Forest selected as Lead Author for IPCC Fifth Assessment Report

Chris Forest, Associate Professor of Climate Dynamics in the Department of Meteorology and Earth Systems Science Center Associate, will be one of two Penn State researchers within the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences selected as Lead Authors to participate in the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Forest will work on Chapter 9, “Evaluation of Climate Models,” in Working Group I, The Physical Science Basis. Working Group I (WG I) assesses the scientific aspects of the climate system and climate change.  More specifically, topics assessed by WG I will include:  changes in greenhouse gases and aerosols in the atmosphere; observed changes in air, land and ocean temperatures, rainfall, glaciers and ice sheets, oceans and sea level; historical and paleoclimatic perspective on climate change; biogeochemistry, carbon cycle, gases and aerosols; satellite data and other data; climate models; climate projections, causes and attribution of climate change. 

Working Group I complements the other sections of the report, Working Group II (Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability) and Working Group III (Mitigation of Climate Change), respectively. Working Group II assesses the vulnerability of socio-economic and natural systems to climate change, negative and positive consequences of climate change, and options for adapting to it. Working Group III assesses options for mitigating climate change through limiting or preventing greenhouse gas emissions and enhancing activities that remove them from the atmosphere.

More than 3,000 nominations were received for AR5, with only 258 being selected for Working Group I.  A total of 831 authors will constitute the final writing teams for all three working groups of AR5.

“Climate models are one of the critical components for making accurate and robust predictions of future global changes and I’m excited to work with the world experts to evaluate their abilities in the next assessment report by the IPCC. It’s a great honor to work with the IPCC and we have a long road ahead to reach our goals,” Forest says.

Petra Tschakert, Assistant Professor of Geography and the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute (EESI), will be a Lead Author on Chapter 13, “Livelihoods and Poverty,” in Working Group II.  Professor Richard Alley, Evan Pugh Professor of Geosciences at Penn State, will work as Review Editor on Chapter 13 “Sea Level Change,” in Working Group I.

The Fifth Assessment Report is scheduled for completion in 2014.

For more detailed information about the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change AR5, please visit: