Image:Risks and Impacts of Global Warming.png

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Predicted changes in average surface temperature according to a range of global climate models assuming no significant action is taken to combat global warming.
Predicted changes in average surface temperature according to a range of global climate models assuming no significant action is taken to combat global warming.

This figure, adapted from the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) , presents a conceptual assessment of the relative impact and risks associated with global warming across five categories of concern.

The left part of the figure shows the range of mean global temperature change that may occur during the 21st century after accounting for both a wide range of greenhouse gas emission scenarios and the uncertainty associated with global climate models.

The bars on the figure are colored to suggest the relative impact or concern that should be attributed to each factor as a function of temperature increase. According to the IPCC: "White indicates neutral or small negative or positive impacts or risks, yellow indicates negative impacts for some systems or low risks, and red means negative impacts or risks that are more widespread and/or greater in magnitude." As assessed by the IPCC, the temperature increase of 0.6 °C between 1900 and 1990 has already produced threats to vulnerable physical, ecological and human systems as well as producing an increase in the extreme weather events. By contrast, the net economic and ecological impact of global warming thus far has been modest/neutral, but threatens to become significantly negative during the first part of this century. Lastly, radical and irreversible large-scale changes, such as the disintegration of major ice sheets, breakdown of thermohaline circulation or the collapse of rain forest ecosystems, is not expected to occur before a several degree increase in temperature. Such an increase may occur by the end of the century.


The bars and basic structure of this image is attributed to IPCC, constitutes one of the central conclusions of their work, and are represented in the manner they considered appropriate for conveying their conclusions. It is believed that the use this material in the present adaptation in Wikipedia to inform and educate about the risks associated with global warming constitutes a fair use under United States copyright law. The current presentation of this material was prepared by Robert A. Rohde as part of the Global Warming Art project. Any unique elements associated with this adaptation are licensed under the Global Warming Art license described below.


Aspects of this work are copyrighted and unlicensed. It does not fall into one of the blanket fair use categories listed at Wikipedia:Fair use#Images or Wikipedia:Fair use#Audio_clips. However, it is believed that the use of this work to discuss the effects of global warming:

  • To convey the central conclusions of the IPCC
  • Where no free equivalent could be created that would faithfully represent those conclusions
  • On the English-language Wikipedia ( ), hosted on servers in the United States by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation ( ),

qualifies as fair use under United States copyright law. Any other uses of this image, on Wikipedia or elsewhere, may be copyright infringement. See Wikipedia:Fair use and Wikipedia:Copyrights.

Image from Global Warming Art

This image is an original work created for Global Warming Art.

Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this image under either:

  • The GNU Free Documentation License Version 1.2; with no Invariant Sections, Front-Cover Texts, or Back-Cover Texts.
  • The Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License Version 2.5

Please refer to the image description page on Global Warming Art for more information


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