Research Topic

Knowledge Gaps from the IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate and Recent Advances

About this Research Topic

All people on Earth depend directly or indirectly on the ocean and cryosphere. The global ocean covers over two thirds of the Earth surface and contains the majority of Earth’s water. The cryosphere refers to frozen components of the Earth system and around 10% of Earth’s land area is covered by glaciers or ice sheets. The ocean and cryosphere support unique habitats and are interconnected with other components of the climate system through global exchange of water, energy and carbon. The projected responses of the ocean and cryosphere to past and current human-induced greenhouse gas emissions and ongoing global warming include climate feedbacks, changes over decades to millennia that cannot be avoided, thresholds of abrupt change, and irreversibility.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (SROCC) in Autumn 2019. This Research Topic will identify and substantiate knowledge gaps from the report, highlight recent scientific research findings or practices that address these gaps, and suggests areas where future research is urgently needed.

The report was prepared following an IPCC Panel decision in 2016 to prepare three Special Reports during the Sixth Assessment Cycle. By assessing new scientific literature, the SROCC responded to government and observer organization proposals. The report assessed the current state of the literature on the impact of climate change on the high mountain cryosphere, polar regions, coasts and sea level rise and the ocean. The aim of this Research Topic is not to re-assess the SROCC literature, but rather to look forward to future research priorities.

Papers should provide succinct descriptions of knowledge gaps and/or recent scientific findings and insights since the SROCC that offer prospects to address these gaps. The topics covered may align with the SROCC chapter headings or cut across those headings:
• Framing of the SROCC
• High mountain areas
• Polar regions
• Sea Level Rise and Implications for Low Lying Islands, Coasts and Communities
• Changing Ocean, Marine Ecosystems, and Dependent Communities
• Extremes, Abrupt Changes and Managing Risks
• Low Lying Islands and Coasts

Papers should provide succinct descriptions of knowledge gaps and should not attempt a comprehensive re-assessment of the SROCC literature.


Keywords: IPCC, IPCC report, climate change, ocean, Cryosphere, government, high mountain cryosphere, polar regions, sea level rise, coast, SROCC


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

All people on Earth depend directly or indirectly on the ocean and cryosphere. The global ocean covers over two thirds of the Earth surface and contains the majority of Earth’s water. The cryosphere refers to frozen components of the Earth system and around 10% of Earth’s land area is covered by glaciers or ice sheets. The ocean and cryosphere support unique habitats and are interconnected with other components of the climate system through global exchange of water, energy and carbon. The projected responses of the ocean and cryosphere to past and current human-induced greenhouse gas emissions and ongoing global warming include climate feedbacks, changes over decades to millennia that cannot be avoided, thresholds of abrupt change, and irreversibility.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (SROCC) in Autumn 2019. This Research Topic will identify and substantiate knowledge gaps from the report, highlight recent scientific research findings or practices that address these gaps, and suggests areas where future research is urgently needed.

The report was prepared following an IPCC Panel decision in 2016 to prepare three Special Reports during the Sixth Assessment Cycle. By assessing new scientific literature, the SROCC responded to government and observer organization proposals. The report assessed the current state of the literature on the impact of climate change on the high mountain cryosphere, polar regions, coasts and sea level rise and the ocean. The aim of this Research Topic is not to re-assess the SROCC literature, but rather to look forward to future research priorities.

Papers should provide succinct descriptions of knowledge gaps and/or recent scientific findings and insights since the SROCC that offer prospects to address these gaps. The topics covered may align with the SROCC chapter headings or cut across those headings:
• Framing of the SROCC
• High mountain areas
• Polar regions
• Sea Level Rise and Implications for Low Lying Islands, Coasts and Communities
• Changing Ocean, Marine Ecosystems, and Dependent Communities
• Extremes, Abrupt Changes and Managing Risks
• Low Lying Islands and Coasts

Papers should provide succinct descriptions of knowledge gaps and should not attempt a comprehensive re-assessment of the SROCC literature.


Keywords: IPCC, IPCC report, climate change, ocean, Cryosphere, government, high mountain cryosphere, polar regions, sea level rise, coast, SROCC


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

30 January 2021 Abstract
31 May 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

30 January 2021 Abstract
31 May 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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