The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has extended the cut-off date for scientific literature to be included in the contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) of Working Group I, which deals with the physical science basis of climate change, by four months from September 30, 2020 in the original Working Group I schedule to January 31, 2021.
IPCC Working Group I has run surveys with climate scientists and editors of relevant scientific journals and consultations with authors of the assessment report underway to assess the current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic and inform the adjustment of the schedule.
In the light of the disruption to scientific work worldwide caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the extension to the literature cut-off date has been implemented and the last Lead Author meeting of Working Group I authors, initially scheduled in the first week of June in Chile, has been postponed.
According to the IPCC, Working Group I has decided to hold a series of virtual meetings with their 233 authors in June and July to incorporate insights from review comments to define revisions to take place for chapters of the report, for the Technical Summary and the Summary for Policymakers.
“The IPCC is continuing to work to prepare the Sixth Assessment Report, despite these tough, unprecedented circumstances. This is possible due to your commitment and dedication,” said IPCC Chair Hoesung Lee in remarks prepared for the opening of the first in the series of virtual meetings for Working Group I authors starting on June 1.
The Working Group I contribution to 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 was also open for review comments.
The IPCC had already extended the current government and expert review of the Second Order Draft of the Working Group I report until June 5, 2020 to allow reviewers more time to provide comments.
The IPCC approved the proposal by the Working Group I Bureau for further revisions to the timetable for the report after consultations showed that more time would be required to prepare the report in the changed working conditions of pandemic in order to preserve the scientific quality of the assessment and alleviate the pressure on authors of the report, who work on a volunteer basis in addition to their research activities and other duties.
Among other changes to the AR6 work programme due to COVID-19, Working Group II (impacts, adaptation and vulnerability) has extended some deadlines this year, and Working Group III (mitigation of climate change) has held its third Lead Author Meeting remotely instead of in person.