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Cement production is a source of CO2. Analysis of carbonation, a process that sequesters CO2 during the lifetime of cement, suggests that between 1930 and 2013, it has offset 43% of CO2 emissions from cement production globally.
A lot of methane is emitted from oxygenated seawater, where its production should be inhibited. Seawater incubations and organic matter characterizations reveal that bacteria aerobically produce methane from phosphonates in organic matter.
Organic matter represents a large pool of carbon in the ocean. Radiocarbon and chemical analyses suggest that larger particles are preferentially remineralized in the Pacific Ocean, with smaller particles and molecules persisting longer.
Ozone is an air pollutant and a greenhouse gas. Simulations with a global chemistry transport model reveal that the spatial distribution of ozone precursor emissions dominates the global ozone burden, and that emissions in the tropics matter most.
Cloud feedbacks strongly influence the magnitude of global warming. Climate model simulations show that these feedbacks vary strongly as the spatial patterns of sea surface temperatures change over time.
The late Palaeozoic was marked by a series of glacial–interglacial cycles. Geochemical and fossil data suggest a role for terrestrial vegetation–carbon cycle feedbacks in the climate response to orbital forcing.
The North Atlantic Oscillation profoundly influences European and North American winter weather. Dynamical model predictions now exhibit skill in prediction of the winter North Atlantic Oscillation more than one year in advance.
Links between subduction zone earthquakes and slow slip on the plate interface are unclear. Reconstructions of a slow slip event in the Guerrero subduction zone segment, in Mexico, suggest that the event triggered the 2014 Papanoa earthquake.
Upward fluxes have been thought to dominate nutrient replenishment at the ocean surface. A numerical model reveals that lateral transfer is an important source of phosphorus and nitrogen for all five subtropical gyres.
Gender disparities in science are well documented. An analysis of 1,224 recommendation letters from 54 countries for geoscience postdoctoral fellowships reveals that women are half as likely to receive an excellent letter as men.
The planet Mercury has contracted over its history. The identification of small thrust fault scarps suggests the occurrence of tectonic activity on Mercury within the past 50 million years and thus a slow-cooling planetary interior.
Life at ocean depths below ∼100 m requires organic carbon from the upper ocean. Analyses of satellite and Argo-float data reveal that seasonal changes in mixed-layer depth supply substantial amounts of carbon to this deep and dark ecosystem.
Little is known about the character of the Hadean crust. Geochemical analyses of the 4-billion-year-old Acasta Gneiss from Canada suggest Earth’s earliest crust formed from a mafic reservoir, similar to the formation of oceanic crust today.
The Earth’s outermost core is thought to be stratified. Turbulent mixing experiments suggest that merging between the cores of projectile and planet following the Moon-forming giant impact could have produced the stratification.
Tidal triggering of earthquakes is debated. Analysis of global earthquake catalogue data compared with tidal stress histories suggests that the probability of a large earthquake is greater during times of maximum tidal stress amplitude.
Aquatic CO2 emissions are expected to increase if warming reduces photosynthesis relative to respiration. An analysis of streams across a 41 °C temperature gradient reveals that the thermal responses of respiration and photosynthesis are similar.
The internal dynamics of pyroclastic density currents are not easily observed. Experiments reveal how the underflow and turbulent ash-cloud regimes within pyroclastic flows are dynamically coupled through a zone of intermediate turbulence.
Landfalling typhoons can cause great damage in East and Southeast Asian countries. An analysis of bias-corrected data sets reveals that the proportion of the strongest landfalling typhoons has at least doubled over the past decades.
The carbon abundance in the Earth’s mantle is enhanced relative to sulfur. Experiments suggest that the accretion of a differentiated planetary body to the growing Earth could explain the silicate Earth’s carbon and sulfur budgets.
The composition of subduction zone lavas varies systematically. Numerical simulations and geochemical analysis of lavas from the Chilean Southern Volcanic Zone suggest that the thermal structure of the mantle wedge controls lava composition.
Increasing groundwater abstraction in the Indo-Gangetic Basin poses a threat to groundwater supplies. In situ observations reveal that sustainable groundwater in much of the region is limited more by contamination than depletion.
Convective precipitation may change in a changing climate. Large eddy simulations of convection with a realistic diurnal cycle suggest that interactions between convective systems and precipitation extremes are influenced by temperature.
Atmospheric CO2 concentrations rose during the last deglaciation, but the carbon sources are unclear. Climate and carbon cycle simulations suggest that permafrost melting was the main source of carbon between 17,500 and 15,000 years ago.
Warming thaws permafrost, releasing carbon that can cause more warming. Radiocarbon, soil carbon, and remote sensing data suggest that 0.2–2.5 Pg of carbon has been emitted from permafrost as CO2 and CH4 around Arctic lakes since the 1950s.
Biomass turnover time is a key parameter in the global carbon cycle. An analysis of global land-use data reveals that biomass turnover is almost twice as fast when the land is used to enhance terrestrial ecosystem services.
Most oceanic crust is subducted back into Earth’s mantle within 200 million years of formation. Analysis of magnetic data from the eastern Mediterranean reveals oceanic crust formed up to 340 million years ago, as part of an ancient ocean basin.
The Moon has a tenuous exosphere and dust-sized particles have been detected. Analysis of spectral observations by the LADEE spacecraft suggests that the Moon also has a spatially and temporally variable exosphere of nanodust particles.
Rivers transport terrestrial organic carbon. Ancient molecular markers of methanogens and radiocarbon data from offshore sediments suggest that much of this carbon in the Congo River is aged, and that hydrology controls the amount transported.
Whether fast and slow earthquakes nucleate in the same way is unclear. Laboratory simulations of fast and slow slip reveal similar precursor seismic signals for both modes, suggesting the same physical mechanisms may govern both types of slip.
Land carbon uptake reduced atmospheric CO2 levels during the Little Ice Age. Numerical simulations of atmospheric carbonyl sulfide levels and ice-core carbon isotope data reveal that temperature change, not land-cover change, was responsible.
Global mean surface temperature change over the past 120 years resembles a rising staircase. Simulations with a coupled ocean–atmosphere model reveal that the tropical Pacific Ocean is the pacemaker of variable warming rates.
Sea surface temperature estimates from the early Eocene indicate an unusually flat meridional temperature gradient. A re-evaluation of the proxy used to derive these temperatures argues against this interpretation.
Laurentide ice-sheet retreat continued into the mid-Holocene. Speleothem-based precipitation records suggest the cessation of melt led to the establishment of the present precipitation patterns associated with the North Atlantic Oscillation.
It is unclear whether subduction is still active beneath the Indo-Burman mountain range. Analyses of GPS measurements from this region reveal a locked megathrust fault, implying that subduction is active and could generate a large earthquake.
Summer rainfall is projected to decline in the European Alps. Regional high-resolution simulations suggest that at the highest elevations, precipitation may instead increase as a result of enhanced potential instability and convective rainfall.
Earth’s crust diverges and extends along mid-ocean ridges. Analyses of gravity and seismic data from the equatorial Atlantic show that propagation of ridge segments can compress the crust and create sufficient uplift to create small islands.
Mars has two small moons that may have formed in the aftermath of a giant impact. Simulations suggest that Phobos and Deimos accreted from the disperse outer region of the debris disc that was stirred up by short-lived larger moons.
Antarctic sea-ice extent has been increasing. Analyses of climate simulations and observations show that atmospheric conditions conducive to Antarctic sea-ice expansion were favoured by the negative phase of the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation.
Sea-ice formation is a key factor in the lower branch of the Southern Ocean overturning circulation. Observation-based data in conjunction with a water-mass transformation framework reveal that sea ice plays a central role in the upper branch too.
The North Atlantic Oscillation has varied markedly on multidecadal timescales. Analyses of climate simulations show that these variations have contributed to Arctic sea ice loss, Northern Hemisphere warming and tropical storm activity.
Vertical crustal motions during the earthquake cycle are poorly constrained for strike–slip faults. Analysis of GPS data from the San Andreas Fault shows that the crust flexes over hundreds of kilometres due to locking of the fault at depth.
Freshwater release from melting polar ice could weaken the Atlantic overturning circulation. Eddy-resolving ocean simulations reveal that the freshening has not yet significantly affected meridional overturning, but an effect may emerge soon.
Great Himalayan earthquakes are rare. Analysis of surface motions in the months after the 2015 Gorkha earthquake reveals negligible aseismic slip, implying that stress may be stored in the crust to be tapped during future great earthquakes.
Atmospheric non-methane hydrocarbon concentrations began declining in the 1970s. Surface and column measurements show that Northern Hemisphere ethane concentrations are now rising, probably due to North American oil and natural gas emissions.
The mid-1990s’ warming of the North Atlantic subpolar gyre was probably related to strengthened overturning. Observations and numerical models suggest that a climate reversal to a cooling trend occurred around 2005.
Eastern boundary coastal upwelling systems are locations of high ocean productivity. Numerical simulations reveal that wind alters current- and eddy-driven nutrient supply, which affects net primary productivity in the California Current system.
Sulfur dioxide is a key air contaminant. A satellite-based emissions inventory reveals a number of hitherto unknown sources, with a cluster around the Persian Gulf, and identifies large discrepancies with conventional inventories in some regions.
The Atlantic meridional overturning circulation has weakened over the past decade. Examination of a global reanalysis that matches independent observations shows that the decline is consistent with recovery from an earlier invigoration.
An energetic process is needed to convert N2 into compounds essential for life. Simulations show that interactions between powerful solar flares and Earth’s magnetic field could have facilitated nitrogen fixation in the early atmosphere.
Organic carbon decays as it travels through inland waters from soils to the sea. Analysis of data from across the continuum of inland and marine aquatic systems reveals that the rate of organic carbon decay depends on water retention time.