Sept. 20, 2010

Mahowald tapped as lead author for intergovernmental climate report

Cornell faculty member Natalie Mahowald has been tapped to be a lead author on the next Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessment Report. Established by the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Meteorological Organization, the IPCC is charged with providing the world with a clear scientific view on the current state of climate change and its potential environmental and socio-economic consequences.

Mahowald, associate professor of earth and atmospheric sciences, will lead Chapter 1 of Working Group I, which will cover the physical science basis for Assessment Report 5. The IPCC's first four Assessment Reports are at the core of today's scientific and policy debates regarding climate change. The new Assessment Report is scheduled for completion between 2013 and 2014.

"The last IPCC Assessment Report was very influential in getting the U.S., especially, on board with the idea that climate change is a real threat, and that we need to assess what we will do about it," said Mahowald, who is one of 831 experts around the world who will contribute to the report. "It's an honor to be asked to serve on the IPCC Assessment Reports, and I look forward to working on it."

The first lead author meeting will take place in November, when stakeholders will start on outlines and drafts.

Another Cornell faculty member, Jefferson Tester, already serves as a lead author on the IPCC's Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation, which will be completed this year. Tester is the Croll Professor of Sustainable Energy Systems in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and associate director of energy programs in the Cornell Center for a Sustainable Future.