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Reading Recommendations

November 2018

Ozone hole modest despite optimum conditions for ozone depletion

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

The ozone hole that forms in the upper atmosphere over Antarctica each September was slightly above average size in 2018, scientists reported today.


Science Daily

Composites from renewable and sustainable resources: Challenges and innovations

Amar K. Mohanty et al.

Greener biocomposites from plant-derived fiber and crop-derived plastics with higher biobased content are continuously being developed. Biodegradable composites have shown potential for major uses in sustainable packaging. Recycled plastic materials originally destined for landfills can be redirected and repurposed for blending in composite applications, thus leading to reduced dependence on virgin petro-based materials.



Emergent constraints on climate sensitivity

Martin Rypdal et al.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has estimated the likely range of equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) to be 1.5–4.5 K. Recently, Cox et al. claimed to have reduced this uncertainty to a likely range of 2.2–3.4 K. However, we believe that their results are derived from incorrect physics and are sensitive to arbitrary methodological choices. The study therefore does not represent a credible constraint on either the IPCC likely range or the range observed in the selected set of climate models.


How Scientists Cracked the Climate Change Case

By Gavin Schmidt

The biggest crime scene on the planet is the planet. We know the earth is warming, but who or what is causing it?


NY Times

The big meltdown


As the Antarctic Peninsula heats up, the rules of life there are being ripped apart. Alarmed scientists aren’t sure what all the change means for the future.


Nat Geo

What Local Climate Actions Would Have the Greatest Impact


In light of even more dire news about our warming planet, leading thinkers tell us the one thing cities and states could do to cut emissions significantly—and fast. A landmark report released by the U.N. last week has laid out the stakes of a warming planet more starkly than ever. Many cities and states are leading the public charge to address this, particularly in the U.S. after President Donald Trump pulled out of the Paris climate accord. But it’s not yet clear what their tangible and collective impact has been.


City Lab

New generation of U.S. satellite microwave sounder achieves high radiometric stability performance for reliable climate change detection

Cheng-Zhi Zou, Mitchell D. Goldberg and Xianjun Hao

Accurate determination of long-term global temperature trends is critically important for the climate science community as well as the public to understand how anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions have influenced global climate change. It also provides an observational record for validating climate model simulations of climate changes in the past, building confidence for the climate models to predict climate changes in the future.



An alternative urban green carpet

Maria Ignatieva and Marcus Hedblom

Although lawns are widespread, their properties have received less attention from the scientific community compared to urban trees or any other types of green areas. Designers, urban planners, and politicians tend to highlight the positive ecosystem services provided by lawns. For example, lawns produce oxygen, sequestrate carbon, remove air pollution, reduce water runoff, increase water infiltration, mitigate soil erosion, and increase groundwater recharging. But perhaps the most important positive ecosystem service is the aesthetic and recreational benefits they provide.



How climate change will affect your health

By Arman Azad, CNN

A new report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns of dire consequences if governments don’t make “rapid, far-reaching, and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society” to stem global warming. But the planet isn’t the only thing at risk as temperatures rise; your health might be in danger, too.



Human exposure factors as potential determinants of the heterogeneity in city-specific associations between PM2.5 and mortality

Baxter, K, L et al

Multi-city population-based epidemiological studies of short-term fine particulate matter (PM2.5) exposures and mortality have observed heterogeneity in risk estimates between cities.



Fair pay for green energy

Claudia Schwirplies

The German Energiewende is an ambitious project, but the expansion of renewables needed to achieve its goals is expensive. Now, research shows that consumers would accept higher levies to finance renewables if exemption policies were abolished, forcing industries to pay their fair share.


Nature Energy

Trade-offs in using European forests to meet climate objectives

Sebastiaan Luyssaert et al.

However, the climate benefits from carbon sequestration through forest management may be reinforced, counteracted or even offset by concurrent management-induced changes in surface albedo, land-surface roughness, emissions of biogenic volatile organic compounds, transpiration and sensible heat flux. Consequently, forest management could offset CO2 emissions without halting global temperature rise. It therefore remains to be confirmed whether commonly proposed sustainable European forest-management portfolios would comply with the Paris Agreement.



Scenarios of energy efficiency and CO2 emissions reduction potential in the buildings sector in China to year 2050

Nan Zhou, Nina Khanna, Wei Feng, Jing Ke & Mark Levine

As China’s rapid urbanization continues and urban dwellers become more affluent, energy use in buildings is expected to grow. To understand how this growth can be slowed, we explore four scenarios for Chinese buildings, ranging from a high-energy-demand scenario with no new energy policies to lowest energy demand under a techno-economic-potential scenario that assumes full deployment of cost-effective efficient and renewable technologies by 2050.


Nature Energy

Filthy air is a global disgrace


Air pollution was once celebrated. Industrialists in Victorian Britain would point to the smoky streets of the Industrial Revolution and see only the signs of wealth and progress. Alerted in the 1960s to the stink of an Alabama paper mill some 30 kilometres away that was reaching the state capital, Governor George Wallace remarked: “Yeah, that’s the smell of prosperity.



Changes in temperature alter the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning

Francisca C. García, Elvire Bestion, Ruth Warfield, and Gabriel Yvon-Durocher

We show that warming and biodiversity loss interact synergistically, impairing the functioning of microbial communities. We found that as temperatures departed from ambient conditions more species were required to maintain ecosystem functioning. Our results suggest interspecific complementarity increased under thermal stress and high-diversity communities that seemed functionally redundant at ambient temperature became more functionally unique as temperatures changed.



Characterization of nitrogen deposition in a megalopolis by means of atmospheric biomonitors

Álvarez D et al

An increase of nitrogen deposition resulting from human activities is not only a major threat for global biodiversity, but also for human health, especially in highly populated regions. It is thus important and in some instances legally mandated to monitor reactive nitrogen species in the atmosphere.

NOX-Valley of Mexico-biomonitors-Nitrogen Deposition-Studies


Key climate panel, citing impending crisis, urges crash effort to reduce emissions

By Dennis Normile

The United Nations’ climate panel has moved the goal posts for limiting climate change, setting the world a staggering challenge. A report released yesterday in Incheon, South Korea, by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says that allowing the planet to warm by more 1.5 degrees Celsius could have dire consequences, and that a speedy transformation of the world’s energy systems is needed to avoid breaching that limit, which is notably tighter than the target of 2 degrees C cited in the Paris Agreement of 2015.



IPCC 1.5 C degree report points to high stakes of climate inaction

Ruby Russel

The UN’s scientific body on climate change says the world could still stay below 1.5 C degrees of warming. Although impacts at 2 C degrees are likely to be more serious than anticipated, political action remains elusive.

Deutsche Welle

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