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Reading Recommendations

May 2018

Plant responses to CO2 are a question of time

Mark Hovenden, Paul Newton

Rising carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations in the atmosphere as a result of fossil fuel burning are expected to fertilize plants, resulting in faster growth. However, this change is not expected to be the same for all plants. Rather, scientists believe that differences in photosynthetic mechanism favor one plant group—the C3 plants—over the other, the C4 plants. Reich et al. show that, although this expectation is met in the first few years of a long-term experiment, the situation reverses after 15 to 20 years, with important implications for future crop production and ecosystems.



Alternative pathways to the 1.5 °C target reduce the need for negative emission technologies

Detlef P. van Vuuren et. al.

Mitigation scenarios that achieve the ambitious targets included in the Paris Agreement typically rely on greenhouse gas emission reductions combined with net carbon dioxide removal (CDR) from the atmosphere, mostly accomplished through large-scale application of bioenergy with carbon capture and storage, and afforestation. However, CDR strategies face several difficulties such as reliance on underground CO2 storage and competition for land with food production and biodiversity protection. The question arises whether alternative deep mitigation pathways exist.


Nature Climate Change

Evaluation of the impact of Bus Rapid Transit on air pollution in Mexico City

Bel, G., et al

Mexico City’s bus rapid transit (BRT) network, Metrobus, was introduced in an attempt to reduce congestion, increase city transport efficiency and cut air polluting emissions. In June 2005, the first BRT line in the metropolitan area began service.

Science Direct

How cleaner air changes the climate

Bjørn Hallvard Samset

At a global level, aerosols have helped to reduce the warming effect from greenhouse gas emissions, and necessary reductions in air pollution may thus make it harder to achieve ambitious global climate and environmental aims, such as the Paris Agreement’s 2°C target. Furthermore, the local nature of air pollution means that the impacts of changes to aerosol emissions—on temperature, precipitation, extreme events, and health—are likely to differ widely from one place to another.



A North American Climate Boundary Has Shifted 140 Miles East Due to Global Warming


Studying rainfall and temperature data since 1980, Seager and his colleagues found this climatic boundary has already shifted east about 140 miles so that it now sits closer to the 98th meridian. And it will continue to move east as warming global temperatures increase evaporation from the soil and change precipitation patterns, they concluded.


Yale 360

Seasonal and diurnal trends in black carbon properties and co-pollutants in Mexico City

Retama, A., et al

The Mexico City metropolitan area (MCMA) is a region that continues to grow in population and vehicular traffic as well as being the largest source of short-lived climate pollutants (SLCP) in Latin America


Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics

US environmental group wins millions to develop methane-monitoring satellite

Jeff Tollefson

The Environmental Defense Fund is working with researchers at Harvard University on the probe.



North Atlantic circulation slows down

By Summer K. Praetorius

Evidence suggests that the circulation system of the North Atlantic Ocean is in a weakened state that is unprecedented in the past 1,600 years, but questions remain as to when exactly the decline commenced.



An emission processing system for air quality modelling in the Mexico City metropolitan area: Evaluation and comparison of the MOBILE6.2-Mexico and MOVES-Mexico traffic emissions

Guevara, M and Mediavilla, A.

This article describes the High-Elective Resolution Modelling Emission System for Mexico (HERMES-Mex) model, an emission processing tool developed to transform the official Mexico City Metropolitan Area (MCMA) emission inventory into hourly, gridded (up to 1 km2) and speciated emissions used to drive mesoscale air quality simulations with the Community Multi-scale Air Quality (CMAQ) model


Science Direct

How Cities Are Leading The Way On Climate Change

Patrick Kinney & Jon Sawyer

The recent commitments to make Boston carbon neutral by 2050 — by the city of Boston, Boston University, Harvard University and others — is an encouraging sign that local leaders understand the threat of climate change and the need for decisive action.



Why Green Groups Are Split on Subsidizing Carbon Capture Technology


Environmentalists are divided over a provision in the recently approved U.S. budget that increases tax credits for projects that capture and store CO2. Critics say new subsidies for “enhanced oil recovery” included in the budget bill would simply encourage companies to pump more oil.


Yale 360

Seagrass habitat metabolism increases short-term extremes and long-term offset of CO2 under future ocean acidification

Stephen R. Pacella, Cheryl A. Brown, George G. Waldbusser, Rochelle G. Labiosa and Burke Hales

The impacts of ocean acidification in nearshore estuarine environments remain poorly characterized, despite these areas being some of the most ecologically important habitats in the global ocean. Here, we quantify how rising atmospheric CO2 from the years 1765 to 2100 alters high-frequency carbonate chemistry dynamics in an estuarine seagrass habitat. We find that increasing anthropogenic carbon reduces the ability of the system to buffer natural extremes in CO2.



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