Articles in 2020

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  • Global emissions could decrease 3.9–5.6% over 5 years due to COVID-19, and the interconnected economy means lockdown-related declines reach beyond borders. As countries look to stimulate their economies, how fiscal incentives are allocated and invested will determine longer-term emission changes.

    • Yuli Shan
    • Jiamin Ou
    • Klaus Hubacek
  • GHG mitigation is not likely to be detectable in global mean temperature before mid-century. However, a simple climate emulator and an Earth system model ensemble suggest that strong mitigation greatly decreases the likelihood of high rates of 20-year warming over the next two decades.

    • Christine M. McKenna
    • Amanda C. Maycock
    • Katarzyna B. Tokarska
  • Peatlands are impacted by climate and land-use changes, with feedback to warming by acting as either sources or sinks of carbon. Expert elicitation combined with literature review reveals key drivers of change that alter peatland carbon dynamics, with implications for improving models.

    • J. Loisel
    • A. V. Gallego-Sala
    • J. Wu
  • The strength of a positive Indian Ocean Dipole (pIOD) is set by sea surface temperature gradient across the equatorial Indian Ocean. Modelling shows warming will increase strong pIODs but decrease moderate pIODs, as faster surface warming in the west sets up conducive conditions for the strong events.

    • Wenju Cai
    • Kai Yang
    • Toshio Yamagata
  • The SSP–RCP scenario framework has been an important component of physical, social and integrated climate change research for the past decade. This Perspective reviews the successes of the framework and the challenges it faces, and provides suggestions for improvement moving forward.

    • Brian C. O’Neill
    • Timothy R. Carter
    • Ramon Pichs-Madruga
  • The past year has seen climate change manifest in wildfires, storms and flooding, in some cases simultaneous with outbreaks of the COVID-19 pandemic that restricted human activity and impacted global emissions. Despite these trials, other developments hint at the potential for positive steps in climate mitigation.

  • Body sizes have been declining in response to climate change, but an expected relationship between size and the hot temperatures organisms can tolerate has eluded detection. Now, research shows how body size and the duration of exposure to hot temperatures interact to determine the onset and consequences of thermal stress.

    • Lauren B. Buckley
    News & Views
  • Analysis of ectotherm thermal death curves in the context of both challenge intensity and duration shows that smaller animals exhibit higher tolerance to acute stress, but lower tolerance to chronic stress. The size-dependent impact provides one explanation for warming-related reductions in animal size.

    • Ignacio Peralta-Maraver
    • Enrico L. Rezende
  • The shift to data-driven urban climate governance alters accountability. This Review examines critically the drivers of the shift—standardization, transparency and capacity building—and how best to achieve equitable climate mitigation outcomes within this context.

    • Sara Hughes
    • Sarah Giest
    • Laura Tozer
    Review Article
  • Global trade and transport depend on the resilience of the ports sector. Multi-hazard operational risks are estimated for 2,013 ports under historical climate and future warming; of the marine and atmospheric hazards considered, coastal flooding, wave overtopping and heat stress increase risk most.

    • C. Izaguirre
    • I. J. Losada
    • V. Stenek
  • Despite a strong media presence and pledges from high-profile investors, the divestment movement has largely failed to mobilize financial markets in the war on carbon. Divestment 2.0 will require major tweaking to more effectively redirect the flow of capital and catalyse greater corporate climate action.

    • Felix Mormann
  • Hydrological modelling is combined with soil moisture estimates to quantify climate change impacts on inland Ramsar wetlands. Net global changes are estimated to be modest, but individual sites with area reductions over 10% are projected to increase 19–243% by 2100, depending on emissions scenario.

    • Yi Xi
    • Shushi Peng
    • Youhua Chen
  • The climate crisis highlights just how connected the world is. But understanding the changes cascading throughout the natural world calls for even greater connectivity: between countries, scientists and scientific disciplines.