Slow-onset events: a review of the evidence from the IPCC Special Reports on Land, Oceans and Cryosphere

Elsevier, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, Volume 50, June 2021
van der Geest K., van den Berg R.

This paper reviews the evidence on slow-onset events presented in the Special Report on Climate Change and Land (SRCCL) and the Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (SROCC), both published in 2019. It analyses how the reports, and recent literature cited in them, deal with the eight types of slow-onset events, specified by the UNFCCC: increasing temperatures, sea level rise, salinization, ocean acidification, glacial retreat, land degradation, desertification and loss of biodiversity. The authors used qualitative data analysis software to analyse the reports, and for each of the SOEs, they coded and analysed information about the state, rate of change, timescale, geography, drivers, impacts, management responses, adaptation limits and residual losses and damages. The paper provides an overview of the state of the art on SOEs and helps to identify gaps and challenges in understanding the nature of SOEs, their impact and effective management approaches.