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Skeptical Science New Research for Week #41 2022

Posted on 13 October 2022 by Doug Bostrom, Marc Kodack

Getting along with “we’re doomed.”

Recently Climatic Change published an essay The existential risk space of climate change by Huggel et al., who suggested that “a clearer and more precise definition and framing of existential risks of climate change … facilitates scientific analysis as well societal and political discourse and action.” They bracket “existential” risk in trhee categories, with two main breaks: “those risks that threaten the existence of a subject, where this subject can be an individual person, a community, or nation state or humanity. The threat to their existence is defined by two levels of severity: conditions that threaten (1) survival and (2) basic human needs.” 

There are no direct connections between the two articles but Climate change and the threat to civilization just published in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by Steel, DeRoches & Mintz-Woo serves to illustrate how the details of the concepts introduced by Huggel et al. emerge. The two essays together draw on literature suggesting a strong level of interest in the topic, with that research  illustrating how we might indeed accidentally stumble into extreme, large scale risk. Yet, “existential risk” and “threat to civilization” are terms not entirely a comfortable fit in the dry, abstract language of academia with its love of the passive voice. Nobody wants to sound hysterical, after all. But both teams of authors suggest that square controntation of high-magnitude “uh-oh” is a sensible, pragmatic choice. Steel & crew sum up nicely in their abstract:

Warnings about climate collapse issued by scientists and scientifically informed public figures are already present in the public discourse, whereas survey data suggest that climate change is a source of widespread public concern and anxiety (2627). Against this backdrop, careful scientific study of climate collapse might act as a counterweight to discussions of climate collapse that are sensationalistic or biased towards portending doom. And, depending on the results of the research, it might serve as a rebuttal to skeptics who refuse to take the possibility of climate collapse seriously at all. A sober assessment of the risk of climate collapse and the pathways by which it can be kept at bay, we suggest, may help to settle nerves and spur action.

Other notables:

Assessing natural global catastrophic risks. In the course of inventorying possibiities, the authors include, the potential for a (mostly?) natural risk colliding with human affairs. Namely, the possibility of a global pandemic causing an interruption of stratospheric aerosol injection delivery, thereby triggering a “termination shock,” a strong rebound of atmospheric temperature. To the layperson this may sound crazy, but after all so does enthusiastically burning fossil fuels— now that we know better. 

Planning for Climate Migration in Great Lake Legacy Cities. After a more or less harrowing process of “adaptation” and testing the boundaries of resilience (aka “how much hell can we tolerate?”), a lot of folks are going to need to change locations. Climate refugia for humans will absorb the brunt of retreat. Van Berkel et al. identify opportunities to avoid repeating mistakes of the past when planning for events of the future. 

Just one of many prologues in our observational record is Changes in extreme daily rainfall characteristics in South Africa: 1921–2020, commensurate with the future described by Rarest rainfall events will see the greatest relative increase in magnitude under future climate changeClimate models not only are projections but also might be though of as extrapolations. We already done messed up.

Climate anxiety, wellbeing and pro-environmental action: Correlates of negative emotional responses to climate change in 32 countries. If this week’s collection of highlights leaves you anxious, this paper and its citations may help to explain how and why. If “conscientious” is stil thought a virtue, give yourself a pat on the back. 

All of the above open access and free to read. And, don’t miss our government/NGO section. 

121 articles in 50 journals by 863 contributing authors

Observations of climate change, effects

Assessment of trends in an integrated climate metric—analysis of 200 mbar zonal wind for the period 1958–2021
Wan et al., Theoretical and Applied Climatology, Open Access pdf 10.1007/s00704-022-04225-y

Changes in extreme daily rainfall characteristics in South Africa: 1921–2020
McBride et al., Weather and Climate Extremes, Open Access 10.1016/j.wace.2022.100517

Characteristics and drivers of marine heatwaves in the western equatorial Indian Ocean
Qi et al., Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 10.1029/2022jc018732

Comprehensive Assessment of Seasonally Frozen Ground Changes in the Northern Hemisphere Based on Observations
Chen et al., Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 10.1029/2022jd037306

Instrumentation & observational methods of climate change, effects

A simplified procedure to assess the effects of climate change on landslide hazard in a small area of the Southern Apennines in Italy
Rianna et al., Natural Hazards, 10.1007/s11069-022-05656-6

Effects of variable, ice-ocean surface properties and air mass transformation on the Arctic radiative energy budget
Wendisch et al., [journal not provided], Open Access pdf 10.5194/acp-2022-614

ERA5-Derived Precipitation: Insights from Historical Rainfall Networks in Southern Africa
Terblanche et al., Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, 10.1175/jamc-d-21-0096.1

Global trends in marine heatwaves and cold spells: The impacts of fixed versus changing baselines
Chiswell, Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 10.1029/2022jc018757

Modeling, simulation & projection of climate change, effects

Quantifying Eddy Generation and Dissipation in the Jet Response to Upper- versus Lower-Level Thermal Forcing
Nie et al., Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, 10.1175/jas-d-21-0307.1

Symmetric and Antisymmetric Components of Polar-Amplified Warming
Hill et al., Journal of Climate, Open Access pdf 10.1175/jcli-d-20-0972.1

Using CMIP6 models to assess the significance of the observed trend in the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation
Kelson et al., Geophysical Research Letters, 10.1029/2022gl100202

Advancement of climate & climate effects modeling, simulation & projection

Antarctic surface climate and surface mass balance in the Community Earth System Model version 2 during the satellite era and into the future (1979–2100)
Dunmire et al., The Cryosphere, Open Access pdf 10.5194/tc-16-4163-2022

Benchmarking Simulated Precipitation Variability Amplitude across Time Scales
Ahn et al., Journal of Climate, 10.1175/jcli-d-21-0542.1

Changes in IPCC scenario assessment emulators between SR1.5 and AR6 unravelled
Nicholls et al., [journal not provided], Open Access 10.1002/essoar.10512424.1

Correcting ozone biases in a global chemistry–climate model: implications for future ozone
Liu et al., Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, Open Access pdf 10.5194/acp-22-12543-2022

Correction for Barton et al., How to make models more useful
, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Open Access 10.1073/pnas.2215077119

Evaluation of CMIP6 GCMs over the CONUS for downscaling studies
Ashfaq et al., [journal not provided], Open Access 10.1002/essoar.10510589.1

Improvement and Uncertainties of Global Simulation of Sulfate Concentration and Radiative Forcing in CESM2
Ge et al., [journal not provided], 10.1002/essoar.10512154.1

Inter-model Spread of the Simulated East Asian Summer Monsoon Rainfall and the Associated Atmospheric Circulations from the CMIP6 Models
Huang et al., Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 10.1029/2022jd037371

Modeled Interannual Variability of Arctic Sea Ice Cover is within Observational Uncertainty
Wyburn-Powell et al., Journal of Climate, 10.1175/jcli-d-21-0958.1

Reducing uncertainty in local temperature projections
, Journal of Development and Social Sciences, Open Access pdf 10.47205/jdss.2021(2-iv)74

The Radiative Effect on Cloud Microphysics from the Arctic to the Tropics
Zeng et al., Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, Open Access pdf 10.1175/bams-d-21-0039.1

Cryosphere & climate change

Air temperature — not just ocean warming — affects submarine melting of Greenland glaciers
, Nature Geoscience, 10.1038/s41561-022-01036-8

Assessing bare-ice albedo simulated by MAR over the Greenland ice sheet (2000–2021) and implications for meltwater production estimates
Antwerpen et al., The Cryosphere, Open Access pdf 10.5194/tc-16-4185-2022

Assessment of Arctic Seasonal Snow Cover Rates of Change
Derksen & Mudryk, [journal not provided], Open Access pdf 10.5194/tc-2022-197

Assessment of rock glaciers, water storage, and permafrost distribution in Guokalariju, Tibetan Plateau
Li et al., [journal not provided], Open Access pdf 10.5194/tc-2022-178

Cast shadows reveal changes in glacier thickness
Pfau et al., [journal not provided], Open Access pdf 10.5194/tc-2022-194

Helheim Glacier ice velocity variability responds to runoff and terminus position change at different timescales
Ultee et al., Nature Communications, Open Access pdf 10.1038/s41467-022-33292-y

Nudging Observed Winds in the Arctic to Quantify Associated Sea Ice Loss from 1979 to 2020
Ding et al., Journal of Climate, 10.1175/jcli-d-21-0893.1

Seasonal land-ice-flow variability in the Antarctic Peninsula
Boxall et al., The Cryosphere, Open Access pdf 10.5194/tc-16-3907-2022

The unquantified mass loss of Northern Hemisphere marine-terminating glaciers from 2000–2020
Kochtitzky et al., Nature Communications, Open Access pdf 10.1038/s41467-022-33231-x

Understanding model spread in sea ice volume by attribution of model differences in seasonal ice growth and melt
West et al., The Cryosphere, Open Access pdf 10.5194/tc-16-4013-2022

Sea level & climate change

Observation-based trajectory of future sea level for the coastal United States tracks near high-end model projections
Hamlington et al., Communications Earth & Environment, Open Access pdf 10.1038/s43247-022-00537-z


A paleoprecipitation and paleotemperature reconstruction of the Last Interglacial in the southeastern Alps
Honiat et al., [journal not provided], Open Access pdf 10.5194/cp-2022-78

Canadian forest fires, Icelandic volcanoes and increased local dust observed in six shallow Greenland firn cores
Kjær et al., Climate of the Past, Open Access pdf 10.5194/cp-18-2211-2022

Meteorological and climatological triggers of notable past and present bark beetle outbreaks in the Czech Republic
Brázdil et al., Climate of the Past, Open Access pdf 10.5194/cp-18-2155-2022

Tree-ring-based seasonal temperature reconstructions and ecological implications of recent warming on oak forest health in the Zagros Mountains, Iran
Arsalani et al., International Journal of Biometeorology, Open Access pdf 10.1007/s00484-022-02380-5

Uniformitarian prediction of early-Pleistocene atmospheric CO2
Liautaud & Huybers, [journal not provided], Open Access pdf 10.31223/x5kh17

Biology & climate change, related geochemistry

Assisted migration is plausible for a boreal tree species under climate change: A quantitative and population genetics study of trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides Michx.) in western Canada
Ding & Brouard, Ecology and Evolution, 10.1002/ece3.9384

Blowing hot and cold: Glacier microclimate can help understand impacts of climate change on forests communities
Stoffel, Geophysical Research Letters, Open Access pdf 10.1029/2022gl100883

Browning affects pelagic productivity in northern lakes by surface water warming and carbon fertilization
Puts et al., Global Change Biology, 10.1111/gcb.16469

Co-occurring anthropogenic stressors reduce the timeframe of environmental viability for the world’s coral reefs
Setter et al., PLOS Biology, Open Access pdf 10.1371/journal.pbio.3001821

Dung-visiting beetle diversity is mainly affected by land use, while community specialization is driven by climate
Englmeier et al., Ecology and Evolution, Open Access pdf 10.1002/ece3.9386

Early life stages of a Mediterranean coral are vulnerable to ocean warming and acidification
Carbonne et al., Biogeosciences, Open Access pdf 10.5194/bg-19-4767-2022

Ecological and methodological drivers of non-stationarity in tree growth response to climate
Tumajer et al., Global Change Biology, 10.1111/gcb.16470

Experimental considerations of acute heat stress assays to quantify coral thermal tolerance
Nielsen et al., Scientific Reports, Open Access pdf 10.1038/s41598-022-20138-2

Factors influencing terrestriality in primates of the Americas and Madagascar
Eppley et al., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Open Access 10.1073/pnas.2121105119

Intraspecific variation reshapes coral assemblages under elevated temperature and acidity
McWilliam et al., Ecology Letters, 10.1111/ele.14114

Local chronicles reveal the effect of anthropogenic and climatic impacts on local extinctions of Chinese pangolins (Manis pentadactyla) in mainland China
Gao et al., Ecology and Evolution, Open Access pdf 10.1002/ece3.9388

Phenology and plasticity can prevent adaptive clines in thermal tolerance across temperate mountains: The importance of the elevation-time axis
Gutiérrez?Pesquera et al., Ecology and Evolution, Open Access pdf 10.1002/ece3.9349

Predicting the distributions of Scleroderma guani (Hymenoptera: Bethylidae) under climate change in China
Deng et al., Ecology and Evolution, 10.1002/ece3.9410

Recent Changes of Phytoplankton Bloom Phenology in the Northern High-Latitude Oceans (2003 – 2020)
Zhao et al., Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 10.1029/2021jc018346

Tipping points of marine phytoplankton to multiple environmental stressors
Ban et al., Nature Climate Change, 10.1038/s41558-022-01489-0

Unique thermal sensitivity imposes a cold-water energetic barrier for vertical migrators
Seibel & Birk, Nature Climate Change, Open Access pdf 10.1038/s41558-022-01491-6

GHG sources & sinks, flux, related geochemistry

Climate-driven decoupling of wetland and upland biomass trends on the mid-Atlantic coast
Chen & Kirwan, Nature Geoscience, 10.1038/s41561-022-01041-x

Modelling the growth of atmospheric nitrous oxide using a global hierarchical inversion
Stell et al., Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, Open Access pdf 10.5194/acp-22-12945-2022

Reservoir CO2 and CH4 emissions and their climate impact over the period 1900–2060
Soued et al., Nature Geoscience, 10.1038/s41561-022-01004-2

Viruses direct carbon cycling in lake sediments under global change
Braga et al., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 10.1073/pnas.2202261119


A novel decision-making tool for performance evaluation of vegetable oils used as heat transfer fluids in concentrated solar power plants
Zindani et al., Environment, Development and Sustainability, 10.1007/s10668-021-01991-z

Energy-space concept for the transition to a low-carbon energy society
Siksnelyte-Butkiene et al., Environment, Development and Sustainability, 10.1007/s10668-022-02697-6

From coal phase-out to net zero: Driving factors of UK climate policy
Walk & Stognief, Environmental Science & Policy, 10.1016/j.envsci.2022.09.019

Numerical design and simulation of a thermodynamic solar solution for a pilot residential building at the edge of the sun-belt region
Merabet et al., Environment, Development and Sustainability, 10.1007/s10668-021-01956-2

Step-by-step desolvation enables high-rate and ultra-stable sodium storage in hard carbon anodes
Lu et al., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 10.1073/pnas.2210203119

The 3-machines energy transition model: Exploring the energy frontiers for restoring a habitable climate
Desing et al., Earth’s Future, Open Access pdf 10.1029/2022ef002875

The role of hydrogen and fuel cell technology in providing security for the UK energy system
Al-Mufachi & Shah, Energy Policy, 10.1016/j.enpol.2022.113286

Vertically assembled nanosheet networks for high-density thick battery electrodes
Ju et al., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Open Access 10.1073/pnas.2212777119

Geoengineering climate

Detecting changes in global extremes under the GLENS-SAI climate intervention strategy
Barnes et al., [journal not provided], Open Access 10.1002/essoar.10511813.1

Potential for perceived failure of stratospheric aerosol injection deployment
Keys et al., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Open Access 10.1073/pnas.2210036119


Comparison of particle number size distribution trends in ground measurements and climate models
Leinonen et al., [journal not provided], Open Access pdf 10.5194/acp-2022-225

Higher Sensitivity of Northern Hemisphere Monsoon to Anthropogenic Aerosolthan Greenhouse Gases
Cao et al., Geophysical Research Letters, 10.1029/2022gl100270

Invisible ship tracks show large cloud sensitivity to aerosol
Manshausen et al., Nature, Open Access pdf 10.1038/s41586-022-05122-0

Resilience of UK crop yields to compound climate change
Slater et al., Earth System Dynamics, Open Access pdf 10.5194/esd-13-1377-2022

Shipping regulations lead to large reduction in cloud perturbations
Watson-Parris et al., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Open Access 10.1073/pnas.2206885119

The Role of Anthropogenic Aerosol Forcing in the 1850–1985 Strengthening of the AMOC in CMIP6 Historical Simulations
Robson et al., Journal of Climate, Open Access pdf 10.1175/jcli-d-22-0124.1

Using modelled relationships and satellite observations to attribute modelled aerosol biases over biomass burning regions
Zhong et al., Nature Communications, Open Access pdf 10.1038/s41467-022-33680-4

Climate change communications & cognition

Addressing women’s climate change awareness in Sindh, Pakistan: an empirical study of rural and urban women
Memon et al., Climate and Development, 10.1080/17565529.2022.2125784

Climate anxiety, wellbeing and pro-environmental action: Correlates of negative emotional responses to climate change in 32 countries
Ogunbode et al., Journal of Environmental Psychology, Open Access 10.1016/j.jenvp.2022.101887

Agronomy, animal husbundry, food production & climate change

Access to climate information services and climate-smart agriculture in Kenya: a gender-based analysis
Ngigi & Muange, Climatic Change, Open Access pdf 10.1007/s10584-022-03445-5

Adoption of climate-smart agricultural practices by smallholder farmers in rural Ghana: An application of the theory of planned behavior
Atta-Aidoo et al., PLOS Climate, Open Access pdf 10.1371/journal.pclm.0000082

Changes in the pattern of heat waves and the impacts on Holstein cows in a subtropical region
Manica et al., International Journal of Biometeorology, 10.1007/s00484-022-02374-3

Characterizing and tailoring climate change adaptation practices into a diversified agroecosystem: an evidence from smallholder farmers in Ethiopia
Adego, Environment, Development and Sustainability, 10.1007/s10668-021-01986-w

Climatology and trends in temperature-based agroclimatic indices over western Anatolia, Türkiye
Ye?il?rmak, Theoretical and Applied Climatology, 10.1007/s00704-022-04229-8

Effect of indigenous and scientific forecasts on pastoralists’ climate change perceptions in the Rwenzori region, Western Uganda
Nkuba et al., Climate and Development, 10.1080/17565529.2022.2119831

Nitrogenous fertilizers: impact on environment sustainability, mitigation strategies, and challenges
Tyagi et al., International Journal of Environmental Science and Technology, 10.1007/s13762-022-04027-9

The fall of the summer truffle: Recurring hot, dry summers result in declining fruitbody production of Tuber aestivum in Central Europe
Steidinger et al., Global Change Biology, Open Access pdf 10.1111/gcb.16424

Warming reduces global agricultural production by decreasing cropping frequency and yields
Zhu et al., Nature Climate Change, 10.1038/s41558-022-01492-5

Hydrology, hydrometeorology & climate change

Changes in extreme daily rainfall characteristics in South Africa: 1921–2020
McBride et al., Weather and Climate Extremes, Open Access 10.1016/j.wace.2022.100517

Dynamic downscaling simulation and projection of precipitation extremes over China under a shared socioeconomic pathway scenario
Luo et al., Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 10.1029/2022jd037133

Future projection of extreme precipitation within CORDEX East Asia phase II: multi-model ensemble
Hui et al., Theoretical and Applied Climatology, 10.1007/s00704-022-04223-0

Projection of precipitation extremes in China’s mainland based on the statistical downscaled data from 27 GCMs in CMIP6
Wang et al., Atmospheric Research, 10.1016/j.atmosres.2022.106462

Rarest rainfall events will see the greatest relative increase in magnitude under future climate change
Gründemann et al., Communications Earth & Environment, Open Access pdf 10.1038/s43247-022-00558-8

Respective contributions of precipitation and potential evapotranspiration to long-term changes in global drought duration and intensity
Wang et al., International Journal of Climatology, 10.1002/joc.7887

Runoff Regime, Change, and Attribution in the Upper Syr Darya and Amu Darya, Central Asia
Huang et al., Journal of Hydrometeorology, 10.1175/jhm-d-22-0036.1

Winter runoff events pose an unquantified continental-scale risk of high wintertime nutrient export
Seybold et al., Environmental Research Letters, Open Access 10.1088/1748-9326/ac8be5

Climate change economics

Assessing the interdependence among renewable and non-renewable energies, economic growth, and CO2 emissions in Mexico
Salazar-Núñez et al., Environment, Development and Sustainability, 10.1007/s10668-021-01968-y

On the Interpretation and Measurement of Technology-Adjusted Emissions Embodied in Trade
Darwili & Schröder, Environmental and Resource Economics, Open Access pdf 10.1007/s10640-022-00725-7

Picturing the future of carbon-dioxide emissions: the role of informal economy
Karaduman, Environment, Development and Sustainability, 10.1007/s10668-022-02695-8

The Poverty Impacts of Labor Heat Stress in West Africa under a Warming Climate
Saeed et al., Earth’s Future, 10.1029/2022ef002777

Tourism, renewable energy and CO2 emissions: evidence from Europe and Central Asia
Salahodjaev et al., Environment, Development and Sustainability, 10.1007/s10668-021-01993-x

Climate change and the circular economy

A closed-loop supply chain model with carbon emission and pricing decisions under an intuitionistic fuzzy environment
Karthick & Uthayakumar, Environment, Development and Sustainability, 10.1007/s10668-022-02631-w

Climate change mitigation public policy research

Agent-based modelling of alternative futures in the British land use system
Brown et al., Earth’s Future, Open Access pdf 10.1029/2022ef002905

Energy-efficiency policies for decarbonising residential heating in Spain: A fuzzy cognitive mapping approach
López-Bernabé et al., Energy Policy, 10.1016/j.enpol.2022.113211

Observed changes in China’s methane emissions linked to policy drivers
Zhang et al., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 10.1073/pnas.2202742119

Prospect of water energy environment nexus under energy and climate change scenarios (case study: Urmia Lake Basin)
Moadel et al., International Journal of Environmental Science and Technology, 10.1007/s13762-022-04244-2

Study on the effect of carbon trading regulation on green innovation and heterogeneity analysis from China
Liu et al., Energy Policy, 10.1016/j.enpol.2022.113290

Unequal age-based household carbon footprint in China
Zhang et al., Climate Policy, 10.1080/14693062.2022.2132200

Climate change adaptation & adaptation public policy research

Flexibility for intergenerational justice in climate resilience decision-making: an application on sea-level rise in the Netherlands
Teodoro et al., Sustainability Science, Open Access pdf 10.1007/s11625-022-01233-9

Gendered (im)mobility: emotional decisions of staying in the context of climate risks in Bangladesh
Tripathy Furlong et al., Regional Environmental Change, Open Access pdf 10.1007/s10113-022-01974-4

Investing in resilience and making investments resilient
Hallegatte & Li, PLOS Climate, Open Access pdf 10.1371/journal.pclm.0000077

Leveraging Governance Performance to Enhance Climate Resilience
Rölfer et al., Earth’s Future, 10.1029/2022ef003012

Planning for Climate Migration in Great Lake Legacy Cities
Van Berkel et al., Earth’s Future, Open Access pdf 10.1029/2022ef002942

Viability, efficiency, resilience and equity: Using very diverse indicators to deal with uncertainties of future events
Martin et al., Environmental Science & Policy, 10.1016/j.envsci.2022.09.011

Climate change impacts on human health

Climate change, pollution, deforestation and mental health: Research trends, gaps and ethical considerations
Wigand et al., GeoHealth, 10.1029/2022gh000632

Climate change & geopolitics

The climate of counterinsurgency and the future of security in the Sahel
Charbonneau, Environmental Science & Policy, Open Access 10.1016/j.envsci.2022.09.021


An updated climatology of atmospheric blocking in the eastern Atlantic-European region
Toumpos et al., International Journal of Climatology, 10.1002/joc.7889

Assessing natural global catastrophic risks
Baum, Natural Hazards, Open Access pdf 10.1007/s11069-022-05660-w

Challenging the values of the polluter elite: A global consequentialist response to Evensen and Graham’s (2022) ‘The irreplaceable virtues of in-person conferences’
Whitmarsh & Kreil, Journal of Environmental Psychology, 10.1016/j.jenvp.2022.101881

Drivers of urban heat in Hong Kong over the past 116 years
Yee & Kaplan Kaplan, Urban Climate, Open Access 10.1016/j.uclim.2022.101308

Informed opinion, nudges & major initiatives

Climate change and the threat to civilization
Steel et al., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Open Access 10.1073/pnas.2210525119

Floods across Pakistan: a wake-up call to the world
Shakoor, Natural Hazards, 10.1007/s11069-022-05657-5

Interactions between climate and COVID-19
Ford et al., The Lancet Planetary Health, Open Access pdf 10.1016/s2542-5196(22)00174-7

The 3-machines energy transition model: Exploring the energy frontiers for restoring a habitable climate
Desing et al., Earth’s Future, Open Access pdf 10.1029/2022ef002875

Why nations lead or lag in energy transitions
Meckling et al., Science, Open Access 10.1126/science.adc9973

Articles/Reports from Agencies and Non-Governmental Organizations Addressing Aspects of Climate Change

Global coal-to-gas switch threatens climate goals, Jenny Martos, Global Energy Monitor

The global pivot away from coal risks become a global pivot toward new gas projects. The author found that approximately 89.6 gigawatts (GW) of gas plants in development, totaling 5,070 million tonnes of CO2e lifetime emissions if built, are coal-to-gas conversions or replacements. The economic case for leapfrogging gas and switching to renewables is supported by the increased volatility of gas prices and the tightening supply of imported gas to Asian countries, as well as the rapidly declining costs of renewables and battery storage. Any reductions in CO2 emissions from canceling coal plants could be offset by an increase in methane emissions, a more potent greenhouse gas. These gas projects will undermine countries’ climate commitments and the successful work of activists to gradually shut down the coal plant pipeline. Expanding gas-fired capacity poses the risk that plants built now could lock in gas use for decades. Mitigating the worst impacts of the climate crisis and meeting global climate goals depends on transitioning to renewables without any new investment in fossil fuel infrastructure.

U.S. Air Force Climate Action Plan, Department of the Air Force

Climate change is reshaping the increasingly complex global security environment and the Department of the Air Force must adapt and respond to that threat. Make no mistake – the department’s mission remains to fly, fight, and win, anytime and anywhere. We are focused on modernization and improving our operational posture relative to our pacing challenge: China. We remain ready to respond and achieve air and space dominance when and where the nation needs us. Our mission remains unchanged, but we recognize that the world is facing ongoing and accelerating climate change and we must be prepared to respond, fight, and win in this constantly changing world. The department will address the challenges and risks presented by climate change through the implementation of three climate priorities: (1) Maintain air and space dominance in the face of climate risks; (2) Make climateinformed decisions; and (3) Optimize energy use and pursue alternative energy sources. We cannot delay in addressing the impacts of climate change. Alongside industry, government, and international allies and partners, the Department of the Air Force will invest in critical capabilities and technologies to modernize the force to be more ready and resilient. Our investments will target infrastructure, weapon systems, technology, and equipment that are demonstrably more efficient and combat-credible today to improve Air Force and Space Force warfighting capability tomorrow.

Army Climate Strategy Climate Implementation Plan, Department of the Army

Climate change poses an immediate and serious threat to U.S. national security and affects how and where the Army trains and operates. The Total Army must train, modernize, and remain ready to deploy, fight, and win the nation’s wars. Extreme weather events, soaring average temperatures, and other hazards caused by climate change are increasing the risk to military operations and forces at home and in many parts of the world. Adapting the Army to climate change will return significant, lasting advantages in training, readiness, and capabilities at strategic and operational levels. The implementation plan describes concrete tasks, metrics, and resources necessary over the next five fiscal years to establish progress and lay the foundation for enduring change beyond 2027.

Wrong reaction: Why ‘next-generation’ nuclear is not a credible energy solution, Dave Sweeney and Jim Green, Australian Conservation Foundation

The pressing need to transition from fossil fuel energy to a low carbon future has seen renewed calls for domestic nuclear power in Australia’s political arena. But ‘next generation’ nuclear is not a credible energy response and the pursuit of nuclear power in Australia makes no sense. It would slow the transition to a low-carbon economy. It would increase electricity costs. It would unnecessarily introduce challenges and risks associated with high-level nuclear waste management and the potential for catastrophic accidents, with inter-generational economic implications for Australian taxpayers. In short, Australia’s energy future is renewable, not radioactive. The authors explore the global status of small modular reactors and wider ‘next-generation’ nuclear technology and whether this technology is fit for purpose in Australia.

Stop Funding Heat. Supporters Guide. How to Make Climate Denial Unprofitable, Stop Funding Heat

The toolkit is a comprehensive guide on how people can help make climate denial and climate misinformation unprofitable.

Deactivated: How Electric Utilities Turned Off the Data-Sharing Features of 14 Million Smart Meter, Mission:Data

According to the author’s analysis, a decade after American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funded the installation of 17.38 million advanced meters nationwide, most of the data access benefits promised to customers have been deactivated. Despite 89.7% of federally-funded meters having real-time access capabilities, today only 2.9% are enabled. This essential feature of advanced metering has been rendered unusable in 13.99 million meters funded by federal taxpayers. Furthermore, only 14.3% of customers are offered an application programming interface (API) by their electric utility in order to access new energy management tools. While 77 utilities received federal funds for advanced metering, today only two utilities provide APIs to access smart meter data.

Investing in Climate Disaster: World Bank Finance for Fossil Fuels, Climate Action Network International

The authors put a spotlight on the 10 largest directly financed projects supported by the World Bank Group in the period 2018-21. It further looks at five additional case studies. The authors show that even after the Paris Agreement, climate science and climate impacts should have been focusing minds at the WBG on the need for a transition to clean renewable sources of energy, the Group remained in a fossil-funding paradigm, harmful to people, countries, and the planet.

Climate Adaptation Plan 2022 Progress Report, Department of Defense

The report summarizes the significant steps the department has taken to address climate-related threats across the five lines of effort outlined in the 2021 Climate Adaptation Plan signed by Secretary of Defense Austin in 2021.

Surging Power Outages and Climate Change, Climate Central

Large-scale power outages are increasingly common across the United States. Damaging storms, extreme weather, and growing demand for electricity are straining the nation’s aging power infrastructure. Disruptions in the electrical grid affect millions of people each year, putting public health and safety at risk. Power failures have cascading effects on other infrastructure and cost billions of dollars annually. Between 2000 and 2021, about 83% of reported major outages in the U.S. were attributed to weather-related events. Climate change is increasing the frequency and intensity of the extreme weather that wreaks havoc on the power grid—from wildfires to heat waves and hurricanes. The authors analyzed data on major power outages in the U.S. from 2000-2021. In this report, the authors summarize key findings about power outages and weather events; illustrate how extreme weather is affecting electrical infrastructure; and outline expectations for the power grid in the face of climate change.

Interconnection Cost Analysis in the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) Territory, Seel et al, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Electric transmission system operators (ISOs, RTOs, or utilities) require new large generators seeking to connect to the grid to undergo a series of impact studies before they can be built. This process establishes what new transmission equipment or upgrades may be needed before a project can connect to the system and assigns the costs of that equipment. the authors have collected interconnection cost data from interconnection studies for the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), representing nearly 50% of all projects requesting interconnection from 2010 to 2020. The authors found that average interconnection costs have grown as the number of interconnection requests has escalated; projects that have completed all required interconnection studies have the lowest cost compared to applicants still actively working through the interconnection process or those that have withdrawn; broader network upgrade costs are the primary driver of recent cost increase; potential interconnection costs for wind, storage, and solar are larger than for natural gas; larger generators have greater interconnection costs in absolute terms, but economies of scale exist on a per kW basis; and interconnection costs vary by location.

Recommendations for the Next Colorado River Operating Guidelines, Baker et al, Water Education Foundation

The authors seek to provide Colorado River water managers and the river community with management suggestions. The focal point of the report is to look specifically at the renegotiation of the Interim Guidelines and provide recommendations for managing the Colorado River post-2026. Recommendations include improving the planning process through increased frequency, communication, and engagement; establishing a more holistic approach to systems management that balances water use with available supply and inflows that provides flexibility and allows the system to recover and build resilience; leveraging the political power of the Colorado River Basin to push Congress for large-scale, predictable federal investment; and incorporate the environment in the next round of Colorado River operating guidelines.

National Strategy for the Arctic Region, The White House

The United States seeks an Arctic region that is peaceful, stable, prosperous, and cooperative. The National Strategy for the Arctic Region articulates an affirmative U.S. agenda over the next 10 years, from 2022 to 2032, to realize this vision. This strategy, an update of its 2013 predecessor, addresses the climate crisis with greater urgency and directs new investments in sustainable development to improve livelihoods for Arctic residents while conserving the environment. It also acknowledges increasing strategic competition in the Arctic since 2013, exacerbated by Russia’s unprovoked war in Ukraine, and seeks to position the United States to both effectively compete and manage tensions. The strategy is intended to serve as a framework to guide the U.S. government’s approach to tackling emerging challenges and opportunities in the Arctic.

High temperatures exacerbated by climate change made 2022 Northern Hemisphere soil moisture droughts more likely, Schumacher et al, World Weahter Attribution

Heat and low rainfall in West-Central Europe had far-reaching impacts on a variety of sectors including human health, energy, agriculture, and municipal water supply. It was exacerbated by e.g. poor water infrastructure and leakages, and it came at a time when food and energy prices were already high resulting in compounding social and economic impacts. In this study, the authors focus on the dry soils which caused severe economic and ecological impacts across the Northern Hemisphere (excluding the tropical regions) and were particularly severe in West-Central Europe. The agricultural and ecological drought from June to August 2022 was examined for two regions, including the North-Hemisphere extratropics, and West-Central Europe. THe authors estimate that human-caused climate change made soil moisture drought conditions in the Northern Hemisphere at least 20 times more likely, threatening crop production and adding further pressure to food prices and food security.

Aviation Climate Finance Using a Global Frequent Flying Levy, Xinyi Sola Zheng and Dan Rutherford, The International Council on Clean Transportation

Aviation is often considered a “hard to abate” sector; it is growing rapidly but struggling to deploy low-carbon technologies due to their high costs. The authors present a case under which progressive taxation, namely a frequent flying levy (FFL), can generate revenues for decarbonization while ensuring equitable distribution of the cost burden. The idea of an FFL is to institute a per-flight tax that increases as a person takes more flights in a year. It has been advocated for in the United Kingdom as a fiscal tool to curb aviation demand and emissions. Research has consistently shown a positive correlation between income and the propensity to fly. Varying the levy based on flying frequency allows the FFL to focus the tax burden on wealthier frequent flyers rather than on people who fly only occasionally. The design could also help ensure that people with lower incomes are not priced out of air travel because of climate policy.

U.S. Government Global Water Strategy, US. Agency for International Development

The global water crisis continues to threaten United States’ (U.S.) national security and prosperity. Water insecurity endangers public health and food security and undermines economic growth. It also deepens inequalities and increases the likelihood of conflict and state failure. Global shocks and stressors, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change, highlight the importance of strong water, sanitation, and hygiene services, finance, governance, and institutions. To overcome these challenges, the U.S. government will continue to work toward its vision of a water-secure world. This vision is supported by a goal of building health, prosperity, stability, and resilience through sustainable and equitable water resources management and access to safe drinking water, sanitation services, and hygiene practices.

National Strategy to Develop Statistics For Environmental Economic Decisions, The White House

Nature provides people with important services and economic opportunities. Nature supports recreational opportunities and tourism, provides food and fiber, and reduces air pollution that supports health and worker productivity. With every passing year, scientists, innovators, and economists discover more evidence about how the economy relies on nature and how economic activities change nature’s ability to provide services. The fact that nature provides people with services now and opportunities in the future is why economists refer to nature as a form of capital. This natural capital supports economic prosperity in similar ways to the financial capital that is traded on Wall Street or the buildings and machines that make up the physical capital on Main Street. The strategy charts a course to measure natural capital in official U.S. economic statistics. The current absence of these important economic metrics and the omission of nature from the national balance sheet leads to the erosion of current and future economic opportunities. The proposed expansion of the national economic accounting system seeks to provide new information to capture links between nature and the economy. The strategy uses existing authorities and builds on and integrates numerous existing natural capital efforts across many federal agencies. The resulting multi-year effort would lead to more inclusive and forward-looking conversations about “the economy.” It would provide and organize the information needed to make informed decisions that enhance economic prosperity in the present while securing future nature-dependent economic opportunities. Why is a plan needed? The U.S. current national economic accounts—the organized data describing the U.S.economy, often summarized as Gross Domestic Product (GDP)—are largely disconnected from the natural world. Yet American families, American businesses, and the American economy depend on nature.

PG&E Independent Safety Monitor Status Update Report, Filsinger Energy Partners, California Public Utilities Commission

The authors were hired by the California Public Utilities Commission as an independent safety monitor to assess PG&E’s safety and risk associated with PG&E’s electric and natural gas operations and infrastructure given their potential contribution to wildfire initiation and propagation.

Downstream Benefits of Retrofitting Aged DoD Building Stock With a Focus on Increasing Building Envelope Efficiency, Shawn Reed, Naval Postgraduate School

The author examines the downstream benefits of retrofitting current building stock on Department of Defense (DOD) installations. A holistic approach is necessary to achieve the objectives laid out by the executive branch to achieve a net-zero emissions building portfolio by 2045. Current procurement standards address this objective with new construction; however, most buildings within the DoD stock were built ahead of these initiatives and 29% have exceeded their life expectancies. Since this represents a large portion of the DoD building stock, priority should be given to building envelope retrofit projects to reduce the thermal demand in a logically sequenced approach toward net-zero goals. These initial steps are necessary to improve efficiencies that will lead to reduced demand and facilitate downstream investments in alternative and reduced-emissions systems.

Obtaining articles without journal subscriptions

We know it’s frustrating that many articles we cite here are not free to read. One-off paid access fees are generally astronomically priced, suitable for such as On a Heuristic Point of View Concerning the Production and Transformation of Light”  but not as a gamble on unknowns. With a median world income of US$ 9,373, for most of us US$ 42 is significant money to wager on an article’s relevance and importance. 

  • Unpaywall offers a browser extension for Chrome and Firefox that automatically indicates when an article is freely accessible and provides immediate access without further trouble. Unpaywall is also unscammy, works well, is itself offered free to use. The organizers (a legitimate nonprofit) report about a 50% success rate
  • The weekly New Research catch is checked against the Unpaywall database with accessible items being flagged. Especially for just-published articles this mechansim may fail. If you’re interested in an article title and it is not listed here as “open access,” be sure to check the link anyway. 

How is New Research assembled?

Most articles appearing here are found via  RSS feeds from journal publishers, filtered by search terms to produce raw output for assessment of relevance. 

Relevant articles are then queried against the Unpaywall database, to identify open access articles and expose useful metadata for articles appearing in the database. 

The objective of New Research isn’t to cast a tinge on scientific results, to color readers’ impressions. Hence candidate articles are assessed via two metrics only:

  • Was an article deemed of sufficient merit by a team of journal editors and peer reviewers? The fact of journal RSS output assigns a “yes” to this automatically. 
  • Is an article relevant to the topic of anthropogenic climate change? Due to filter overlap with other publication topics of inquiry, of a typical week’s 550 or so input articles about 1/4 of RSS output makes the cut.

A few journals offer public access to “preprint” versions of articles for which the review process is not yet complete. For some key journals this all the mention we’ll see in RSS feeds, so we include such items in New Research. These are flagged as “preprint.”

The section “Informed opinion, nudges & major initiatives” includes some items that are not scientific research per se but fall instead into the category of “perspectives,” observations of implications of research findings, areas needing attention, etc.


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Journals covered

A list of journals we cover may be found here. We welcome pointers to omissions, new journals etc.

Previous edition

The previous edition of Skeptical Science New Research may be found here.

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