This chapter describes the information basis for the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of IPCC Working Group II (WGII) and the rationale for its structure. As the starting point of WGII AR5, the chapter begins with an analysis of how the literature for the assessment has developed through time and proceeds with an overview of how the framing and content of the WGII reports have changed since the first IPCC report was published in 1990. The future climate scenarios used in AR5 are a marked change from those used in the Third (TAR, 2001) and Fourth (AR4, 2007) Assessment Reports; this shift is described here, along with the new AR5 guidance for communicating scientific uncertainty. The chapter provides a summary of the most relevant key findings from the IPCC Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation (IPCC, 2011), the IPCC Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (IPCC, 2012), and the AR5 Working Group I (The Physical Science Basis) and AR5 Working Group III (Mitigation of Climate Change). Collectively these recent reports, new scenarios, and other advancements in climate change science set the stage for an assessment of impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability that could potentially overcome many of the limitations identified in the IPCC WGII AR4, particularly with respect to the human dimensions of climate change.
Burkett, V.R., A.G. Suarez, M. Bindi, C. Conde, R. Mukerji, M.J. Prather, A.L. St. Clair, and G.W. Yohe, 2014: Point of departure. In: Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Part A: Global and Sectoral Aspects. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Field, C.B., V.R. Barros, D.J. Dokken, K.J. Mach, M.D. Mastrandrea, T.E. Bilir, M. Chatterjee, K.L. Ebi, Y.O. Estrada, R.C. Genova, B. Girma, E.S. Kissel, A.N. Levy, S. MacCracken, P.R. Mastrandrea, and L.L. White (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA, pp. 169-194.