Key findings of released climate report

June 10th, 2014, Published in Articles: PositionIT


SANSA’s Dr. Jane Olwoch recently presented some of the key findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) AR5 Working Group 2 Report. The IPCC is an international scientific body that assesses climate change, and was established by the UN Environmental Programme and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 1988.

Dan Matsapola, Leluma Matooane and Dr. Jane Olwoch.

Dan Matsapola, Leluma Matooane and Dr. Jane Olwoch.

This is the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), and consists of three Working Groups (WGs), a Task Force and a Task Group. WG I considered the physical science basis, while the chapters of the WG II report, titled “Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability”, focused on risks and opportunities for societies, economies, and ecosystems. WG III assessed the options for mitigating climate change and their underlying technological, economic and institutional requirements.

Earth observation data plays a crucial role in environmental studies, and featured prominently in the work of WG I. Unfortunately earth observation data is not used widely enough in South African environmental work, Dr. Olwoch said. SANSA makes data available, through a partnership with France’s SPOT5 and -6 satellites to anyone interested, and supplies it free of charge to government departments and educational institutions.

She also emphasised the need for more environmental impact studies to be produced in South Africa and specifically the rest of the continent, as the first Working Groups data relied on this and a clear lack of such studies was evident. It remains difficult to convince governments of third world countries to invest in observation satellites when they face many other social challenges.

Dr. Olwoch is one of several authors of the report, and worked on chapter eleven of the Working Group 2 report. Some of the key findings she highlighted were observed impacts attributed to climate change, broken down in specificity according to region. She also looked at health impacts from climate change, such as the increase in diseases. University personel and representatives from state GIS departments attended the event. Dan Matsapola was the master of ceremonies, with the Department of Science and Technology’s director of earth science systems, Leluma Matooane, presenting the welcome address.

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