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Copenhagen Diagnosis

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Here is the explanation behind each graphic, and how it relates to the Copenhagen Diagnosis (full report available as of November 24, 2009).

Trends Accelerating

Rate of global temperature warming
New observations included in the Copenhagen Diagnosis update the recent global average temperature rate of increase from 0.177 to 0.187 degrees Celsius per decade.  This is considered a negligible shift.  The 0.177 value was reported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report (IPCC AR4) in 2007.

Rate of sea level rising
The Copenhagen Diagnosis reports our current best estimate of global average sea level rise rate, based on new precise satellite measurements: 3.4 mm per year over the last fifteen years, about 80% higher than the model projections from the IPCC (1.9 mm).

Rate of land ice shrinking
Land ice includes glaciers, ice caps, and the ice sheets on Greenland and Antarctica.  Disappearing land ice contributes to sea level rise.  IPCC AR4 reported that glaciers and ice caps were melting fast enough to contribute 0.8 mm per year to sea level rise, and Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets were contributing 0.4 mm per year.  Measurements show these rates have accelerated significantly in recent years.  The Copenhagen Diagnosis reports glaciers and ice caps are now contributing about 1.2 mm per year to sea level rise, and ice sheets roughly the same amount.  (Revised ice sheet total confirmed by chapter co-author Ian Allison.)

Rate of Arctic sea ice melting
The Copenhagen Diagnosis reports a recent 11.1% decline per decade in the extent of Arctic sea ice in September, as compared to a decline of 4.48% per decade over the same period from IPCC AR4 models (as shown in Fig. 13 of the Copenhagen Diagnosis).

Higher Seas This Century

The IPCC Fourth Assessment Report projected that global average sea level would increase 18-59 cm from 1990 to 2100—or, equivalently, 12-53 cm from 2009 to 2100, because of the 6 cm increase since 1990.  IPCC’s average sea level rise projection from 2009 is thus 32.5 cm, or about 13 inches.  The matching projection from the Copenhagen Diagnosis, averaging from both sources used by the report, is 33 inches, a 2.5-fold increase.