Reviews & Analysis

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  • Modelling indicates that a return to fully normal marine conditions in the Mediterranean following the flooding that ended the Messinian Salinity Crisis was delayed by salt transfers and temporarily enhanced stratification.

    • Angelo Camerlenghi
    News & Views
  • Sea level rise causes barrier islands to migrate landward. Coastal evolution modelling reveals a centennial-scale lag in island response time and suggests migration rates will increase by 50% within the next century, even if sea level were to stabilize.

    • Laura J. Moore
    • A. Brad Murray
    News & Views
  • Analyses of the 2014 Iceland–Holuhraun volcanic eruption revealed the emitted aerosols induced a 10% increase in cloud coverage above the region, suggesting anthropogenic aerosols might strongly cool the Earth’s climate by increasing the cloud coverage.

    • Velle Toll
    News & Views
  • Water that has been carried deep into the Earth by oceanic plates in subduction zones, can influence earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Three-dimensional images of electrical resistivity derived from electromagnetic geophysical data provide new constraints on the distribution, transport, and storage of water in the Cascadia subduction zone.

    Research Briefing
  • Shrubs act as thermal bridges to conduct heat through the tundra snowpack, fostering heat loss from the ground in winter and heat gain in the spring.

    • Michael M. Loranty
    News & Views
  • For decades, ozone pollution mitigation efforts relied on two chemical regimes. A global modelling analysis has revealed a third regime involving aerosols that would help with the concurrent control of both ozone and particulate pollution.

    • Audrey Gaudel
    News & Views
  • The bulk crustal porosity of the lunar highland may have been generated early in the Moon’s history by basin-forming impacts and then declined exponentially. A new porosity evolution model constrains the timing and sequence of basin formation.

    • Zhiyong Xiao
    News & Views
  • Ozone depletion is not only a serious health threat but can also affect the climate. Atmospheric chemistry models reveal that springtime Arctic ozone depletion can have major consequences for the seasonal climate in the Northern Hemisphere, including warming over Eurasia and drying across central Europe.

    Research Briefing
  • Monitoring of the daily global CO2 emissions in 2020 reveals the spatial–temporal pattern of the drop in emissions due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The daily CO2 emission changes also reveal different patterns of human activities and fossil CO2 emissions across countries, sectors and periods.

    Research Briefing
  • Unrest episodes observed in basaltic systems indicate magma influx rates may be key to generating long-term eruption forecasts. The findings predict that, if a critical flow rate is surpassed, a volcano will erupt within a year.

    • Tushar Mittal
    News & Views
  • In a simulation with a state-of-the-art climate model, obstruction of the ocean gateways in the Canadian archipelago due to ice-sheet growth reroutes currents and alters North Atlantic Ocean conditions, permitting glacial inception in Scandinavia. This mechanism could help to explain periods of rapid ice-sheet growth in Earth’s history.

    Research Briefing
  • The surface of the asteroid Bennu is so weakly bonded that rockslide avalanches are easily triggered by small body impacts, and boulders fractured due to diurnal heating and cooling are readily dislodged. The result is a surface under continuous renewal.

    • Masahiko Arakawa
    News & Views
  • This study shows that by stabilizing the soil, biological soil crusts reduce global atmospheric dust emissions by 60%, corresponding to ~700 Tg of dust per year. According to models of biocrust cover loss, this effect will be reduced in the future, leading to increases in not only dust emissions but also global radiative cooling.

    Research Briefing
  • Tree restoration is a popular approach to mitigating climate change, but its hydrological impacts are often overlooked. Tree restoration increases evaporation, as well as increasing downwind precipitation due to enhanced moisture recycling. Our study shows that these combined effects can affect regions’ wetness or dryness, streamflow and water availability.

    Research Briefing
  • Flood basalts are connected to Earth’s most extreme environmental crises, yet warming is sometimes observed before surface eruptions. Modelling reveals that a complex buildup of basalt intrusions into the crust releases enough CO2 to cause this pre-eruptive warming.

    • Jennifer Kasbohm
    News & Views
  • A synthesis of recent work on marine carbon export fluxes finds that many processes that are key to understanding the effects of a warming climate on ocean carbon cycling are missing from current climate models.

    • Stephanie A. Henson
    • Charlotte Laufkötter
    • Emma L. Cavan
    Perspective