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Volume 8 Issue 5, May 2018

Volume 8 Issue 5

Intensified drought and heatwaves

Rising temperatures and changing rainfall patterns lead to heat waves and droughts occurring with greater frequency and intensity. This issue includes a collection of original research documenting how droughts and heatwaves, as well as their impacts on both natural and human systems, may change with anthropogenic warming.

See Editorial

Image: Ken Welsh / Alamy Stock Photo. Cover Design: Tulsi Voralia.


  • Editorial |

    Drought and heatwaves are inextricably linked, and have devastating socio-economic and environmental impacts. This issue features a suite of articles outlining how these extreme events may increase in magnitude and frequency with anthropogenic warming, highlighting the increased need to mitigate and adapt to future conditions.



  • Comment |

    Ambition regarding climate change at the national level is critical but is often calibrated with the projected costs — as estimated by a small suite of energy–economic models. Weaknesses in several key areas in these models will continue to distort policy design unless collectively addressed by a diversity of researchers.

    • Alexander R. Barron

Books & Arts


  • Feature |

    Sometimes policymakers have backed the wrong technologies, lacked ambition or simply not engaged with potential emissions reductions. Sonja van Renssen explores climate policies that have not delivered and why.

    • Sonja van Renssen

Research Highlights

News & Views

  • News & Views |

    There is large geographic variation in the public's views about climate change in the United States. Research now shows that climate messages can influence public beliefs about the scientific consensus on climate change, particularly in the places that are initially more skeptical.

    • Christopher Warshaw
  • News & Views |

    For integrated climate change research, the Scenario Matrix Architecture provides a tractable menu of possible emissions trajectories, socio-economic futures and policy environments. However, the future of decision support may lie in searchable databases.

    • Vanessa Schweizer
  • News & Views |

    In the Paris Agreement, nations committed to a more ambitious climate policy target, aiming to limit global warming to 1.5 °C rather than 2 °C above pre-industrial levels. Climate models now show that achieving the 1.5 °C goal would make a big difference for Arctic sea ice.

    • James A. Screen
  • News & Views |

    Low soil moisture conditions can induce drought but also elevate temperatures. Detailed modelling of the drought–temperature link now shows that rising global temperature will bring drier soils and higher heatwave temperatures in Europe.

    • Adriaan J. Teuling
  • News & Views |

    The African continent is one of the most vulnerable regions to future climate change. Research now demonstrates that constraining anthropogenic warming to 1.5 °C instead of 2 °C will significantly lower the risk of heatwaves to inhabitants.

    • Andries C. Kruger
  • News & Views |

    Deforestation often increases land-surface and near-surface temperatures, but climate models struggle to simulate this effect. Research now shows that deforestation has increased the severity of extreme heat in temperate regions of North America and Europe. This points to opportunities to mitigate extreme heat.

    • Paul C. Stoy




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