system. Much of our work therefore focused on understanding these key process and the probabilities associated with climate impact projections.


It's a given of climate change that greenhouse gases emitted today will shape the world for future generations. But new research underscores just how long those effects will last. A striking new study published yesterday in the journal Nature Communications suggests that sea-level rise—one of the biggest consequences of global warming—will still be happening 300 years from now, even if humans stop emitting greenhouse gases before the end of the current century.  
Peaking global CO2 emissions as soon as possible is crucial for limiting the risks of sea level rise, even if global warming is limited to well below 2°C. A study now published in the journal Nature Communications analyses for the first time the sea level legacy until 2300 within the constraints of the Paris Agreement.  
The world is far off course from its goals in cutting greenhouse gas emissions — and research published Tuesday illustrates one of the most striking implications of this. Namely, it finds that for every five years in the present that we continue to put off strong action on climate change, the ocean could rise an additional eight inches by the year 2300 — a dramatic illustration of just how much decisions in the present will affect distant future generations.  
A report prepared for the World Bank by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impacts Research and Climate Analytics says that in Bangladesh 40% of productive land will be lost in the southern region by the 2080s due to sea level rise. Bangladesh is already experiencing observable impacts of climate change.  
COP23 briefing - Limiting warming to 1.5°C is of paramount importance to protect the oceans. This briefing provides an overview of the latest science on key risks for ocean systems including from sea- level rise, ocean acidification and impacts on coral reefs and other marine and coastal ecosystems.  


This study considers the impact on crop yields and yield variability in regions currently challenged by food insecurity. It assesses impacts of 1.5 °C versus 2.0 °C on yields of maize, pearl millet and sorghum in the West African Sudan Savanna using two crop models that were calibrated with common varieties from experiments in the region with management reflecting a range of typical sowing windows.  
Sea-level rise is a major consequence of climate change that will continue long after emissions of greenhouse gases have stopped. The 2015 Paris Agreement aims at reducing climate-related risks by reducing greenhouse gas emissions to net zero and limiting global-mean temperature increase. This study quantifies the effect of these constraints on global sea-level rise until 2300, including Antarctic ice-sheet instabilities.  
There have been proposals for the UNFCCC to adopt a dual-term greenhouse gas accounting standard: 20-year GWPs alongside the presently accepted 100-year GWPs. It is argued that the advantage of such a change would be to more rapidly reduce short term warming and buy time for CO2 reductions. This briefing shows why these changes would be counterproductive and the benefits overstated.  
This paper incorporates latest findings on Antarctic ice sheet dynamics into new sea level rise modelling, and pairs it with the new generation of scenarios – Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs) and compares them with outcomes for the previous generation of scenarios - Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs), used in the last IPCC Assessment (AR5). It finds that without any mitigation, sea levels could rise by an average of 132 cm in 2100 relative to the 1986-2005 mean.  
The adoption of the 1.5°C long-term warming limit in the Paris Agreement made 1.5°C a ‘hot topic’ in the scientific community, with researchers eager to address this issue. Long-term warming limits have a decades-long history in international policy. To effectively inform the climate policy debate, geoscience research hence needs a core understanding of their legal and policy context. This article describes this context in detail, and illustrates its importance by showing the impact it can have on global carbon budget estimates.  
This commentary in journal Nature Climate Change discusses how evidence from the observational climate record provides useful guidance in discriminating the climate impacts of half-degree warming increments, which is high on the science agenda since the adoption of the 1.5°C temperature limit in Paris Agreement.  


IMPACT is a cross-cutting, multi-faceted project that aims to strengthen the connections between the scientific assessments of climate impacts, vulnerability and adaptation to help enable access to finance and help Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Least Developed Countries (LDCs) implement concrete projects.  
The ISIpedia project is an effort to bridge a gap between the modellers from the Inter-Sectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project (ISIMIP) studying the global and regional impacts of climate change on natural and human systems, and stakeholders who may need this knowledge to identify appropriate policies. By creating channels of cooperation between modellers and stakeholders, ISIpedia aims at facilitating the co-production and knowledge transfer of climate impact information. The end-product of ISIpedia will be a user-friendly, freely accessible online encyclopaedia for consistent impacts projections across sectors.  
The "Climate Action Tracker" is an independent science-based assessment, which tracks the emission commitments and actions of countries.  
Science and policy to assist and support SIDSs and LDCs to negotiate a strong international climate regime, enabling low carbon development and supporting adaptation needs.  
This project aims to establish a scientifically robust and transparent link between the latest climate-economic science data and the Climate Bonds Initiative’s project universe. The Framework's goal is to ensure that project categories certified under the Climate Bond Standards represent mitigation actions that current climate science finds most relevant in order to keep global warming below 2° C. Project period: 2015 - 2016.