Perspectives

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  • Beach nourishment is a well-established engineering practice to slow erosion and maintain or expand sandy beaches, but sea level rise, diminishing sand resources and recreational, groundwater and ecological concerns require new assessments and designs of this coastal management technique. This Perspective describes the multidisciplinary aims and impacts of sandy beach nourishment.

    • Matthieu A. de Schipper
    • Bonnie C. Ludka
    • Thomas. A. Schlacher
    Perspective
  • Soil health is essential to crop production but is also key to many ecosystem services. In this Perspective, the definition, impact and quantification of soil health are examined, and the needs in soil-health research are outlined.

    • Johannes Lehmann
    • Deborah A. Bossio
    • Matthias C. Rillig
    Perspective
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has caused substantial global impact. This Perspective provides insight into the environmental effects of the pandemic, documenting how it offers an opportunity to better understand the Earth System.

    • Noah S. Diffenbaugh
    • Christopher B. Field
    • Gabrielle Wong-Parodi
    Perspective
  • Prolonged extreme oceanic warm water events, known as marine heatwaves, can have devastating impacts on marine ecosystems. This Perspective explores the predictability of marine heatwaves, taking into account the physical drivers, monitoring and prediction approaches, and stakeholder considerations.

    • Neil J. Holbrook
    • Alex Sen Gupta
    • Thomas Wernberg
    Perspective
  • Traditional methods for ocean observation are often inadequate for detecting large-scale biogeochemical processes. This Perspective discusses the advantages of implementing autonomous observation platforms in complementing traditional observation methods and generating global biogeochemical data sets.

    • Fei Chai
    • Kenneth S. Johnson
    • Adrienne Sutton
    Perspective
  • Though lessons learned from Earth are frequently applied to other planets, there is much to learn about our own planet from the Solar System and beyond. This Perspective highlights examples from geological and atmospheric sciences in which other planetary bodies have acted as analogues, experiments and archives for the Earth sciences.

    • Mathieu G. A. Lapôtre
    • Joseph G. O’Rourke
    • Robin D. Wordsworth
    Perspective
  • Discussions surrounding stratospheric aerosol geoengineering have increased in climate-change discourse, but our understanding of its impacts is relatively limited. This Perspective discusses the uncertainty and risk associated with stratospheric aerosol geoengineering, offering suggestions on research topics that should be prioritized.

    • Ben Kravitz
    • Douglas G. MacMartin
    Perspective
  • Earth System Science (ESS) has emerged as a powerful tool to investigate and understand global change. This Perspective outlines the history of ESS and advocates for the full integration of human and biogeophysical dynamics necessary to build a truly unified ESS effort.

    • Will Steffen
    • Katherine Richardson
    • Jane Lubchenco
    Perspective