Letters

  • Letter |

    Island species are at risk as the climate changes. Island conifers are used as a model species and a combination of native and non-native occurrence data allows identification of realized, tolerable and fundamental niches; linking to island size provides an estimate of extinction risk.

    • Kyle C. Rosenblad
    • , Daniel L. Perret
    •  & Dov F. Sax
  • Letter |

    Physically connected habitats are required for terrestrial species to shift their liveable ranges as the tropics warm. The authors show that over half of tropical forest area is currently unable to provide such climate connectivity, and that loss of connectivity is accelerating with deforestation.

    • Rebecca A. Senior
    • , Jane K. Hill
    •  & David P. Edwards
  • Letter |

    Mass summertime fish die-offs across 359 Wisconsin lakes are attributed to high lake temperatures during periods of extreme heat, while infectious disease and winter conditions are shown to be poor predictors. Die-offs are projected to double by 2050 and quadruple by 2100 in north temperate lakes.

    • Aaron Till
    • , Andrew L. Rypel
    • , Andrew Bray
    •  & Samuel B. Fey
  • Letter |

    Bird numbers are declining globally, with sharp decreases in alpine and Arctic regions. Increases in primary productivity in the Arctic (known as greening) are linked to increased nest predation, highlighting how changing climate conditions can affect food web dynamics.

    • Rolf A. Ims
    • , John-Andre Henden
    • , Marita A. Strømeng
    • , Anders V. Thingnes
    • , Mari J. Garmo
    •  & Jane U. Jepsen
  • Letter |

    Observations of feeding interactions show that warming simplifies the structure of food webs in stream ecosystems. Simulations show that consumer diversity and changes in abundance drive this simplification and can reduce ecosystem stability.

    • Eoin J. O’Gorman
    • , Owen L. Petchey
    • , Katy J. Faulkner
    • , Bruno Gallo
    • , Timothy A. C. Gordon
    • , Joana Neto-Cerejeira
    • , Jón S. Ólafsson
    • , Doris E. Pichler
    • , Murray S. A. Thompson
    •  & Guy Woodward
  • Letter |

    This study uses spatially explicit simulations of a simple coral reef ecosystem to show that evolutionary responses to shifting environmental conditions fundamentally change effective conservation management strategies.

    • Timothy E. Walsworth
    • , Daniel E. Schindler
    • , Madhavi A. Colton
    • , Michael S. Webster
    • , Stephen R. Palumbi
    • , Peter J. Mumby
    • , Timothy E. Essington
    •  & Malin L. Pinsky
  • Letter |

    The length of the dry season over tropical forests is a determining factor of ecosystem health and drought risk. Hydroclimate and vegetation data show that dry season length has increased over the Congo rainforest since the 1980s, owing to both an earlier dry season onset and a delayed end.

    • Yan Jiang
    • , Liming Zhou
    • , Compton J. Tucker
    • , Ajay Raghavendra
    • , Wenjian Hua
    • , Yi Y. Liu
    •  & Joanna Joiner
  • Letter |

    To limit warming, a rapid reduction in coal use is needed. Early retirement of coal power plants by members of the Powering Past Coal Alliance, which includes mainly wealthy countries that use little coal, would have a modest climate impact. Prospects for expanding the Alliance are examined.

    • Jessica Jewell
    • , Vadim Vinichenko
    • , Lola Nacke
    •  & Aleh Cherp
  • Letter |

    Observations of the tropical Pacific exhibit an increasing zonal sea surface temperature gradient, while climate models predict the opposite. This study shows that an increased gradient is consistent with greenhouse gas warming, and that climate model discrepancies arise from cold tongue biases.

    • Richard Seager
    • , Mark Cane
    • , Naomi Henderson
    • , Dong-Eun Lee
    • , Ryan Abernathey
    •  & Honghai Zhang
  • Letter |

    Greenland Ice Sheet melt is contributing to sea-level rise; however, uncertainties exist about its future contributions. A regional climate model shows that clouds are the primary cause of this uncertainty, with melt varying significantly depending on the cloud water phase and atmospheric circulation.

    • Stefan Hofer
    • , Andrew J. Tedstone
    • , Xavier Fettweis
    •  & Jonathan L. Bamber
  • Letter |

    Climate change is causing temperature records to be broken around the world with increased frequency. Under a business-as-usual scenario new records will be set every year for 58% of the world, whilst under heavy mitigation (RCP2.6) this would occur for 14% of the world.

    • Scott B. Power
    •  & François P. D. Delage
  • Letter |

    Climate change is projected to directly impact fishing communities through changes to habitat for marine species. A socio-ecological approach is developed to assess fishing community exposure to climate change risk and applied to New England and Mid-Atlantic (USA) fishing communities.

    • Lauren A. Rogers
    • , Robert Griffin
    • , Talia Young
    • , Emma Fuller
    • , Kevin St. Martin
    •  & Malin L. Pinsky
  • Letter |

    There is a growing need to find cost-effective options for greenhouse gas abatement. In this study, spatially disaggregated marginal abatement cost curves are developed to facilitate economic appraisal of tropical reforestation.

    • Jonah Busch
    • , Jens Engelmann
    • , Susan C. Cook-Patton
    • , Bronson W. Griscom
    • , Timm Kroeger
    • , Hugh Possingham
    •  & Priya Shyamsundar
  • Letter |

    Public concern about climate change is difficult to motivate. This study finds an increase in climate change concern among parents after their middle school-aged children participated in a climate change school curriculum.

    • Danielle F. Lawson
    • , Kathryn T. Stevenson
    • , M. Nils Peterson
    • , Sarah J. Carrier
    • , Renee L. Strnad
    •  & Erin Seekamp
  • Letter |

    The frequency of extreme weather events is increasing due to climate change. Here, the authors exploit regional variation in the UK summer heatwave of 2018 and find that exposure to extreme temperatures influenced concern about energy security.

    • Shaun Larcom
    • , Po-Wen She
    •  & Terry van Gevelt
  • Letter |

    Fifty years of monthly observation of rainforest canopy trees in the Central Amazon reveals that drought, heat, storms and extreme rain can all increase tree mortality. Pioneers, softwoods and evergreen functional groups were particularly vulnerable.

    • Izabela Aleixo
    • , Darren Norris
    • , Lia Hemerik
    • , Antenor Barbosa
    • , Eduardo Prata
    • , Flávia Costa
    •  & Lourens Poorter
  • Letter |

    The life-cycle GHG emissions from plastics are expected to increase. Here, it is shown that an aggressive strategy of decarbonizing energy infrastructure, improving recycling, adopting bio-based plastics and reducing demand is required to keep emissions below 2015 levels.

    • Jiajia Zheng
    •  & Sangwon Suh
  • Letter |

    Melting glaciers are increasing Himalayan glacial lakes and potentially the risk of outburst floods. An advanced automated algorithm identifies glacial lake outburst floods from Landsat images since the late 1980s to improve understanding of these events and trends in their frequency.

    • Georg Veh
    • , Oliver Korup
    • , Sebastian von Specht
    • , Sigrid Roessner
    •  & Ariane Walz
  • Letter |

    High-resolution coupled climate model simulations suggest only 0.4% of the land surface will see exacerbated hydrological risks under solar geoengineering that halves warming, indicating that geoengineering-related risks may be overstated.

    • Peter Irvine
    • , Kerry Emanuel
    • , Jie He
    • , Larry W. Horowitz
    • , Gabriel Vecchi
    •  & David Keith
  • Letter |

    The aragonite saturation horizon depth is an indicator of ocean acidification. Model projections show that a new shallow horizon emerges in the Southern Ocean before 2100, reducing suitable habitat for calcifying species in the near future.

    • Gabriela Negrete-García
    • , Nicole S. Lovenduski
    • , Claudine Hauri
    • , Kristen M. Krumhardt
    •  & Siv K. Lauvset
  • Letter |

    Uncertainties are often cited as a reason for mitigation inaction. Here, millions of scenarios are evaluated to assess the relative importance of human–earth system uncertainties and policy variables. The growth rate of global abatement is found to be the primary driver of long-term warming.

    • J. R. Lamontagne
    • , P. M. Reed
    • , G. Marangoni
    • , K. Keller
    •  & G. G. Garner
  • Letter |

    Marine heatwaves are increasing in frequency, but they vary in their manifestation. All events impact ecosystem structure and functioning, with increased risk of negative impacts linked to greater biodiversity, number of species near their thermal limit and additional human impacts.

    • Dan A. Smale
    • , Thomas Wernberg
    • , Eric C. J. Oliver
    • , Mads Thomsen
    • , Ben P. Harvey
    • , Sandra C. Straub
    • , Michael T. Burrows
    • , Lisa V. Alexander
    • , Jessica A. Benthuysen
    • , Markus G. Donat
    • , Ming Feng
    • , Alistair J. Hobday
    • , Neil J. Holbrook
    • , Sarah E. Perkins-Kirkpatrick
    • , Hillary A. Scannell
    • , Alex Sen Gupta
    • , Ben L. Payne
    •  & Pippa J. Moore
  • Letter |

    China dominates the global growth in aquaculture food production, primarily through massive conversion of paddy fields to crab ponds. This land conversion is greatly increasing methane emissions but these can be significantly reduced by water aeration.

    • Junji Yuan
    • , Jian Xiang
    • , Deyan Liu
    • , Hojeong Kang
    • , Tiehu He
    • , Sunghyun Kim
    • , Yongxin Lin
    • , Chris Freeman
    •  & Weixin Ding
  • Letter |

    Aviation’s contribution to global emissions is increasing and requires action. This paper shows that the International Civil Aviation Organization plan to offset increasing emissions will not be realized unless robust criteria for the eligibility of offset credits are adopted.

    • Carsten Warnecke
    • , Lambert Schneider
    • , Thomas Day
    • , Stephanie La Hoz Theuer
    •  & Harry Fearnehough
  • Letter |

    Between 2005 and 2015, several developed economies experienced decreases in CO2 emissions. In this study, emissions in 18 countries are broken down and the potential effects of energy and climate policies on emission declines are explored.

    • Corinne Le Quéré
    • , Jan Ivar Korsbakken
    • , Charlie Wilson
    • , Jale Tosun
    • , Robbie Andrew
    • , Robert J. Andres
    • , Josep G. Canadell
    • , Andrew Jordan
    • , Glen P. Peters
    •  & Detlef P. van Vuuren
  • Letter |

    Abrupt community shifts, for marine species from zooplankton to fish, are shown to occur with local climate changes in which warming pushes species beyond their thermal niche. This modelling approach suggests future events will be larger and have more broad-reaching impacts.

    • G. Beaugrand
    • , A. Conversi
    • , A. Atkinson
    • , J. Cloern
    • , S. Chiba
    • , S. Fonda-Umani
    • , R. R. Kirby
    • , C. H. Greene
    • , E. Goberville
    • , S. A. Otto
    • , P. C. Reid
    • , L. Stemmann
    •  & M. Edwards
  • Letter |

    Crop models suggest that early sowing and slower-developing cultivars could maintain Australian wheat yields despite less-favourable climatic conditions. Field trials now confirm the potential of this adaptation for wheat production across Australia.

    • James R. Hunt
    • , Julianne M. Lilley
    • , Ben Trevaskis
    • , Bonnie M. Flohr
    • , Allan Peake
    • , Andrew Fletcher
    • , Alexander B. Zwart
    • , David Gobbett
    •  & John A. Kirkegaard
  • Letter |

    Warming is altering subtropical precipitation; however, it is not clear whether this will continue in an equilibrium climate. Using projections to 2300, Southern Hemisphere drying is shown to be a transient response to the meridional temperature gradient changes.

    • J. M. Kale Sniderman
    • , Josephine R. Brown
    • , Jon D. Woodhead
    • , Andrew D. King
    • , Nathan P. Gillett
    • , Katarzyna B. Tokarska
    • , Katja Lorbacher
    • , John Hellstrom
    • , Russell N. Drysdale
    •  & Malte Meinshausen
  • Letter |

    Greater land–sea temperature contrast under anthropogenic warming will enhance aerosol concentrations, reveal model simulations, linked to reductions in large-scale cloud cover and corresponding decreases in precipitation and aerosol wet removal.

    • Robert J. Allen
    • , Taufiq Hassan
    • , Cynthia A. Randles
    •  & Hui Su
  • Letter |

    Up to 35,000 lakes in the Northern Hemisphere may be at risk of intermittent winter ice cover at 2 °C warming, reveals an observation-based study. This would affect 394 million people reliant on lake ice for ecosystem services.

    • Sapna Sharma
    • , Kevin Blagrave
    • , John J. Magnuson
    • , Catherine M. O’Reilly
    • , Samantha Oliver
    • , Ryan D. Batt
    • , Madeline R. Magee
    • , Dietmar Straile
    • , Gesa A. Weyhenmeyer
    • , Luke Winslow
    •  & R. Iestyn Woolway
  • Letter |

    As the southwest Atlantic sector of the Southern Ocean has warmed, the distribution of a key species, Antarctic krill, has contracted southwards. This has occurred in tandem with a decline in recruitment of juveniles, linked to increasingly positive anomalies of the Southern Annular Mode.

    • Angus Atkinson
    • , Simeon L. Hill
    • , Evgeny A. Pakhomov
    • , Volker Siegel
    • , Christian S. Reiss
    • , Valerie J. Loeb
    • , Deborah K. Steinberg
    • , Katrin Schmidt
    • , Geraint A. Tarling
    • , Laura Gerrish
    •  & Sévrine F. Sailley
  • Letter |

    Groundwater model results and hydrologic data sets reveal that half of global groundwater fluxes may equilibrate with climate-driven recharge variations on human timescales, indicating that hydraulic memory may buffer climatic change impacts.

    • M. O. Cuthbert
    • , T. Gleeson
    • , N. Moosdorf
    • , K. M. Befus
    • , A. Schneider
    • , J. Hartmann
    •  & B. Lehner
  • Letter |

    Synthetic aperture radar interferometry reveals that 19 Gt of ice is lost per year from glaciers in South America — mostly from Patagonia — contributing 0.04 mm annually to global sea-level rise.

    • Matthias H. Braun
    • , Philipp Malz
    • , Christian Sommer
    • , David Farías-Barahona
    • , Tobias Sauter
    • , Gino Casassa
    • , Alvaro Soruco
    • , Pedro Skvarca
    •  & Thorsten C. Seehaus
  • Letter |

    Bluetongue risk to livestock across northern Europe is projected to extend further north, with a longer transmission season and larger outbreaks on average. As a result, disease detection and control measures will be increasingly important.

    • Anne E. Jones
    • , Joanne Turner
    • , Cyril Caminade
    • , Andrew E. Heath
    • , Maya Wardeh
    • , Georgette Kluiters
    • , Peter J. Diggle
    • , Andrew P. Morse
    •  & Matthew Baylis
  • Letter |

    The connections between Arctic sea-ice loss and severe Eurasian winters are complicated by differences among studies. Correcting model underestimates reveals that 44% of the central Eurasian cooling trend is attributable to sea-ice loss in the Barents–Kara Seas.

    • Masato Mori
    • , Yu Kosaka
    • , Masahiro Watanabe
    • , Hisashi Nakamura
    •  & Masahide Kimoto
  • Letter |

    This paper introduces a modification to the Penman–Monteith equation—for net evapotranspiration—to account for vegetation under elevated atmospheric CO2. In so doing it reconciles contradictions between drought indices and modelled runoff projections.

    • Yuting Yang
    • , Michael L. Roderick
    • , Shulei Zhang
    • , Tim R. McVicar
    •  & Randall J. Donohue
  • Letter |

    The increasing frequency of marine heatwaves suggests that the impacts of successive events may be influenced by previous events. The extent of the 2016 and 2017 bleaching events on the Great Barrier Reef shows that ecological memory played a role in the impacts of the second heatwave.

    • Terry P. Hughes
    • , James T. Kerry
    • , Sean R. Connolly
    • , Andrew H. Baird
    • , C. Mark Eakin
    • , Scott F. Heron
    • , Andrew S. Hoey
    • , Mia O. Hoogenboom
    • , Mizue Jacobson
    • , Gang Liu
    • , Morgan S. Pratchett
    • , William Skirving
    •  & Gergely Torda
  • Letter |

    Rising pre-season daytime and night-time temperatures have contrasting effects on the timing of autumn-leaf senescence date in the Northern Hemisphere. Diurnal differences in drought stress may be the underlying mechanism.

    • Chaoyang Wu
    • , Xiaoyue Wang
    • , Huanjiong Wang
    • , Philippe Ciais
    • , Josep Peñuelas
    • , Ranga B. Myneni
    • , Ankur R. Desai
    • , Christopher M. Gough
    • , Alemu Gonsamo
    • , Andrew T. Black
    • , Rachhpal S. Jassal
    • , Weimin Ju
    • , Wenping Yuan
    • , Yongshuo Fu
    • , Miaogen Shen
    • , Shihua Li
    • , Ronggao Liu
    • , Jing M. Chen
    •  & Quansheng Ge
  • Letter |

    A global experiment using model caterpillars shows that climate explains patterns of predation better than latitude or elevation alone. Predation pressure is found to be greater under higher temperatures and more stable climatic conditions.

    • Gustavo Q. Romero
    • , Thiago Gonçalves-Souza
    • , Pavel Kratina
    • , Nicholas A. C. Marino
    • , William K. Petry
    • , Thadeu Sobral-Souza
    •  & Tomas Roslin
  • Letter |

    Model simulations with CO2 forcing prescribed in discrete geographical regions reveal that polar amplification arises primarily due to local lapse-rate feedback, with ice-albedo and Planck feedbacks playing subsidiary roles.

    • Malte F. Stuecker
    • , Cecilia M. Bitz
    • , Kyle C. Armour
    • , Cristian Proistosescu
    • , Sarah M. Kang
    • , Shang-Ping Xie
    • , Doyeon Kim
    • , Shayne McGregor
    • , Wenjun Zhang
    • , Sen Zhao
    • , Wenju Cai
    • , Yue Dong
    •  & Fei-Fei Jin
  • Letter |

    Ocean acidification will result in biological winners and losers. A mesocosm experiment shows that a toxic algal species is a winner under ocean acidification, with implications for the marine food web and, more generally, ecosystem services.

    • Ulf Riebesell
    • , Nicole Aberle-Malzahn
    • , Eric P. Achterberg
    • , María Algueró-Muñiz
    • , Santiago Alvarez-Fernandez
    • , Javier Arístegui
    • , Lennart T. Bach
    • , Maarten Boersma
    • , Tim Boxhammer
    • , Wanchun Guan
    • , Mathias Haunost
    • , Henriette G. Horn
    • , Carolin R. Löscher
    • , Andrea Ludwig
    • , Carsten Spisla
    • , Michael Sswat
    • , Paul Stange
    •  & Jan Taucher
  • Letter |

    Corporations are an important source of GHG emissions and an important climate-mitigation actor. An assessment of corporate climate action and systematic benchmarking against international targets is conducted for 138 companies in high-emitting sectors.

    • Simon Dietz
    • , Charles Fruitiere
    • , Carlota Garcia-Manas
    • , William Irwin
    • , Bruno Rauis
    •  & Rory Sullivan
  • Letter |

    Climate and land-cover change can affect the summer and winter ranges and migration distances of migratory birds. Accounting for all of these factors, rather than just summer range as is typical, significantly increases the number of species under threat.

    • Damaris Zurell
    • , Catherine H. Graham
    • , Laure Gallien
    • , Wilfried Thuiller
    •  & Niklaus E. Zimmermann