The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has extended government and expert review of the second order draft of the Working Group I contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) by six weeks to allow reviewers more time in the light of disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The review, which opened on March 2, 2020 and was originally scheduled to end on April 26, will now close on June 5. IPCC invites interested experts to register until midnight CET on May 29 at https://apps.ipcc.ch/comments/ar6wg1/sod/register.php
The Working Group I Co-Chairs requested an extension after surveys of government representatives and the scientific community indicated that retaining original end date given the COVID-19 pandemic would jeopardise IPCC requirements for a successful review: inclusion of the best possible scientific and technical advice; a wide circulation process, ensuring representation of independent experts from developing and developed countries and countries with economies in transition; and an objective, open and transparent review process.
“The review process is crucial for the quality of IPCC assessment reports. It is essential for its exhaustivity, objectivity and rigour,” said Valérie Masson-Delmotte and Panmao Zhai, Co-Chairs of Working Group I in a joint statement.
“We have two priorities: on the one hand, supporting scientists who are facing multiple challenges in this crisis situation to work for IPCC based on their volunteer efforts, and on the other, making sure that we keep the highest scientific quality standards for the Working Group I report. We are extremely thankful to the dedication of scientists and experts who are willing to contribute to the review process and will have more flexibility with this six-week extension.”
The extension of the Working Group I review is one of the first actions agreed by the IPCC as it undertakes a strategic review of the timing and format of all reports and activities in the Sixth Assessment Report cycle.
IPCC reports go through repeated drafts and reviews to help ensure that the report provides a balanced and comprehensive assessment of the latest scientific findings.
The Working Group I contribution to the AR6, Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis, will assess large-scale climate changes, climate processes and feedback and regional climate information. The Working Group I report includes an interactive online atlas, which is also open for review comments.
The draft report has been prepared by 233 authors from 62 countries.
During the review, experts may comment on the structure and comprehensiveness of the report and suggest improvements on the presentation of materials graphically or through tables. They may also propose revisions, relevant additional papers with their full citation, and editorial changes for readability and concision. This version also includes the first drafts of the Technical Summary and Summary for Policymakers.
IPCC reports undergo multiple stages of reviews, first by experts and then by both governments and experts. Experts who commented on the first draft will also be invited to comment on this second order draft. All expert reviewers will be acknowledged in the published report. This was originally due to be finalized in April 2021, but along with other IPCC reports and activities may be delayed because of the pandemic.
The first order draft of the Working Group I report received 23,462 comments from 750 expert reviewers. So far, 2,277 experts have registered to review the second order draft.