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Earth System Dynamics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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  • IF value: 3.635 IF 3.635
  • IF 5-year<br/> value: 3.869 IF 5-year
  • CiteScore<br/> value: 4.15 CiteScore
  • SNIP value: 0.995 SNIP 0.995
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  • h5-index value: 21 h5-index 21

Highlight articles

Global temperature now exceeds +1.25°C relative to 1880&ndash:1920, similar to warmth of the Eemian period. Keeping warming less than 1.5°C or CO2 below 350 ppm now requires extraction of CO2 from the air. If rapid phaseout of fossil fuel emissions begins soon, most extraction can be via improved agricultural and forestry practices. In contrast, continued high emissions places a burden on young people of massive technological CO2 extraction with large risks, high costs and uncertain feasibility.

James Hansen, Makiko Sato, Pushker Kharecha, Karina von Schuckmann, David J. Beerling, Junji Cao, Shaun Marcott, Valerie Masson-Delmotte, Michael J. Prather, Eelco J. Rohling, Jeremy Shakun, Pete Smith, Andrew Lacis, Gary Russell, and Reto Ruedy

In lowland Bolivia, satellite images show rivers collapsing and the replacement of forest with savannah. This was first described in 1996 as the result of logjams (river dams created by fallen trees). I have investigated how the logjams form and affect the forest through remote sensing and fieldwork. Logjams occur nearly every year and propagate upriver until the river changes course. This region offers a unique opportunity to study how frequent forest die-off events affect biodiversity.

Umberto Lombardo

Monsoon systems have undergone abrupt changes in past climates, and theoretical considerations show that threshold behavior can follow from the internal dynamics of monsoons. So far, however, the possibility of abrupt changes has not been explored for modern monsoon systems. We analyze state-of-the-art climate model simulations and show that some models project abrupt changes in Sahel rainfall in response to a dynamic shift in the West African monsoon under 21st century climate change.

Jacob Schewe and Anders Levermann

In this paper we describe the development and application of a new spatially explicit weathering scheme within the University of Victoria Earth System Climate Model (UVic ESCM). We integrated a dataset of modern-day lithology with a number of previously devised parameterizations for weathering dependency on temperature, primary productivity, and runoff. We tested the model with simulations of future carbon cycle perturbations and confirmed the importance of silicate weathering in the long term.

Marc-Olivier Brault, H. Damon Matthews, and Lawrence A. Mysak

The Arctic has been warming much faster than the rest of the globe, including Antarctica. Here it was shown that one of the important mechanisms that sets Antarctica apart from the Arctic is heat transport from lower latitudes, and it was argued that a decrease in land height due to Antarctic melting would be favorable for increased atmospheric heat transport from midlatitudes. Other factors related to the larger Antarctic land height were also investigated.

Marc Salzmann

Emission metrics such as GWP or GTP are used to put non-CO2 species on a "CO2-equivalent" scale. In the fifth IPCC report the metrics are inconsistent, as the climate–carbon feedback is included only for CO2 but not for non-CO2 species. Here, we simulate a new impulse response function for the feedback, and we use it to correct the metrics. For instance, 1 g of CH4 is equivalent to 31 g of CO2 (instead of 28 g) following the corrected GWP100 metric. It is 34 g if other factors are also updated.

Thomas Gasser, Glen P. Peters, Jan S. Fuglestvedt, William J. Collins, Drew T. Shindell, and Philippe Ciais

There is still little understanding about the dynamics emerging from human–water interactions. As a result, policies and measures to reduce the impacts of floods and droughts often lead to unintended consequences. This paper proposes a research agenda to improve our understanding of human–water interactions, and presents an initial attempt to model the reciprocal effects between water management, droughts, and floods.

Giuliano Di Baldassarre, Fabian Martinez, Zahra Kalantari, and Alberto Viglione

We argue that the CMIP community has reached a critical juncture at which many baseline aspects of model evaluation need to be performed much more efficiently to enable a systematic and rapid performance assessment of the large number of models participating in CMIP, and we announce our intention to implement such a system for CMIP6. At the same time, continuous scientific research is required to develop innovative metrics and diagnostics that help narrowing the spread in climate projections.

Veronika Eyring, Peter J. Gleckler, Christoph Heinze, Ronald J. Stouffer, Karl E. Taylor, V. Balaji, Eric Guilyardi, Sylvie Joussaume, Stephan Kindermann, Bryan N. Lawrence, Gerald A. Meehl, Mattia Righi, and Dean N. Williams

Using 3 decades of observational satellite and field data, we find that long-term changes in sea ice and sea level, plant phenology, and surface temperature are coherent with increases in atmospheric CO2 concentration and other global greenhouse gases. During the same period, natural causes of climate change should only have a net cooling long-term effect, suggesting the observed coherent pattern of changes across Earth's biological and physical systems could only be due to human activities.

A. Gonsamo, J. M. Chen, D. T. Shindell, and G. P. Asner

Carbon dioxide, while warming the Earth's surface, cools the atmosphere beyond about 15 km (the middle atmosphere). This cooling is considered a fingerprint of anthropogenic global warming, yet the physical reason behind it remains prone to misconceptions. Here we use a simple radiation model to illustrate the physical essence of stratospheric cooling, and a complex climate model to quantify how strongly different mechanisms contribute.

H. F. Goessling and S. Bathiany

A band of intense rainfall exists near the equator known as the intertropical convergence zone, which can migrate in response to climate forcings. Here, we assess such migration in response to volcanic eruptions of varying spatial structure (Northern Hemisphere, Southern Hemisphere, or an eruption fairly symmetric about the equator). We do this using model simulations of the last millennium and link results to energetic constraints and the imprint eruptions may leave behind in past records.

C. M. Colose, A. N. LeGrande, and M. Vuille

Our analysis allows us to infer maps of changing plant water-use efficiency (WUE) for 1901-2010, using atmospheric observations of temperature, humidity and CO2. Our estimated increase in global WUE is consistent with the tree-ring and eddy covariance data, but much larger than the historical WUE increases simulated by Earth System Models (ESMs). We therefore conclude that the effects of increasing CO2 on plant WUE are significantly underestimated in the latest climate projections.

S. C. Dekker, M. Groenendijk, B. B. B. Booth, C. Huntingford, and P. M. Cox

This paper analyses the behaviour of 12 tributaries of the Río Mamoré and their influence on alluvial plain dynamics. These rivers are extremely active: between 1984 and 2014, 7 of these 12 rivers underwent a total of 41 crevasses and 29 avulsions. Most of the sedimentary load of these rivers is deposited on the alluvial plains before they reach the Mamoré. Crevasses and avulsions are not controlled by ENSO cycles, but rather are the result of intrabasinal processes.

U. Lombardo

We identify six past revolutions in energy input and material cycling in Earth and human history. We find that human energy use has now reached a magnitude comparable to the biosphere, and conclude that a prospective sustainability revolution will require scaling up new solar energy technologies and the development of much more efficient material recycling systems. Our work was inspired by recognising the connections between Earth system science and industrial ecology at the "LOOPS" workshop.

T. M. Lenton, P.-P. Pichler, and H. Weisz

We find early warnings of abrupt changes in complex dynamical systems such as the climate where the usual early warning indicators do not work. In particular, these are systems that are periodically forced, for example by the annual cycle of solar insolation. We show these indicators are good theoretically in a general setting then apply them to a specific system, that of the Arctic sea ice, which has been conjectured to be close to such a tipping point. We do not find evidence of it.

M. S. Williamson, S. Bathiany, and T. M. Lenton

Using regression analysis, near-surface temperatures from several gridded data sets were investigated for the presence of components attributable to external climate forcings and to major internal climate variability modes, over the 1901-2010 period. The spatial patterns of local temperature response and their combination in globally averaged temperature were shown and discussed, with special focus on highlighting the inter-dataset contrasts.

J. Mikšovský, E. Holtanová, and P. Pišoft

Sea level will continue to rise for centuries. We investigate the option of delaying sea-level rise by pumping ocean water onto Antarctica. Due to wave propagation ice is discharged much faster back into the ocean than expected from pure advection. A millennium-scale storage of >80% of the additional ice requires a distance of >700km from the coastline. The pumping energy required to elevate ocean water to mitigate a sea-level rise of 3mm/yr exceeds 7% of current global primary energy supply.

K. Frieler, M. Mengel, and A. Levermann

Our study focused on uncertainties in terrestrial C cycling under newly developed scenarios with CMIP5. This study presents first results for examining relative uncertainties of projected terrestrial C cycling in multiple projection components. Only using our new model inter-comparison project data sets enables us to evaluate various uncertainty sources in projection periods. The information on relative uncertainties is useful for climate science and climate change impact evaluation.

K. Nishina, A. Ito, P. Falloon, A. D. Friend, D. J. Beerling, P. Ciais, D. B. Clark, R. Kahana, E. Kato, W. Lucht, M. Lomas, R. Pavlick, S. Schaphoff, L. Warszawaski, and T. Yokohata

Recent studies have identified an approximately proportional relationship between global warming and cumulative carbon emissions. This relationship – referred to as the transient climate response to cumulative carbon emissions (TCRE) – is useful for climate policy applications. We show that the TCRE is constant for cumulative emissions lower than ~1500GtC but declines for higher cumulative emissions. We also find the TCRE to decrease with increasing emission rate.

T. Herrington and K. Zickfeld

In this paper, the authors attempt to estimate the uncertainty range of future ice discharge from Antarctica by combining uncertainty in the climatic forcing, the oceanic response and the ice-sheet model response.

A. Levermann, R. Winkelmann, S. Nowicki, J. L. Fastook, K. Frieler, R. Greve, H. H. Hellmer, M. A. Martin, M. Meinshausen, M. Mengel, A. J. Payne, D. Pollard, T. Sato, R. Timmermann, W. L. Wang, and R. A. Bindschadler

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