Reviews & Analysis

Filter By:

  • The Quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO) describes alterations in the direction of tropical stratospheric winds and their downward propagation. This Review outlines the drivers, impacts and projected changes of the QBO, noting a likely weakening amplitude under anthropogenic warming.

    • James A. Anstey
    • Scott M. Osprey
    • Jadwiga H. Richter
    Review Article
  • Soil hydrology impacts ecosystem functioning and is being altered by global change and anthropogenic activities. This Review discusses the drivers of soil hydrological processes, their feedbacks within the broader Earth and the emerging tools illuminating these linkages.

    • Harry Vereecken
    • Wulf Amelung
    • Yonggen Zhang
    Review Article
  • The geodynamic mechanisms and timing of Tibetan Plateau formation are debated, but are critical to understanding tectonic–climatic links. This Review discusses the stages of Tibetan Plateau evolution, and highlights that inherited weaknesses from pre-Cenozoic tectonic events influenced its variable surface uplift history.

    • Lin Ding
    • Paul Kapp
    • Chao Wang
    Review Article
  • Warming temperatures, shifting precipitation patterns and human activities on the Qinghai–Tibetan Plateau are impacting phenology, including advancing the start and delaying the end of the growing season. This Review examines the drivers, patterns and impacts of changing vegetation phenology across this region.

    • Miaogen Shen
    • Shiping Wang
    • Bojie Fu
    Review Article
  • Phase transitions in the mantle transition zone could affect material and heat exchange between the upper and lower mantle. This Review discusses how compositional heterogeneity affects mantle convection based on seismic observations, plausible mantle compositions and model predictions.

    • Saskia Goes
    • Chunquan Yu
    • Robert D. van der Hilst
    Review Article
  • The Antarctic Ice Sheet (AIS) underwent dramatic changes over the Holocene, impacting global sea levels. In this Review, Jones et al. discuss changes in this ice sheet during the pre-industrial Holocene. The drivers behind these past changes are explored, as well as their relevance for current and future changes in the AIS.

    • Richard S. Jones
    • Joanne S. Johnson
    • Pippa L. Whitehouse
    Review Article
  • Black carbon is produced by wildfire and fossil fuel burning, and persists in the environment over centuries to millennia. This Review describes black carbon sources and budgets, discusses its transport along the land-to-ocean continuum and highlights its enigmatic cycling in the ocean.

    • Alysha I. Coppola
    • Sasha Wagner
    • Matthew W. Jones
    Review Article
  • Biochar is a promising negative carbon emission technology with applications in wastewater pollution control. This Review assesses the performance of engineered biochar in various industrial, municipal and stormwater treatments, and discusses the partnerships required for biochar commercialization.

    • Mingjing He
    • Zibo Xu
    • Daniel C. W. Tsang
    Review Article
  • Clay minerals can retain metal ions, concentrate rare earth elements and be exploited for industrial waste disposal. This Review discusses the molecular-level mechanisms of metal ion retention in clay minerals and their importance for environmental and industrial applications.

    • Xiandong Liu
    • Christophe Tournassat
    • Maria Marques Fernandes
    Review Article
  • Atmospheric warming has imbalanced the Hindu Kush–Karakoram–Himalayan system (the Asian water tower (AWT)). Yao et al. review observed changes in atmospheric water and freshwater AWT constituents, focusing on their future consequences for freshwater resources and vulnerable societies across downstream basins.

    • Tandong Yao
    • Tobias Bolch
    • Ping Zhao
    Review Article
  • Vegetation dynamics can be tracked using remotely sensed vegetation indices, but these metrics can result in conflicting conclusions. This Technical Review details the history, application and potential pitfalls associated with vegetation indices and makes recommendations for their best use.

    • Yelu Zeng
    • Dalei Hao
    • Min Chen
    Technical Review
  • Atmospheric aerosols alter Earth’s radiation balance and serve as cloud condensation nuclei, but their climate forcing potential is poorly understood. This Review describes the occurrence of aerosols in the atmosphere, assesses the known impact on climate and proposes approaches to further constrain their climate effects.

    • Jing Li
    • Barbara E. Carlson
    • Yueming Dong
    Review Article
  • Tropical peatlands hold around 105 gigatonnes of carbon but are increasingly affected by anthropogenic activities. This Review describes the biogeochemistry of these systems and how deforestation, fire, drainage and agriculture are disturbing them.

    • Susan Page
    • Shailendra Mishra
    • Chris D. Evans
    Review Article
  • 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
    Perspective
  • 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
    Perspective
  • 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
    Perspective
  • The Chicxulub impact 66 million years ago caused catastrophic environmental changes, leading to the extinction of three-quarters of plant and animal species, including the dinosaurs. This Review explores how the Chicxulub impact structure provides insight into cratering processes and events leading to the Cretaceous–Palaeogene extinction.

    • Joanna V. Morgan
    • Timothy J. Bralower
    • Kai Wünnemann
    Review Article
  • Plastic debris and microplastics are ubiquitous in the Arctic. This Review describes the sources, distribution and consequences of this pollution, and calls for immediate action to mitigate further ecosystem impact.

    • Melanie Bergmann
    • France Collard
    • Mine B. Tekman
    Review Article
  • The use of organophosphate esters as flame retardants and plasticizers has increased, leading to their environmental pervasiveness. This Review describes the transport and distribution of these organic pollutants in the ocean and highlights the potential impacts on biogeochemical cycling and ecosystem health.

    • Zhiyong Xie
    • Pu Wang
    • Jordi Dachs
    Review Article