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  • Integrating impacts and cascading hazards to drought monitoring could improve prediction and mitigation of drought events. This Perspective discusses the limitations of existing indicators, the cascading hazards associated with drought and the importance of assessing drought impacts.

    • Amir AghaKouchak
    • Laurie S. Huning
    • Heidi Kreibich
  • Differentiable modelling is an approach that flexibly integrates the learning capability of machine learning with the interpretability of process-based models. This Perspective highlights the potential of differentiable modelling to improve the representation of processes, parameter estimation, and predictive accuracy in the geosciences.

    • Chaopeng Shen
    • Alison P. Appling
    • Kathryn Lawson
  • Methods to integrate Earth system modelling (ESM) with deep learning offer promise for advancing understanding of Earth processes. This Perspective explores the development and applications of hybrid Earth system modelling, a framework that integrates neural networks into ESM throughout the modelling lifecycle.

    • Min Chen
    • Zhen Qian
    • Guonian Lü
  • Although model projections indicate increased El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) variability in the future, contemporary impacts of anthropogenic forcing on ENSO variability have been difficult to ascertain. This Perspective discusses these contemporary effects, outlining that an increase in post-1960 ENSO variability is likely related to greenhouse gas forcing.

    • Wenju Cai
    • Benjamin Ng
    • Michael J. McPhaden
  • Extreme weather and climate events could increase ecosystem disturbances and, potentially, destabilize ecosystems, but different feedbacks between climate and ecosystems are often not accounted for. This Perspective proposes a framework to characterize ecoclimatic events and understand the role of human activities in driving them.

    • Ana Bastos
    • Sebastian Sippel
    • Markus Reichstein
  • Large quantities of plastics flow from rivers to estuaries, where they potentially converge in frontal zones. This Perspective describes the occurrence, transformation and impact of these processes, highlighting their importance in mitigating plastic pollution.

    • Tao Wang
    • Shiye Zhao
    • Mengli Chen
  • Atmospheric transport of microplastics could be a major source of plastic pollution to the ocean, yet observations currently remain limited. This Perspective quantifies the known budgets of the marine-atmospheric micro(nano)plastic cycle and proposes a future global observation strategy.

    • Deonie Allen
    • Steve Allen
    • Stephanie Wright
  • The size and shape of alluvial river channels control and adjust to the flow of water and sediment, with consequences for flooding and ecological habitat. This Perspective examines how the sediment entrainment threshold constrains the size, shape and dynamics of alluvial rivers.

    • Colin B. Phillips
    • Claire C. Masteller
    • Douglas J. Jerolmack
  • The planetary boundaries framework outlines a safe operating space for humanity according to key Earth system dynamics. This Perspective proposes the addition of a green water planetary boundary based on root-zone soil moisture and demonstrates that widespread green water modifications now present increasing risks to Earth system resilience.

    • Lan Wang-Erlandsson
    • Arne Tobian
    • Johan Rockström
  • China has implemented various mitigation strategies to lower their CO2 emissions. This Perspective outlines the progress in reaching these CO2 reduction targets, and the pending challenges the nation faces to achieve carbon neutrality.

    • Zhu Liu
    • Zhu Deng
    • Xi Liang
  • Grasslands provide key ecosystem services, but their protection is often ignored in sustainable policy. This Perspective describes grassland degradation and sets out the steps needed to protect these systems and promote their restoration.

    • Richard D. Bardgett
    • James M. Bullock
    • Hongxiao Shi
  • Marine dissolved organic matter can persist for millennia, but the reasons for this phenomenon are unknown. This Perspective describes and compares two concepts — intrinsic and emergent recalcitrance — explaining marine organic matter persistence.

    • Thorsten Dittmar
    • Sinikka T. Lennartz
    • Jan-Hendrik Hehemann
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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