Climate sciences

  • Article
    | Open Access

    Reflective surfaces have been recommended to mitigate urban heat pollution but can be expensive to apply at a large scale. This work shows that applying them to only the upstream half of a neighborhood can lead to disporportionately high cooling benefits relative to cost.

    • Sushobhan Sen
    •  & Lev Khazanovich
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Melting at the base of the Greenland Ice Sheet is often disregarded as a source of quantifiable mass loss. In this study, the authors find the basal mass loss is equivalent to 8% of the ice sheet’s present imbalance, and that the loss of mass from basal melt is likely to increase in the future.

    • Nanna B. Karlsson
    • , Anne M. Solgaard
    •  & Robert S. Fausto
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Tree rings are a crucial archive for Common Era climate reconstructions, but the degree to which methodological decisions influence outcomes is not well known. Here, the authors show how different approaches taken by 15 different groups influence the ensemble temperature reconstruction from the same data.

    • Ulf Büntgen
    • , Kathy Allen
    •  & Jan Esper
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Climate change is likely to damage economies worldwide. Here the authors show that this strongly reduces incentives to invest causing additional losses, whereas if investors include climate-change mitigation in their action portfolio they can avoid damages for themselves and the global economy.

    • Sven N. Willner
    • , Nicole Glanemann
    •  & Anders Levermann
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Up to 40% of the ocean’s fixed nitrogen is lost in oxygen minimum zones (OMZs) by anammox, but despite the importance of this process, nitrogen loss patterns in OMZs are difficult to predict. Here the authors show that ammonium release from small particles is a major control of anammox in the Peruvian OMZ.

    • Clarissa Karthäuser
    • , Soeren Ahmerkamp
    •  & Marcel M. M. Kuypers
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Open fires can increase heavy exposure to hazardous particulate matters, and thus harm human health, particularly among the vulnerable individuals, such as pregnant women. Here, the authors show an association between maternal exposure to fire smoke and increased risk of pregnancy loss in South Asia.

    • Tao Xue
    • , Guannan Geng
    •  & Tong Zhu
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Earth-system sensitivity (ESS) describes the long-term temperature response for a given change in atmospheric CO2 and, as such, is a crucial parameter to assess future climate change. Here, the authors use a Bayesian model with data from the last 420 Myrs to reduce uncertainties and estimate ESS to be around 3.4 °C.

    • Tony E. Wong
    • , Ying Cui
    •  & Klaus Keller
  • Article
    | Open Access

    China has pledged to achieve carbon neutrality in 2060. Here the authors find a promising option to abate 1.0 Gt CO2-eq yr1 of carbon emissions at a marginal cost of $69 (t CO2-eq)−1 by retrofitting 222 GW of coal power plants to co-fire with biomass and upgrading to CCS operation across 2836 counties in China.

    • Xiaofan Xing
    • , Rong Wang
    •  & Siqing Xu
  • Article
    | Open Access

    It has been suggested that sea surface temperatures in the North Tropical Atlantic exert strong influence on the evolution of the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Here, the authors argue that observed statistics are fully consistent with ENSO driving climate variations in the Atlantic and not vice versa.

    • Wenjun Zhang
    • , Feng Jiang
    •  & Axel Timmermann
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) is a crucial component of the tropical weather system, but forecasting it has been challenging. Here, the authors present a deep learning bias correction method that significantly improves multi-model forecasts of the MJO amplitude and phase for up to four weeks.

    • H. Kim
    • , Y. G. Ham
    •  & S. W. Son
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Individual exposure to heat is associated with adverse health and economic outcomes. Here, the authors show that people of color and people living in poverty bear a disproportionate burden of urban heat exposure in almost all major cities in the continental United States.

    • Angel Hsu
    • , Glenn Sheriff
    •  & Diego Manya
  • Article
    | Open Access

    New data from five hot-water drilled boreholes show how atmospheric anomalies affect the circulation beneath Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf on multi-year time scales. The apparent link of the dense water formation to remote teleconnections is an important step for better predicting contributions to future sea level rise from this sector of Antarctica.

    • Tore Hattermann
    • , Keith W. Nicholls
    •  & Torsten Kanzow
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Long-term sedimentary ancient DNA (sedaDNA) records can help inform how biodiversity will likely respond to future climate change. Here, Liu et al. reconstruct plant diversity at the margin of the Tibetan Plateau over the last ~18,000 years using sedaDNA and use this record to predict future diversity change.

    • Sisi Liu
    • , Stefan Kruse
    •  & Ulrike Herzschuh
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The Arctic Ocean cooling machine, currently the Barents Sea, plays a crucial role in both regulating the climate and determining the deep ocean circulation. Here the authors show that the efficiency of the cooling machine is poleward enhanced in a warming climate, which pushes Arctic Atlantification poleward.

    • Qi Shu
    • , Qiang Wang
    •  & Fangli Qiao
  • Article
    | Open Access

    How to curb climate change is uncertain, in part because determination of allowable emissions depends on models with low accuracy. Here the authors re-analyze climate-carbon feedbacks and find that CO2 emissions could be 9 ± 7% higher and still meet Paris Agreement goals.

    • Xuanze Zhang
    • , Ying-Ping Wang
    •  & Yongqiang Zhang
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The production of chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) was phased-out under the Montreal, but renewed emissions of CFC-11 have been reported recently. Here, the authors present a joint analysis of multiple factors and find that emissions of CFC-11, but also CFC-12 and CFC-113 are higher than expected, indicating renewed emissions.

    • Megan Lickley
    • , Sarah Fletcher
    •  & Susan Solomon
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Do we mitigate climate change in a Kyoto style global agreement or via multiple agreements among smaller groups of states? Here the authors show that the best strategy may begin with regional legally binding, aggressive agreements and, as these become common, renew pursuit of a global legally-binding treaty.

    • Vadim A. Karatayev
    • , Vítor V. Vasconcelos
    •  & Madhur Anand
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Glaciers in High Mountain Asia are a key water resource. The authors use remote sensing data and a regional implementation of the continuity equation to quantify glacier ablation and accumulation rates for 2000–2016, and establish current climatic-geometric imbalances that imply strong reductions in ice volume by 2100.

    • Evan Miles
    • , Michael McCarthy
    •  & Francesca Pellicciotti
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Most studies have examined the impacts of human-driven climate change on mean or extreme climate variables and have neglected to explore interrelated drought features. Here, the authors show that the presence of human activity has increased the number and maximum length and intensity of drought events across the globe.

    • Felicia Chiang
    • , Omid Mazdiyasni
    •  & Amir AghaKouchak
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Clean water is a fundamental resource, yet the economic impacts of pollution, drinking water availability, and greenhouse gas emissions from freshwaters are unknown. Here the authors combine models with economic assessments and find trillions of dollars in savings by mitigating lake methane emissions.

    • John A. Downing
    • , Stephen Polasky
    •  & Stephen C. Newbold
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Established climate mitigation modelling relies on controversial negative emissions and unprecedented technological change, but neglects to consider degrowth scenarios. Here the authors show that degrowth scenarios minimize many key risks for feasibility and sustainability and thus need to be thoroughly assessed.

    • Lorenz T. Keyßer
    •  & Manfred Lenzen
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Deforestation in the Amazon region has suggested to influence precipitation in a non-linear way. Here, the authors show that forest loss is associated with decreasing precipitation after a scale-dependent threshold is crossed, which can cause stress on agriculture if deforestation is expanded.

    • Argemiro Teixeira Leite-Filho
    • , Britaldo Silveira Soares-Filho
    •  & Jan Börner
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Ambitious climate policies can negatively impact the global poor by affecting income, food and energy prices. Here, the authors quantify this effect, and show that it can be compensated by national redistribution of the carbon pricing revenues in combination with international climate finance.

    • Bjoern Soergel
    • , Elmar Kriegler
    •  & Alexander Popp
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Understanding the past is necessary to comprehend Earth’s response to present climate change, but past climate reconstruction is hampered by a lack of temperature proxies. Here the authors develop the HDI26, a proxy using cyanobacterial glycolipids to reconstruct water temperatures of lakes worldwide.

    • Thorsten Bauersachs
    • , James M. Russell
    •  & Lorenz Schwark
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Warming ocean water plays a significant role in accelerating Arctic sea ice melt. Here the authors present detailed observations of warm water of Pacific origin entering and diving beneath the Arctic ocean surface, and explore the dynamical processes governing its evolution.

    • Jennifer A. MacKinnon
    • , Harper L. Simmons
    •  & Kevin R. Wood
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Microplastic pollution is a major threat to marine food webs, but the wider ranging impacts on global ocean biogeochemistry are poorly understood. Here the authors use an Earth system model to determine that zooplankton grazing on microplastics could exacerbate trends in ocean oxygen loss.

    • K. Kvale
    • , A. E. F. Prowe
    •  & A. Oschlies
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The long-term impact of extreme surface melt on the Greenland Ice Sheet is poorly constrained. Here the authors use airborne radar to characterize a subsurface refrozen melt layer that formed following extreme melt in 2012, showing that it likely reduced drainage pathways for subsequent melt.

    • Riley Culberg
    • , Dustin M. Schroeder
    •  & Winnie Chu
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Stratification has a considerable influence on lake ecology, but there is little understanding of past or future changes in its seasonality. Here, the authors use modelling and empirical data to determine that between 1901–2099, climate change causes stratification to start earlier and end later.

    • R. Iestyn Woolway
    • , Sapna Sharma
    •  & Eleanor Jennings
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Ocean warming and changing circulation as a result of climate change are driving down oxygen levels and threatening ecosystems. Here the author shows that though immediate cessation of anthropogenic CO2 emissions would halt upper ocean oxygen loss, it would continue in the deep ocean for 100 s of years.

    • Andreas Oschlies
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Wetland methane emissions contribute to global warming, and are oversimplified in climate models. Here the authors use eddy covariance measurements from 48 global sites to demonstrate seasonal hysteresis in methane-temperature relationships and suggest the importance of microbial processes.

    • Kuang-Yu Chang
    • , William J. Riley
    •  & Donatella Zona
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Many trajectories for reaching climate change mitigation targets exaggerate the long-term need for CO2 removal (CDR) because they assume an exponentially increasing carbon price. Here the authors analyse alternative carbon price pathways that halt warming while limiting CDR, and may be easier to implement.

    • Jessica Strefler
    • , Elmar Kriegler
    •  & Ottmar Edenhofer
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Climate models struggle to track the response of Arctic sea ice to warming, leading to efforts to improve sea-ice models. Here the author shows standard model metrics are poor judges of the impact of model improvements, but a new one, marginal ice zone fraction, is optimally suited to this task.

    • Christopher Horvat
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Over 100 countries have set or are considering net-zero emissions targets. Here, the authors show that a country’s potential for negative emissions and methodological issues affect when countries can reach net-zero, calling for clear internationally agreed definitions and accounting methods.

    • Heleen L. van Soest
    • , Michel G. J. den Elzen
    •  & Detlef P. van Vuuren
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The Permian–Triassic mass extinction was accompanied by a massive release of carbon into the ocean-atmosphere system, but the magnitude of change is not well known. Here, the authors present a new record of C3 plants from southwestern China which shows that atmospheric pCO2 increased by a factor of six during this event.

    • Yuyang Wu
    • , Daoliang Chu
    •  & Ying Cui
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The photosynthesis performed by trees makes them an important sink for atmospheric carbon dioxide, but trees are also sources of the potent greenhouse gas methane. Here the authors find that tree bark in some common lowland species is colonized by methane oxidizing bacteria that can reduce tree methane emissions by ~ 36%.

    • Luke C. Jeffrey
    • , Damien T. Maher
    •  & Scott G. Johnston
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Palaeodata resolution and dating limit the study of the sequence of changes across Earth during past abrupt warmings. Here, the authors show tight decadal-scale coupling between Greenland climate, North Atlantic sea ice and atmospheric circulation during these past events using two highly resolved ice-core records.

    • E. Capron
    • , S. O. Rasmussen
    •  & J. W. C. White
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Long-range predictions of the Asian summer monsoon remain challenging due to its complex atmosphere–land–ocean interactions. Here, the authors show that a large ensemble of model simulations can predict the Asian summer monsoon and associated summer tropical cyclone activity more than one year ahead.

    • Yuhei Takaya
    • , Yu Kosaka
    •  & Shuhei Maeda
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Meltwater Pulse 1A was the most rapid global sea-level rise event during the last deglaciation, but the source of the freshwater causing this rise is debated. Here, the authors use a data-driven inversion approach to show that the North American and Eurasian Ice Sheets were the dominant contributors.

    • Yucheng Lin
    • , Fiona D. Hibbert
    •  & Sarah L. Bradley
  • Article
    | Open Access

    New simulations find that one of Antarctica’s largest ice shelves, the Filchner–Ronne, may be less vulnerable to climate change than previously thought. Melting of the ice shelf initially decreases for many decades, and only increases when global warming exceeds approximately 7 °C.

    • Kaitlin A. Naughten
    • , Jan De Rydt
    •  & Jeff K. Ridley
  • Article
    | Open Access

    How the rainfall intensity of tropical cyclones changes with climate change is not well known. Here, the authors show that while the rain rate in the outer region of TCs is clearly increasing between 1999 and 2018, it decreases significantly in the inner-core of TCs during 1999-2018.

    • Shifei Tu
    • , Jianjun Xu
    •  & Long S. Chiu
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The impacts of water scarcity depend on physical basin characteristics and global economic dynamics. Here, the authors show scenario assumptions can yield either highly positive or negative economic impacts due to water scarcity, and the drivers of these impacts are basin-specific and cannot be determined a priori.

    • Flannery Dolan
    • , Jonathan Lamontagne
    •  & Jae Edmonds