Climate change

Definition

Climate change refers to a statistically defined change in the average and/or variability of the climate system, this includes the atmosphere, the water cycle, the land surface, ice and the living components of Earth. The definition does not usually require the causes of change to be attributed, for example to human activity, but there are exceptions.

Featured

Latest Research and Reviews

  • Research | | open

    Cool roofs have been shown to mitigate heat in urban areas, but their impact on water conservation has not been examined. Here the authors conduct simulations with an urban canopy model to show that implementation of cool roofs in California can also reduce outdoor water consumption by up to 9%.

    • Pouya Vahmani
    •  & Andrew D. Jones
  • Research | | open

    Land use and land cover change has led to more frequent hot, dry summers in parts of the mid-latitudes. Here the authors use an Earth system model to show that regions converted to crops and pastures experience hot, dry summers 2 to 4 times more frequently than they would if native forests had remained.

    • Kirsten L. Findell
    • , Alexis Berg
    • , Pierre Gentine
    • , John P. Krasting
    • , Benjamin R. Lintner
    • , Sergey Malyshev
    • , Joseph A. Santanello Jr.
    •  & Elena Shevliakova
  • Research | | open

    The impacts of carbon capture and storage (CCS) on subsurface microorganisms are poorly understood. Here, the authors show that deep ecosystems respond quickly to CO2 injections and that the environmental consequences of their metabolic activities need to be properly assessed for sustainable CCS in basalt.

    • Rosalia Trias
    • , Bénédicte Ménez
    • , Paul le Campion
    • , Yvan Zivanovic
    • , Léna Lecourt
    • , Aurélien Lecoeuvre
    • , Philippe Schmitt-Kopplin
    • , Jenny Uhl
    • , Sigurður R. Gislason
    • , Helgi A. Alfreðsson
    • , Kiflom G. Mesfin
    • , Sandra Ó. Snæbjörnsdóttir
    • , Edda S. Aradóttir
    • , Ingvi Gunnarsson
    • , Juerg M. Matter
    • , Martin Stute
    • , Eric H. Oelkers
    •  & Emmanuelle Gérard
  • Research | | open

    Debate exists on the sign of change in tropical atmospheric circulation during global warming. Here the authors show a weaker Walker cell over the Indian Ocean during the warmer late Holocene compared to the globally colder Last Glacial Maximum, implying a further slowdown of the Walker cell in response to warming.

    • Mahyar Mohtadi
    • , Matthias Prange
    • , Enno Schefuß
    •  & Tim C. Jennerjahn

News and Comment

  • News and Views |

    Satellite measurements indicate that Greenland's meltwater rivers are exporting one billion tons of sediment annually, a process that is controlled by the sliding rate of glaciers. This rate is nearly 10% of the fluvial sediment discharge to the ocean.

    • Matthew A. Charette
  • Comments and Opinion |

    In the scientific community, the big question is not whether action on climate change is required, but what form it should take — and the part that scientists should play. Three Nobel laureates and three early-career researchers gave their thoughts to Nature on the current state of climate action worldwide and the place of science in society.

    • Peter Agre
    • , Mario Molina
    •  & Steven Chu
    Nature 550, S62–S64
  • Comments and Opinion |

    Is running for office the next step for researchers in the fight against climate inaction?

    • Peter Fairley
    Nature 550, S59–S61
  • Comments and Opinion |

    Carbon capture and storage will be crucial for mitigating climate change and rebuilding the world's energy infrastructure.

    • Katherine Bourzac
    Nature 550, S66–S69