Think big and model small

In this month's editorial, and in two Comments featured in our June issue, we focus on new possibilities to model the climate system at smaller scales, as well as the work and resources still needed. 

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  • Ice that melts at high elevation often refreezes and, therefore, does not contribute to the shrinking of ice sheets. Here, the authors show that the elevation at which melting ice starts to contribute to runoff has increased over recent years in Greenland, expanding the runoff area by 29%.

    • Andrew J. Tedstone
    • Horst Machguth
  • Food demand is increasing, while climate change is impacting the magnitude and stability of crop yields. High-quality soils are able to buffer the negative impacts of climate change and lead to smaller yield reduction and higher yield stability, indicating a potential adaptation strategy.

    • Lei Qiao
    • Xuhui Wang
    • Mingsheng Fan
  • Companies commonly use renewable energy certificates to report progress towards emission reduction targets. However, this use of certificates is unlikely to result in actual emission reductions, which undermines the credibility of corporate emission reduction claims and their alignment with the Paris Agreement goal.

    • Anders Bjørn
    • Shannon M. Lloyd
    • H. Damon Matthews
  • Changes to the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) will have substantial regional impacts but more remote effects are unclear. Here, model analysis shows that AMOC collapse causes excess heat to accumulate in the tropical south Atlantic Ocean, resulting in atmospheric changes globally.

    • Bryam Orihuela-Pinto
    • Matthew H. England
    • Andréa S. Taschetto
  • It is now possible to model the climate system at the kilometre scale, but more work and resources are needed to harvest the full potential of these models to resolve long-standing model biases and enable new applications of climate models.

  • Sharp fronts and eddies that are ubiquitous in the world ocean, as well as features such as shelf seas and under-ice-shelf cavities, are not captured in climate projections. Such small-scale processes can play a key role in how the large-scale ocean and cryosphere evolve under climate change, posing a challenge to climate models.

    • Helene Hewitt
    • Baylor Fox-Kemper
    • Daniel Klocke
  • Current global climate models struggle to represent precipitation and related extreme events, with serious implications for the physical evidence base to support climate actions. A leap to kilometre-scale models could overcome this shortcoming but requires collaboration on an unprecedented scale.

    • Julia Slingo
    • Paul Bates
    • Georg Teutsch
    • Jasper Franke
    Research Highlight

Tenth Anniversary

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Nature Climate Change, we invited experts to highlight exciting developments of the past decade, and talk to our past and present editors about some of the remarkable papers published in the journal.


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