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Reading Recommendations

July 2019

Climate change made Europe’s mega-heatwave five times more likely

After a series of unusually hot summers, France and other parts of Europe last week experienced another intense heatwave that broke temperature records across the continent. After a seven-day analysis: climate change made the temperatures reached at least five times more likely than they would be in a world without global warming.


Major Medical Groups Release Call to Action on Climate Change

More than 70 medical and public health organizations issued a call to action on climate change yesterday, calling it the “greatest public health challenge of the 21st century.” The climate agenda urges government officials and policymakers to take on a series of priorities, including shifting away from coal and natural gas to renewable energy, supporting greenhouse gas emission reductions, and ensuring residents have access to safe and affordable drinking water.


Scientific American

A global assessment of marine heatwaves and their drivers

Marine heatwaves (MHWs) can cause devastating impacts to marine life. Despite the serious consequences of MHWs, our understanding of their drivers is largely based on isolated case studies rather than any systematic unifying assessment. 


Climate as a risk factor for armed conflict

Research findings on the relationship between climate and conflict are diverse and contested. Here we assess the current understanding of the relationship between climate and conflict, based on the structured judgments of experts from diverse disciplines. These experts agree that climate has affected organized armed conflict within countries. 


New insights into natural variability and anthropogenic forcing of global/regional climate evolution

Because of natural decadal climate variability—Atlantic multi-decadal variability (AMV) and Pacific decadal variability (PDV) —the increase of global mean surface air temperature (GMSAT) has not been monotonic although atmospheric greenhouse-gas (GHG) concentrations have been increasing continuously. It has always been a challenge regarding how to separate the effects of these two factors on GMSAT.


New solar technology could produce clean drinking water for millions in need

Tanklike devices called solar stills use the sun to evaporate dirty or salty water and condense the vapor into safe drinking water. But large, expensive stills can only produce enough water for a small family. Now, researchers have developed a new material that speeds the process of evaporation, enabling a small solar still to provide all the drinking water one family needs. If the technology proves cheap enough, it could provide millions of impoverished people access to clean drinking water.



Committed emissions from existing energy infrastructure jeopardize 1.5 °C climate target

Net anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions must approach zero by mid-century (2050) to stabilize global mean temperature at the levels targeted by international efforts. Yet continued expansion of fossil-fuel energy infrastructure implies already ‘committed’ future CO2emissions. Here we use detailed datasets of current fossil-fuel-burning energy infrastructure in 2018 to estimate regional and sectoral patterns of ‘committed’ CO2 emissions, the sensitivity of such emissions to assumed operating lifetimes and schedules, and the economic value of associated infrastructure.



Air pollution: a global problem needs local fixes

Researchers must find the particles that are most dangerous to health in each place so policies can reduce levels of those pollutants first, urge Xiangdong Li and colleagues.



Tackling climate change to accelerate sustainable development

The 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement share the purpose of creating a more resilient, productive and healthy environment for present and future generations. Nations must seize the opportunity to raise their ambition, realize synergies and minimize trade-offs.


Nature Climate Change

Fear, grief, hope and action

Negative emotions around climate change may inhibit people’s capacity to affect change. New research on tourists’ perceptions of coral bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef suggests that loss associated with iconic places taps into protective sentiments and increases concern, which may encourage collective action.


Nature Climate Change

Pace of Heat Records Will Pick Up with Warming

If greenhouse gases are not curbed, 60 percent of the world will set monthly records by century’s end. extreme temperatures are setting heat records around the world almost every year. And it will become more and more common, scientists say.


Scientific American

The Achilles heel of climate-smart agriculture

Climate-smart food systems are needed to feed growing populations while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and conserving natural resources. However, to be successful, climate-smart agriculture interventions must be equitable and inclusive to overcome trade-offs with other Sustainable Development Goals.


Nature Climate Change

Industrial ammonia production emits more CO2 than any other chemical-making reaction. Chemists want to change that

Scientists around the world are working to reduce how much greenhouse gas the ammonia-making process emits



Innovating a Green Real Deal

A Green Real Deal framework should be structured around a set of key characteristics. It must be science-based and analytically sound. It must be pragmatic in providing maximum optionality and flexibility, enabling a broad coalition to form. It must address all sectors of the economy, particularly those difficult to decarbonize such as transportation, industry, and agriculture. It must have a regional focus, because low-carbon solutions will necessarily be location dependent.



Air-sea disequilibrium enhances ocean carbon storage during glacial periods

The prevailing hypothesis for lower atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations during glacial periods is an increased efficiency of the ocean’s biological pump. However, tests of this and other hypotheses have been hampered by the difficulty to accurately quantify ocean carbon components. Here, we use an observationally constrained earth system model to precisely quantify these components and the role that different processes play in simulated glacial-interglacial CO2 variations.



Soot, sulfate, dust and the climate — three ways through the fog

Greenhouse gases might be the main culprits in the rapid warming of our planet, but particles in the air also play a part. Soot, dust, sulfate and other aerosols can both cool the atmosphere and warm it.



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