Table of contents



The Earth in focus p1




From climate assessment to climate services pp2 - 3

Martin Visbeck



Books and Arts

The ends of the Earth pp5 - 6

Ronald Amundson



Research Highlights


News and Views

Palaeoceanography: The briny deep pp9 - 10

Ellen Martin


Subject Category: Palaeoclimate and palaeoceanography

Tectonics: Arabia's slow dance with India pp10 - 11

Charles DeMets


Subject Category: Structural geology, tectonics and geodynamics

Atmospheric science: Raising the roof pp12 - 13

Tiffany A. Shaw & Theodore G. Shepherd


Subject Category: Atmospheric science

Environmental biology: Trees of extremes p13

Alexandra Thompson


Subject Category: Ecology

Mesozoic climate: Liverworts and all pp14 - 15

Klaus Wallmann


Subject Category: Palaeoclimate and palaeoceanography

Atmospheric science: Black carbon and brown clouds pp15 - 16

John Seinfeld


Subject Category: Atmospheric science

Geodynamics: The ups and downs of sediments pp17 - 18

Terry Plank & Peter E. van Keken


Subject Category: Structural geology, tectonics and geodynamics

Palaeontology: Meteoritic spur to life? pp18 - 19

Florentin Paris


Subject Category: Palaeontology


Progress Article

Widening of the tropical belt in a changing climate pp21 - 24

Dian J. Seidel, Qiang Fu, William J. Randel & Thomas J. Reichler


The tropical belt has been widening over past decades — as estimated from a number of independent lines of evidence — shifting the dry subtropical climate zones polewards around the world.

Subject Categories: Atmospheric science | Climate science



Core–mantle boundary heat flow pp25 - 32

Thorne Lay, John Hernlund & Bruce A. Buffett


Emerging evidence for threefold higher heat flow across the core–mantle boundary prompts a re-evaluation of the role of thermal plumes in geodynamics and the thermal history of the Earth's core and lower mantle.

Subject Categories: Geomagnetism, palaeomagnetism and core processes | Structural geology, tectonics and geodynamics



Response of glacier basal motion to transient water storage pp33 - 37

Timothy C. Bartholomaus, Robert S. Anderson & Suzanne P. Anderson


The speed of a glacier is affected most by sudden jumps in the water supply to the glacier, but it goes back to previous levels if high water inputs are sustained because the glacier's plumbing system adjusts.

Subject Categories: Cryospheric science | Climate science

See also: related Backstory

High rates of sea-level rise during the last interglacial period pp38 - 42

E. J. Rohling, K. Grant, Ch. Hemleben, M. Siddall, B. A. A. Hoogakker, M. Bolshaw & M. Kucera


Sea level during the last interglacial stood at least 4 m higher than at present, with evidence of short-term fluctuations of up to 10 m. A new continuous sea level record from the Red Sea and coral ages suggest that during these fluctuations, sea level changes were on the order of 1.6 m per century.

Subject Categories: Palaeoclimate and palaeoceanography | Oceanography

Atmospheric carbon dioxide linked with Mesozoic and early Cenozoic climate change pp43 - 48

Benjamin J. Fletcher, Stuart J. Brentnall, Clive W. Anderson, Robert A. Berner & David J. Beerling


Carbon isotopes of fossil plants and model simulations suggest that atmospheric carbon dioxide levels were variable during the period 200 to 60 million years ago. The large decreases in the partial pressure of CO2 coincide with glaciations, providing evidence against climate�CO2 decoupling during the Mesozoic.

Subject Categories: Palaeoclimate and palaeoceanography | Atmospheric science

See also: News and Views by Wallmann

Asteroid breakup linked to the Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event pp49 - 53

Birger Schmitz, David A. T. Harper, Bernhard Peucker-Ehrenbrink, Svend Stouge, Carl Alwmark, Anders Cronholm, Stig M. Bergström, Mario Tassinari & Wang Xiaofeng


The Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event coincides ~470 million years ago with the break-up of a large asteroid and the resultant frequent bombardment of Earth with asteroid fragments.

Subject Categories: Palaeontology | Geochemistry

See also: News and Views by Paris

In situ evidence for dextral active motion at the Arabia–India plate boundary pp54 - 58

Marc Fournier, Nicolas Chamot-Rooke, Carole Petit, Olivier Fabbri, Philippe Huchon, Bertrand Maillot & Claude Lepvrier


Multibeam mapping of the northwestern Indian Ocean seafloor provides clear evidence of dextral strike-slip motion along the Owen fracture zone and helps constrain the nature of deformation as well as the rate of slip along this little-studied plate boundary.

Subject Category: Structural geology, tectonics and geodynamics

See also: News and Views by DeMets | related Backstory

Persistent earthquake clusters and gaps from slip on irregular faults pp59 - 63

Tom Parsons


Clustering of earthquakes at various spatial scales is the result of a heterogeneous distribution of stresses, and – at least for intermediate-magnitude earthquakes – areas that are quiet at present are likely to remain so in the future.

Subject Categories: Seismology | Structural geology, tectonics and geodynamics

Role of recycled oceanic basalt and sediment in generating the Hf–Nd mantle array pp64 - 67

Catherine Chauvel, Eric Lewin, Marion Carpentier, Nicholas T. Arndt & Jean-Christophe Marini


The isotopic composition of oceanic basalts suggests that they are composed of true recycled oceanic crust and sediments, which are mixed with the depleted mantle.

Subject Categories: Geochemistry | Volcanology, mineralogy and petrology

See also: News and Views by Plank & van Keken



Influence of brine formation on Arctic Ocean circulation over the past 15 million years pp68 - 72

Brian A. Haley, Martin Frank, Robert F. Spielhagen & Anton Eisenhauer


Over the past 15 million years, Arctic Ocean circulation has exhibited two distinct modes: during the interglacial periods of the past two million years, including the present, Arctic intermediate water was mainly derived from North Atlantic inflow. By contrast, between 15 and 2 million years ago, and during glacial periods thereafter, brine formation on the Eurasian shelves contributed substantially to Arctic intermediate water.

Subject Category: Palaeoclimate and palaeoceanography

See also: News and Views by Martin | related Backstory



Drillship on ice p76


Midnight glacier hikes pE1


Plates under the sea pE2



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