Monday, February 5, 2007

IPCC communications

With the release of the IPCC's voluminous Fourth Assessment Report a recent Times piece addresses an issue that should be considered before the Fifth Report is released in a few years. These reports are necessary for summarizing the state of global climate science as defined by leaders in their respective fields, around the world. With such a large technical report, the deadline for scientific findings for the Feb2007 release was Dec2005; such an early submission deadline is neccessary to ensure that all of the relevent science is properly reviewed for accuracy and that the proper editorial procedures are complete. But there were plenty of climate papers along with new data generated in 2006 that could have been extremely relevent and waiting until the next Assessment Report might diminish their importance. I suggest that the IPCC continue publishing their major reports every few years, but that they also start to release special supplemental reports on a more frequent (ideally monthly) basis to serve as a repository for the ever-increasing list of papers that should be made available to the public.

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