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IPCC AR5 Observed Climate Change Impacts

Recent warming around the world has caused changes in many physical and biological systems. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth and Fifth Assessment Reports (AR4 and AR5) documented observed responses to climate change across a wide range of systems as well as regions.

Figure 18.3 of the Working Group II report of AR5 summarizes a range of impacts observed around the world based on a detailed analysis of the peer-reviewed literature. This set of web pages reproduces Figure 18.3 and Tables 18-5 to 18-9 from the Working Group II report and the references explicitly mentioned in the tables. The published tables in the AR5 can be found here.

Global patterns of observed climate change impacts reported since AR4
Figure 18-3. Global patterns of observed climate change impacts reported since AR4. Each filled symbol in the top panels indicates a class of systems for which climate change has played a major role in observed changes in at least one system within that class across the respective region, with the range of confidence in attribution for those region-wide impacts indicated by the bars. Regional-scale impacts where climate change has played a minor role are shown by outlined symbols in a box in the respective region. Sub-regional impacts are indicated with symbols on the map, placed in the approximate area of their occurrence. The impacted area can vary from specific locations to broad areas such as a major river basin. Impacts on physical (blue), biological (green), and human (red) systems are differentiated by color. This map represents a graphical synthesis of Tables 18-5, 18-6, 18-7, 18-8, and 18-9. Absence of climate change impacts from this figure does not imply that such impacts have not occurred. It means, instead, that it has not yet been (or perhaps never will be) detected and/or attributed. (High resolution graphic is available here)



Guidance documents and support materials


Cramer, W., G.W. Yohe, M. Auffhammer, C. Huggel, U. Molau, M.A.F. da Silva Dias, A. Solow, D.A. Stone, and L. Tibig, 2014: Detection and attribution of observed impacts. 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. 979-1037.

Data Citation

IPCC. 2015. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Observed Climate Change Impacts Database Version 2.01. Palisades, NY: Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC), Columbia University. Available at (date of download).


IPCC AR5 Chapter 18:
Coordinating Lead Authors:
Wolfgang Cramer (Germany/France), Gary W. Yohe (USA)
Lead Authors:
Maximilian Auffhammer (USA), Christian Huggel (Switzerland), Ulf Molau (Sweden), Maria Assunção Faus da Silva Dias (Brazil), Andrew Solow (USA), Dáithí­ A. Stone (Canada/South Africa/USA), Lourdes Tibig (Philippines)
Contributing Authors:
Laurens Bouwer (Netherlands), Mark Carey (USA), Graham Cogley (Canada), Dim Coumou (Germany), Yuka Otsuki Estrada (USA/Japan), Eberhard Faust (Germany), Gerrit Hansen (Germany), Ove Hoegh-Guldberg (Australia), Joanna House (UK), Solomon Hsiang (USA), Lesley Hughes (Australia), Sari Kovats (UK), Paul Leadley (France), David Lobell (USA), Camille Parmesan (USA), Elvira Poloczanska (Australia), Hans Otto Pörtner (Germany), Andy Reisinger (New Zealand)
Review Editors:
Rik Leemans (Netherlands), Bernard Seguin (France), Neville Smith (Australia)
Volunteer Chapter Scientist:
Gerrit Hansen (Germany)

We also thank Robert S. Chen, Xiaoshi Xing, and Alyssa Fico (The Center for International Earth Science Information Network - CIESIN, Columbia University, USA), Rachel Warren (University of East Anglia, UK), Stewart Cohen (Environment and Climate Change, Canada), Gregory Insarov (Institute of Global Climate and Ecology, Roshydromet and Russian Academy of Sciences), Timothy R. Carter (Finnish Environment Institute - SYKE), Bruce Hewitson (University of Cape Town, South Africa)

Content last modified: 27 September 2017