Climate sciences

  • Article
    | Open Access

    Model biases and internal variability are a cause for uncertainties in climate projections. Here, the authors show that 45% of projected uncertainty in the western Pacific Subtropical High can be reduced by correcting sea surface temperature biases in the equatorial Pacific and beneath marine stratocumulus clouds.

    • Xiaolong Chen
    • , Tianjun Zhou
    • , Peili Wu
    • , Zhun Guo
    •  & Minghuai Wang
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The impact of late Pleistocene climate change on ecosystems has been hard to assess. Here, the authors sequence ancient DNA from Hall’s Cave, Texas and find that both plant and vertebrate diversity decreased with cooling, and though plant diversity recovered with rewarming, megafauna went extinct.

    • Frederik V. Seersholm
    • , Daniel J. Werndly
    • , Alicia Grealy
    • , Taryn Johnson
    • , Erin M. Keenan Early
    • , Ernest L. Lundelius Jr.
    • , Barbara Winsborough
    • , Grayal Earle Farr
    • , Rickard Toomey
    • , Anders J. Hansen
    • , Beth Shapiro
    • , Michael R. Waters
    • , Gregory McDonald
    • , Anna Linderholm
    • , Thomas W. Stafford Jr.
    •  & Michael Bunce
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The early Earth’s atmosphere had very low oxygen levels for hundreds of millions of years, until the 2.4 Ga Great Oxidation Event, which remains poorly understood. Here, the authors show that reducing Archean volcanic gases could have prevented atmospheric O2 from accumulating, and therefore mantle oxidation was likely very important in setting the evolution of O2 and aerobic life.

    • Shintaro Kadoya
    • , David C. Catling
    • , Robert W. Nicklas
    • , Igor S. Puchtel
    •  & Ariel D. Anbar
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Biology can profoundly influence the planet’s climate, but over Earth’s long history these effects are poorly constrained. Here the authors show that on early Earth, the evolution of microbes producing and consuming methane likely controlled warming and glacial events, and thus Earth’s habitability

    • Boris Sauterey
    • , Benjamin Charnay
    • , Antonin Affholder
    • , Stéphane Mazevet
    •  & Régis Ferrière
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Anthropogenic CO2 is acidifying the ocean, but knowledge of the carbonate properties underlying these dynamics in coastal oceans is lacking. Here, the authors reveal spatial distribution patterns and variability in carbonate chemistry along North America’s coasts.

    • Wei-Jun Cai
    • , Yuan-Yuan Xu
    • , Richard A. Feely
    • , Rik Wanninkhof
    • , Bror Jönsson
    • , Simone R. Alin
    • , Leticia Barbero
    • , Jessica N. Cross
    • , Kumiko Azetsu-Scott
    • , Andrea J. Fassbender
    • , Brendan R. Carter
    • , Li-Qing Jiang
    • , Pierre Pepin
    • , Baoshan Chen
    • , Najid Hussain
    • , Janet J. Reimer
    • , Liang Xue
    • , Joseph E. Salisbury
    • , José Martín Hernández-Ayón
    • , Chris Langdon
    • , Qian Li
    • , Adrienne J. Sutton
    • , Chen-Tung A. Chen
    •  & Dwight K. Gledhill
  • Article
    | Open Access

    How UHI intensity responds to variations of urban structure is unclear. Here the authors proposed a reduced form approach that is able to estimate UHI intensities based only on the number and location of urban sites as well as their distance.

    • Yunfei Li
    • , Sebastian Schubert
    • , Jürgen P. Kropp
    •  & Diego Rybski
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Potential changes in the seasonality of temperature-attributable mortality due to climate warming have been poorly investigated. Here, the authors show that the projected decrease in the number of moderate and extreme cold days will not contribute to a further reduction of cold-attributable deaths.

    • Hicham Achebak
    • , Daniel Devolder
    • , Vijendra Ingole
    •  & Joan Ballester
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Snow algae bloom along the coast of Antarctica and are likely to be biogeochemically important. Here, the authors produced the first map of such blooms, show that they are driven by warmer temperatures and proximity to birds and mammals, and are likely to increase given projected climate changes.

    • Andrew Gray
    • , Monika Krolikowski
    • , Peter Fretwell
    • , Peter Convey
    • , Lloyd S. Peck
    • , Monika Mendelova
    • , Alison G. Smith
    •  & Matthew P. Davey
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Floods are an important natural disaster on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, but their driving mechanisms are not well understood. Here, the authors utilize data from twitter messages and local newspaper reports to show that convectively coupled Kelvin waves play a key role in promoting floods on Sumatra.

    • Dariusz B. Baranowski
    • , Maria K. Flatau
    • , Piotr J. Flatau
    • , Dwikorita Karnawati
    • , Katarzyna Barabasz
    • , Michal Labuz
    • , Beata Latos
    • , Jerome M. Schmidt
    • , Jaka A. I. Paski
    •  & Marzuki
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Rising temperatures in the Arctic can lead to the release of vast amounts of carbon stored in permafrost soils. Here the authors show that stratospheric sulfate aerosol injection geoengineering can help to avoid about 14 gigatons of carbon release and US$8.4 trillion in economic losses by 2070 compared to RCP4.5 emissions.

    • Yating Chen
    • , Aobo Liu
    •  & John C. Moore
  • Article
    | Open Access

    One-third of Earth’s carbon is sequestered in peatlands, and its stability in the face of climate change is unknown. Here the authors show that warming leads to the release of carbon as methane, but only the most prolonged warming leads to the breakdown and release of deep, old carbon.

    • A. M. Hopple
    • , R. M. Wilson
    • , M. Kolton
    • , C. A. Zalman
    • , J. P. Chanton
    • , J. Kostka
    • , P. J. Hanson
    • , J. K. Keller
    •  & S. D. Bridgham
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The impacts of power plant water shortage during drought on electricity prices are understudied. Here the authors show that on extreme days, almost 50% (7 GWe) of the freshwater thermal capacity is unavailable in the Great Britain and annualized cumulative costs on electricity prices are in the range of £29-95m per year.

    • Edward A. Byers
    • , Gemma Coxon
    • , Jim Freer
    •  & Jim W. Hall
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Previous work suggests that marine oxygen levels and bioturbation are important factors that shape phosphorus burial and the size of the marine biosphere. Here the authors show that seawater calcium concentration is a key factor in controlling marine P burial, and thus the global oxygen cycle.

    • Mingyu Zhao
    • , Shuang Zhang
    • , Lidya G. Tarhan
    • , Christopher T. Reinhard
    •  & Noah Planavsky
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Siberian Arctic permafrost contains vast stores of carbon, the fate of which is dependent on the climate. Here the authors use models of future scenarios to show that under the direst climate changes up to 2/3 of the stored organic carbon could thaw.

    • Jan Nitzbon
    • , Sebastian Westermann
    • , Moritz Langer
    • , Léo C. P. Martin
    • , Jens Strauss
    • , Sebastian Laboor
    •  & Julia Boike
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Threats to marine ecosystems are increasing due to ocean acidification, but trends are spatiotemporally difficult to monitor or predict. Here the authors use an Earth system model to accurately predict surface pH changes in the economically and ecologically important California Current System.

    • Riley X. Brady
    • , Nicole S. Lovenduski
    • , Stephen G. Yeager
    • , Matthew C. Long
    •  & Keith Lindsay
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Biosphere productivity is an important component of the CO2 cycle, but how it has varied over past glacial-interglacial cycles is not well known. Here, the authors present new data that shows that global biosphere productivity was 10 to 30% higher during Termination V compared to younger deglaciations.

    • Margaux Brandon
    • , Amaelle Landais
    • , Stéphanie Duchamp-Alphonse
    • , Violaine Favre
    • , Léa Schmitz
    • , Héloïse Abrial
    • , Frédéric Prié
    • , Thomas Extier
    •  & Thomas Blunier
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Carbon emission trading is an important market-based policy instrument to reduce GHG emission using reward-punishment mechanism. Here the authors show that the EU emission trading schemes operate at its designed purpose and there is a positive and linear relationship between firm profits and the firms’ efforts in abatement.

    • Jianfeng Guo
    • , Fu Gu
    • , Yinpeng Liu
    • , Xi Liang
    • , Jianlei Mo
    •  & Ying Fan
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Plants respond to increasing CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere by stomatal closure which causes a reduction of evapotranspiration and thus latent heat flux. Here, the authors show that this CO2 physiological forcing strengthens Arctic warming through increasing sea ice loss and local feedbacks.

    • So-Won Park
    • , Jin-Soo Kim
    •  & Jong-Seong Kug
  • Article
    | Open Access

    How the development of human societies is influenced through their ecological environment and climatic conditions has been the subject of intensive debate. Here, the authors present multi-proxy data from southern Scandinavia which suggests that pre-agricultural population growth there was likely influenced by enhanced marine production.

    • J. P. Lewis
    • , D. B. Ryves
    • , P. Rasmussen
    • , J. Olsen
    • , L. G. van der Sluis
    • , P. J. Reimer
    • , K.-.L. Knudsen
    • , S. McGowan
    • , N. J. Anderson
    •  & S. Juggins
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Tropical cyclones can cause severe flooding when making landfall, but these water flows can often only be forecasted a few hours before. Here, the authors present a new approach using self-organizing maps and flow characteristic curves to predict tropical cyclone related runoff up to two days in advance.

    • Li-Chiu Chang
    • , Fi-John Chang
    • , Shun-Nien Yang
    • , Fong-He Tsai
    • , Ting-Hua Chang
    •  & Edwin E. Herricks
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Observations of global ocean heat content during 2005–2015 have shown a strong hemispheric asymmetry, and the southern hemisphere accounts 92% of the total heat gain. Here, the authors show that the rate of observed global ocean warming is consistent with a forced symmetric climate change signal and an asymmetric climate variation for this period.

    • Saurabh Rathore
    • , Nathaniel L. Bindoff
    • , Helen E. Phillips
    •  & Ming Feng
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Marine heatwaves are threatening ocean ecosystems with increasing frequency, but their seasonal drivers are unknown. Here, the authors determine that summertime blobs of warm temperature anomalies in the Pacific occur as a result of prolonged weakening in the North Pacific High-Pressure System.

    • Dillon J. Amaya
    • , Arthur J. Miller
    • , Shang-Ping Xie
    •  & Yu Kosaka
  • Article
    | Open Access

    In recent history the amount of carbon captured by terrestrial systems has increased, but the processes driving this process has remained poorly constrained. Here the authors use a global carbon model to show that a decrease in wildfires has caused the land carbon sink to increase in the past few decades.

    • Yi Yin
    • , A. Anthony Bloom
    • , John Worden
    • , Sassan Saatchi
    • , Yan Yang
    • , Mathew Williams
    • , Junjie Liu
    • , Zhe Jiang
    • , Helen Worden
    • , Kevin Bowman
    • , Christian Frankenberg
    •  & David Schimel
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Global ocean circulation overturns and starts anew in the North Atlantic, propagating climate signals to the rest of the oceans. Using drifter data, Zou and colleagues re-map the spreading pattern for one of the deep water masses and show the impact of mesoscale processes on that pattern.

    • Sijia Zou
    • , Amy Bower
    • , Heather Furey
    • , M. Susan Lozier
    •  & Xiaobiao Xu
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Tidewater glaciers in fjords can advance/retreat independent of climate due to stabilization by sediments at their termini. We show that an Alaskan paleo-ice stream behaved similarly on an open shelf, suggesting that increased sediment flux may delay catastrophic retreat of outlet glaciers in a warming world.

    • Ellen A. Cowan
    • , Sarah D. Zellers
    • , Juliane Müller
    • , Maureen H. Walczak
    • , Lindsay L. Worthington
    • , Beth E. Caissie
    • , Wesley A. Clary
    • , John M. Jaeger
    • , Sean P. S. Gulick
    • , Jacob W. Pratt
    • , Alan C. Mix
    •  & Stewart J. Fallon
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The Late Ordovician mass extinction has been attributed to extended marine anoxia. Here, the authors use a metal isotope mass balance model and find the marine anoxic event lasted over 3 million years, notably longer than the anoxic event associated with the Permian-Triassic extinction and Cretaceous ocean anoxic events.

    • Richard G. Stockey
    • , Devon B. Cole
    • , Noah J. Planavsky
    • , David K. Loydell
    • , Jiří Frýda
    •  & Erik A. Sperling
  • Article
    | Open Access

    High latitude droughts are increasing, but their effects on freshwater systems are poorly understood. Here the authors investigate Sweden’s most severe drought in the last century and show that these dry conditions induce hypoxia and elevated methane production from streams.

    • Lluís Gómez-Gener
    • , Anna Lupon
    • , Hjalmar Laudon
    •  & Ryan A. Sponseller
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Estuaries are diverse and important aquatic ecosystems, yet we lack information on their response to climate change. Here, the authors show that east Australian estuaries are warming and acidifying faster than predicted by ocean or atmospheric models; a trend that is magnified in shallow estuaries.

    • Elliot Scanes
    • , Peter R. Scanes
    •  & Pauline M. Ross
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Arctic plant growth is predominantly nitrogen limited, where the slow nitrogen turnover in the soil is commonly attributed to the cold arctic climate. Here the authors show that the arctic plant-soil nitrogen cycling is also constrained by the lack of larger detritivores like earthworms.

    • Gesche Blume-Werry
    • , Eveline J. Krab
    • , Johan Olofsson
    • , Maja K. Sundqvist
    • , Maria Väisänen
    •  & Jonatan Klaminder
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Many major mass extinction events have been associated with large volcanic eruption events, with the argument that large volumes of volcanic degassing could trigger past global climate changes. Here, the authors find that during the end-Triassic extinction event volcanic pulses emitted large amounts of CO2 comparable to projected anthropogenic emissions for the 21st century in the future 2 °C warming scenario.

    • Manfredo Capriolo
    • , Andrea Marzoli
    • , László E. Aradi
    • , Sara Callegaro
    • , Jacopo Dal Corso
    • , Robert J. Newton
    • , Benjamin J. W. Mills
    • , Paul B. Wignall
    • , Omar Bartoli
    • , Don R. Baker
    • , Nasrrddine Youbi
    • , Laurent Remusat
    • , Richard Spiess
    •  & Csaba Szabó
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Cooling demand project largely ignores the role of humidity. Here the authors show that in many of the high energy consuming states, projections based on air temperature alone underestimates cooling demand by as much as 10–15% under both present and future climate scenarios, due to the neglected role of humidity.

    • Debora Maia-Silva
    • , Rohini Kumar
    •  & Roshanak Nateghi
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Earth’s drylands are expected to expand due to climate change, but how this will affect vegetation remains unclear. Here the authors use models to show that despite expansion, primary productivity in drylands is likely to increase through the 21st Century.

    • Jingyu Yao
    • , Heping Liu
    • , Jianping Huang
    • , Zhongming Gao
    • , Guoyin Wang
    • , Dan Li
    • , Haipeng Yu
    •  & Xingyuan Chen
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The release of ancient carbon from thawing permafrost is thought to have an important impact on global biogeochemistry through positive feedbacks. Here Dean and colleagues show that in Siberian permafrost, warming could liberate more contemporary carbon relative to aged counterparts.

    • Joshua F. Dean
    • , Ove H. Meisel
    • , Melanie Martyn Rosco
    • , Luca Belelli Marchesini
    • , Mark H. Garnett
    • , Henk Lenderink
    • , Richard van Logtestijn
    • , Alberto V. Borges
    • , Steven Bouillon
    • , Thibault Lambert
    • , Thomas Röckmann
    • , Trofim Maximov
    • , Roman Petrov
    • , Sergei Karsanaev
    • , Rien Aerts
    • , Jacobus van Huissteden
    • , Jorien E. Vonk
    •  & A. Johannes Dolman
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Most of the North Atlantic has seen strong increase in surface temperatures in recent decades, except for one region, which has been called the North Atlantic warming hole. Here, the authors employ detection and attribution techniques to show that this temperature pattern in recent decades is being caused by anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.

    • Rei Chemke
    • , Laure Zanna
    •  & Lorenzo M. Polvani
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Global atmospheric CO2 varies between glacial–interglacial cycles. Here, the authors study these changes using Si records and how the Si flux and ocean circulation changes controlled the global Si distribution across the last deglaciation, based on high-resolution Si-isotope records from the Indian Sector Southern Ocean.

    • M. Dumont
    • , L. Pichevin
    • , W. Geibert
    • , X. Crosta
    • , E. Michel
    • , S. Moreton
    • , K. Dobby
    •  & R. Ganeshram
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Following international agreements, the use of chlorofluorocarbons in production is supposed to be phased out. Here, the authors present a new estimate of these products already in use and their emissions and show that they are larger than expected and that not recovering these banks leads to a substantial delay in the polar ozone hole recovery.

    • Megan Lickley
    • , Susan Solomon
    • , Sarah Fletcher
    • , Guus J. M. Velders
    • , John Daniel
    • , Matthew Rigby
    • , Stephen A. Montzka
    • , Lambert J. M. Kuijpers
    •  & Kane Stone
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Algorithms to assess causal relationships in data sets have seen increasing applications in climate science in recent years. Here, the authors show that these techniques can help to systematically evaluate the performance of climate models and, as a result, to constrain uncertainties in future climate change projections.

    • Peer Nowack
    • , Jakob Runge
    • , Veronika Eyring
    •  & Joanna D. Haigh
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Despite the lower device efficiency, tin perovskite based solar cells are preferred choices compared to lead-based counterparts due to much lower toxicity. Here Jiang et al. use a fullerene derivative to greatly suppress carrier interface recombination and obtain record high cell efficiency of 12%.

    • Xianyuan Jiang
    • , Fei Wang
    • , Qi Wei
    • , Hansheng Li
    • , Yuequn Shang
    • , Wenjia Zhou
    • , Cheng Wang
    • , Peihong Cheng
    • , Qi Chen
    • , Liwei Chen
    •  & Zhijun Ning
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Water temperature is a critical variable for lakes, but its spatial and temporal patterns are not well characterised globally. Here, the authors use surface temperature dynamics to define lake thermal regions that group lakes with similar patterns, and show how these regions shift under climate change.

    • Stephen C. Maberly
    • , Ruth A. O’Donnell
    • , R. Iestyn Woolway
    • , Mark E. J. Cutler
    • , Mengyi Gong
    • , Ian D. Jones
    • , Christopher J. Merchant
    • , Claire A. Miller
    • , Eirini Politi
    • , E. Marian Scott
    • , Stephen J. Thackeray
    •  & Andrew N. Tyler
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Extreme high temperature events are increasing in frequency and severity, threatening the capacity for crops and farmers alike to adapt. Here Sloat and colleagues track the movement of cereal crops over the past 40 years, finding a global migration away from warming climates.

    • Lindsey L. Sloat
    • , Steven J. Davis
    • , James S. Gerber
    • , Frances C. Moore
    • , Deepak K. Ray
    • , Paul C. West
    •  & Nathaniel D. Mueller
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The authors compared the performance of a range of rural water supply types during drought in Ethiopia. They show that prioritising access to groundwater via multiple improved water sources and technologies, such as hand-pumped and motorised boreholes, supported by monitoring and proactive operation and maintenance increases rural water supply resilience.

    • D. J. MacAllister
    • , A. M. MacDonald
    • , S. Kebede
    • , S. Godfrey
    •  & R. Calow
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The Southern Ocean is an important sink of carbon via the biological pump. Here authors run high-resolution physical/biogeochemical simulations of an open-Southern Ocean ecosystem forced with a realistic seasonal cycle and confirm that (sub)mesoscale iron transport across the mixing-layer base sustains primary productivity.

    • Takaya Uchida
    • , Dhruv Balwada
    • , Ryan P. Abernathey
    • , Galen A. McKinley
    • , Shafer K. Smith
    •  & Marina Lévy
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Palm oil biofuels are touted as a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels. Meijide and colleagues use greenhouse gas measurements to update life cycle assessments of oil palm growth scenarios and show that despite the promise, emission savings do not meet sustainability standards.

    • Ana Meijide
    • , Cristina de la Rua
    • , Thomas Guillaume
    • , Alexander Röll
    • , Evelyn Hassler
    • , Christian Stiegler
    • , Aiyen Tjoa
    • , Tania June
    • , Marife D. Corre
    • , Edzo Veldkamp
    •  & Alexander Knohl
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Land cover change contributes to regional climate trends. Here, the authors use high-resolution land cover maps and state-of-the-art climate modelling to assess land cover change effects across Europe over 1992-2015, showing widespread cooling after agricultural abandonment but also different, region-specific effects.

    • Bo Huang
    • , Xiangping Hu
    • , Geir-Arne Fuglstad
    • , Xu Zhou
    • , Wenwu Zhao
    •  & Francesco Cherubini
  • Article
    | Open Access

    How the Asian monsoon, earth surface processes and human development interact is not well known. Here, a new record of dust storm intensity shows a relationship between the stability of dynasties and dust storm activity for the last ~2200 years, which argues for a strong human control of dust storms in East Asia over this time.

    • Fahu Chen
    • , Shengqian Chen
    • , Xu Zhang
    • , Jianhui Chen
    • , Xin Wang
    • , Evan J. Gowan
    • , Mingrui Qiang
    • , Guanghui Dong
    • , Zongli Wang
    • , Yuecong Li
    • , Qinghai Xu
    • , Yangyang Xu
    • , John P. Smol
    •  & Jianbao Liu
  • Article
    | Open Access

    New hydrological simulations show for the first time how sensitive groundwater and surface water connections are to systematic warming across the continental United States. The authors here show a clear reduction in subsurface water storage under a warming climate and intensified aridification of north America.

    • Laura E. Condon
    • , Adam L. Atchley
    •  & Reed M. Maxwell
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Compound hot extremes that combine day- and nighttime heat have particularly strong impacts. Here, the authors show that anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases have made compound hot extremes increasingly frequent and intense, and project that under future emissions four to eight times as many people will be affected by them by 2100.

    • Jun Wang
    • , Yang Chen
    • , Simon F. B. Tett
    • , Zhongwei Yan
    • , Panmao Zhai
    • , Jinming Feng
    •  & Jiangjiang Xia
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The carbon footprints of natural gas supplies at the field level are unclear. Here the authors analysed the GHG intensities of gas supplies from 104 fields and show that their GHG intensities range from 6.2 to 43.3 g CO2eq MJ-1.

    • Yu Gan
    • , Hassan M. El-Houjeiri
    • , Alhassan Badahdah
    • , Zifeng Lu
    • , Hao Cai
    • , Steven Przesmitzki
    •  & Michael Wang
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Glaciers have profoundly shaped Earth’s surface, but glacial erosion models lack a strong empirical basis. Cook et al. have compiled a dataset that illustrates how the speed at which glaciers move controls the rate at which they erode, and that climate is crucial in modulating glacier sliding speed and erosion rates.

    • Simon J. Cook
    • , Darrel A. Swift
    • , Martin P. Kirkbride
    • , Peter G. Knight
    •  & Richard I. Waller