Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Volume 560 Issue 7719, 23 August 2018

Veiled threat

The cover illustrates how the dust veil generated by the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines shaded and cooled Earth. This, in part, inspired geoengineering proposals to mitigate the effects of a warming climate by injecting precursors to sulfate aerosols into the stratosphere. In this week’s issue, Jonathan Proctor and his colleagues use the eruptions of Mount Pinatubo and of El Chichón in Mexico (1982) as natural experiments to study the effects of such aerosol veils on global crop yields. They find that the changes in sunlight induced by the stratospheric aerosols had a negative effect on the yields of maize, soy, rice and wheat. The researchers then model a geoengineering scenario and find that the technology’s benefits to crop production from cooling are washed out by its damages from shading. These results suggest that solar geoengineering using sulfate aerosols would fail to mitigate the danger that climate change poses to global agricultural production and food security.

Cover image: Jonathan Proctor and Solomon Hsiang

This Week

News in Focus





  • Futures |

    An error of judgement?

    • John Gilbey


    News & Views

  • News & Views |

    Certain materials contain both electric dipoles and magnetic moments. An experiment demonstrates that these properties can be coupled in previously unrecognized ways, leading to advanced functionality.

    • John T. Heron
    • Julia A. Mundy
  • News & Views |

    The route to the establishment of a beneficial microbial community in the gut after birth is not fully understood. It now emerges that a gut-cell protein in newborn mice shapes the long-term composition of this community.

    • Andrew J. Macpherson
    • Stephanie C. Ganal-Vonarburg
  • News & Views |

    A drug that slows cancer growth has been found to elevate the level of the hormone insulin. This insulin rise lessens the drug’s effectiveness, but a diet that lowers insulin can increase the benefits of the therapy in mice.

    • Michael Pollak
  • Articles

  • Article |

    A cryo-electron microscopy structure of the insect Orco subunit, which forms ion channels with diverse olfactory receptors, reveals a tetrameric cation channel and sheds light on insect olfaction.

    • Joel A. Butterwick
    • Josefina del Mármol
    • Vanessa Ruta
  • Letters

  • Letter |

    Cross-correlation analysis of high-resolution spectra obtained as the exoplanet KELT-9b transited its host star reveals neutral and singly ionized atomic iron and singly ionized atomic titanium in the exoplanet’s atmosphere.

    • H. Jens Hoeijmakers
    • David Ehrenreich
    • Luca Di Fabrizio
  • Letter |

    A counter-intuitive state—known as a topological Anderson insulator—in which strong disorder leads to the formation of topologically protected rather than trivial states is realized in a photonic system.

    • Simon Stützer
    • Yonatan Plotnik
    • Alexander Szameit
  • Letter |

    The magnetization or polarization of domain states in multiferroics can be reversed while retaining the overall domain pattern, owing to the inherent versatility in coupling the large number of multiferroic order parameters.

    • N. Leo
    • V. Carolus
    • M. Fiebig
  • Letter |

    A Triassic stem turtle from China has a mixture of derived characters and plesiomorphic features, including an edentulous beak and a rigid puboischiadic plate.

    • Chun Li
    • Nicholas C. Fraser
    • Xiao-Chun Wu
  • Letter |

    RNA velocity, estimated in single cells by comparison of spliced and unspliced mRNA, is a good indicator of transcriptome dynamics and will provide a useful tool for analysis of developmental lineage.

    • Gioele La Manno
    • Ruslan Soldatov
    • Peter V. Kharchenko


  • Letter |

    Inositol hexakisphosphate, which is found in all mammalian cells, binds to two separate sites to promote the assembly and maturation of HIV-1 virus particles.

    • Robert A. Dick
    • Kaneil K. Zadrozny
    • Volker M. Vogt

Amendments & Corrections

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing


Quick links