Those of us in the climate business were waiting for the Fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC to be released in a few weeks' time, but the highlights are reported today in the Guardian and the NYT, following a leak.
The estimated sensitivity range (for a doubling of CO2 from pre-industrial levels) has been reduced, which is good news. The certainty that recent warming is anthropogenic has been increased, which is not. And the Antarctic is now confirmed to be melting, which is horrible.
We already knew all this from reading the scientific literature, but the Act of Confirmation bestowed by the IPCC has symbolism and political weight.
(Determining exactly why this is so would make a good MS thesis topic in scientific communications.)
BTW (no irony intended), we may now have acronym trouble, possibly due to a lack of foresight when we labeled the Fourth Assessment Report the "FAR."
I've been obsessing for no good reason about this very slight difficulty since I realized it would occur nearly a year ago now. But I haven't come up with a great solution.
I think 5AR is the clearest usage, so I'll use that until someone comes up with a better idea.
Here's the leaked report, on a private blog called Stop Green Suicide that appears to be denialist inspired and has links to Watts Up with That. The author seems to have various axes to grind, several of which are publicized on the same landing page as the leaked 5AR.
Which I expect is why he leaked the material, since he's now guaranteed thousands if not millions of hits. Fame and fortune in a heartbeat. But what a numpty!
He was given the 5AR for comment. I doubt he'll even be invited to comment again!
So far the leak hasn't been forced down by the ISP or any authority.
Which, by the way, gives the lie to all the right-wing nonsense about the All-Powerful United Nations, doesn't it?