Scientific Evidence for Anthropogenic Climate Change

created by Nicole Wigder, UW Atmospheric Sciences (2012)
updated by Surabhi Biyani (2019)


Students create a consensus scientific report similar to the Climate Change Assessment Reports developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).   Background information on the IPCC.

As of 2016, there are five assessment reports (AR1-AR5) and the work of the sixth IPCC panel began in April 2016 with the synthesis report due in 2022. The preface for AR4 gives a brief introduction to the history of IPCC reports.

Each of the five assessment reports represents the scientific consensus on climate change at the time the reports were written (AR1: 1990; AR2: 1995; AR3: 2001; AR4: 2007; AR5: 2014). The five assessment reports, along with other IPCC reports, are located on the IPCC website.

Focus Questions

  • How have people influenced the Earth’s climate?
  • How has our understanding of anthropogenic climate change shifted over time?
  • How certain are we that anthropogenic climate change is occurring?

Learning Goals

  • Read and understand scientific reports
  • Write a research report with citations
  • Develop expertise in a climate change topic
  • Present research results visually and orally

Instructor Background Information (pdf)

Suggestions for Student Research Topics (pdf)

Student Instructions (pdf)

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