a chain of small islands

Climate action on small islands

This month, we focus on small island states and territories, highlighting research conducted on these islands and future steps to enhance climate research and action.

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  • Given the importance of crop breeding and adaptation for future food security, the authors investigate yield response of wheat cultivars under warming. They find low adaptation to recent warming and low phenotype stability across environments, with further reductions expected under future climates.

    • Wei Xiong
    • Matthew P. Reynolds
    • Feng Chen
  • The authors combine field data with models of coastal geomorphology and bird behaviour and dynamics to understand the impact of sea-level rise on shorebird populations. They show that habitat quality is already declining and that the current focus on habitat quantity loss can underestimate threats.

    • Martijn van de Pol
    • Liam D. Bailey
    • Bruno J. Ens
  • The changing climate threatens water quality in lakes, particularly oxygen levels. Here the authors present evidence for northern lakes of rapidly reducing oxygen levels, mainly driven by longer stratification in the warm season, with implications for lake ecosystems.

    • Joachim Jansen
    • Gavin L. Simpson
    • Yves T. Prairie
    ArticleOpen Access
  • Ocean salinity changes are thought to be dominated by freshwater fluxes. Here the authors show that amplification of the Atlantic–Pacific salinity contrast also involves wind- and ocean warming-driven processes, with larger salinity increases in the North Atlantic, relative to the North Pacific.

    • Ying Lu
    • Yuanlong Li
    • Fan Wang
  • Projections of the future climate of small island states and territories are currently limited by the coarse resolution of models. We call for rapid global and regional cooperation to develop projections compatible with small island scales, providing relevant local information and decision-making tools.

    • Jason P. Evans
    • Ali Belmadani
    • Alexandre Peltier
  • Small island states and territories have been leading climate action in many ways. In this issue, we highlight climate change research conducted on large ocean islands and how science can improve to help them adapt to changing environments.

  • Adaptation evidence and knowledge are diverse and unequally represented in global adaptation discourse. The Adaptation Futures 2023 conference sought to bring this diversity together to advance more inclusive and impactful adaptation science, and confronted both the benefits and the trade-offs that this effort entails.

    • G. Cundill
    • B. Harvey
    • E. Totin
  • To accept carbon pricing, citizens desire viable alternatives to fossil fuel-based options. As inflation and higher interest rates have exacerbated access barriers for capital-intensive green substitutes, the political success of carbon pricing will be measured by how well policy design enables consumers to switch.

    • F. Funke
    • L. Mattauch
    • J. E. Stiglitz

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