The topics assessed in this chapter were last assessed by the IPCC in 2007, principally in WGII AR4 Chapters 3 (Kundzewicz et al., 2007) and 4 (Fischlin et al., 2007), but also in WGII AR4 Sections 1.3.4 and 1.3.5 (Rosenzweig et al., 2007). The WGII AR4 SPM stated “Observational evidence from all continents and most oceans shows that many natural systems are being affected by regional climate changes, particularly temperature increases,” though they noted that documentation of observed changes in tropical regions and the Southern Hemisphere was sparse (Rosenzweig et al., 2007). Fischlin et al. (2007) found that 20 to 30% of the plant and animal species that had been assessed to that time were considered to be at increased risk of extinction if the global average temperature increase exceeds 2°C to 3°C above the preindustrial level with medium confidence, and that substantial changes in structure and functioning of terrestrial, marine, and other aquatic ecosystems are very likely under that degree of warming and associated atmospheric CO2 concentration. No time scale was associated with these findings. The carbon stocks in terrestrial ecosystems were considered to be at high risk from climate change and land use change. The report warned that the capacity of ecosystems to adapt naturally to the combined effect of climate change and other stressors is likely to be exceeded if greenhouse gas (GHG) emission continued at or above the then-current rate.
Settele, J., R. Scholes, R. Betts, S. Bunn, P. Leadley, D. Nepstad, J.T. Overpeck, and M.A. Taboada, 2014: Terrestrial and inland water systems. 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. 271-359.