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Snowmelt runoff represents an important source of water for many regions of the world. The amount and timing of snowmelt is impacted by climate change, with implications for water resource management. In this issue, a study by Qin et al. shows that basins in Asia, central Russia, the western US and southern Andes are particularly vulnerable to changes in snowmelt since they rely on this water for crop irrigation. A study by Livneh and Badger shows that shifts in mountain precipitation from snow to rain decreases the predictability of drought in the western USA.
Climate change is altering environmental niches, causing species to shift their habitat range as they track their ecological niche. These shifts allow species to persist but may disadvantage existing species in these areas; understanding the positives and negatives is needed to ensure effective management for biodiversity.
Policy makers debate whether responding to climate change can be complementary to economic growth. New research tracking competing economic ideas across the environmental debate shows that climate change is increasingly seen as an opportunity; however, many still argue that growth and climate action are in conflict.
Since 1980, European nations have made a tremendous effort to mitigate ozone pollution by reducing emissions, only to achieve limited success. Research now shows that vegetation stressed by heat and drought conditions has partly thwarted these actions.
Snow in the mountains provides a natural reservoir, storing water in the cold season for use later in the year. Now research demonstrates that reduced mountain snowpack due to rising temperatures makes drought harder to predict and jeopardizes irrigated agriculture throughout the world.
Antarctic krill play a key role in Southern Ocean food webs but are vulnerable to climate change, with habitat shifts predicted in response. Now, a study of climate change impacts on a krill-specialist predator — the crabeater seal — suggests that this abundant marine mammal may be forced southwards with its prey.
This Perspective maps the history of climate targets and shows how the international goal of avoiding dangerous climate change has been reinterpreted in the light of new modelling methods and technological promises, ultimately enabling policy prevarication and limiting mitigation.
Climate change will cause species to shift their ranges to persist. This Review uses invasion ecology theory to consider the impacts of shifting species and how to manage these shifts to protect the recipient communities as well as the survival of the shifters.
Phenological shifts due to climate change can desynchronize the timings of life history events between species, but predicting the consequences is challenging. Changes to current methodologies would allow testing of the widely used Cushing hypothesis and improve predictions of climate change impacts.
Natural decadal variability has a role in global mean surface temperature trends. Observational data and modelling show that since the mid-1980s, the tropical eastern Pacific variability and the cold ocean–warm land pattern have covaried to enhance acceleration and deceleration in warming trends.
Arctic lakes and their resident fish species are warming rapidly. Geospatial analysis of Canadian Arctic lakes predicts a 20% increase in lake trout productivity by 2050 and a 29% increase in harvestable biomass across an expanded range.
This analysis of global climate policy reports shows how economic ideas have shaped climate policy. The authors find a shift from neoclassical dominance to a more diversified discourse, which has expanded policy choices beyond market-based policies to include green innovation and industrial policy.
Concrete production emits high levels of GHGs. It also causes air pollution, with emissions of particulate matter as well as nitrogen and sulfur oxides, which together with GHG emissions cause climate and health damages nearing 75% of the industry value.
Despite strict controls on precursor emissions, ozone air pollution has not decreased over Europe in recent decades. This is largely attributed to water-stressed vegetation; during heatwaves and drought, plants are less effective at ozone removal via stomata, worsening peak ozone pollution episodes.
Climate warming causes less mountain precipitation to fall as snow. Hydrologic simulations predict that in a high-end emissions scenario, this decreases the predictability of seasonal water resources across the western United States, with low-elevation coastal areas impacted most strongly.
Snowmelt runoff is an important source of water for irrigating agricultural crops in high-mountain Asia, Central Asia, western Russia, western US and the southern Andes. Climate change places water resources in these basins at risk, indicating the need to adapt water management.
Under rising CO2, most plants constrict their stomata, lose less water via transpiration and photosynthesize more efficiently. A global dataset of tree-ring isotope measurements reveals a slowdown in water-use efficiency gains over the twentieth century, with marked spatiotemporal variability.
Crabeater seals feed predominantly on Antarctic krill. Combining seal tracks and diving behaviour with environmental variables allows the future foraging habitat, and therefore krill distribution, to be predicted, suggesting a shift offshore and south along the western Antarctic Peninsula.