Skip to Content



Reading Recommendations

September 2019

The quest for the sustainable city

Cities have become epicenters for confronting climate change, harnessing renewable energy, and mitigating pollution. The city plans striving for sustainability are many. Easy solutions are few.



There’s no doubt that Brazil’s fires are caused by deforestation, scientists say

 “Dry weather, wind, and heat”—those were the factors that Brazilian Minister of the Environment Ricardo Salles blamed for the rising number of forest fires in the Amazon in a recent tweet. But scientists in Brazil and elsewhere say there is clear evidence that the spike, which has triggered concerns and anger around the world, is related to a recent rise in deforestation that many say is partly the result of prodevelopment policies of the government of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. 



We Need an International Center for Climate Modeling

The science community must join forces to provide the most accurate long-term predictions and make their results publicly accessible. In face of such large uncertainty it is difficult to agree on a course of action. For this reason, we propose the formation of an international initiative for high resolution climate models with the aim of providing more reliable long-term predictions.


Scientific American

The case for strategic and managed climate retreat

Faced with global warming, rising sea levels, and the climate-related extremes they intensify, the question is no longer whether some communities will retreat—moving people and assets out of harm’s way—but why, where, when, and how they will retreat. To the extent that retreat is already happening, it is typically ad hoc and focused on risk reduction in isolation from broader societal goals.



Soils linked to climate change

Carbon has been stored in the organic layers of boreal-forest soils for hundreds of years. An analysis reveals that this carbon might be released into the atmosphere as global warming increases the frequency of wildfires.



Data assimilation method offers improved hurricane forecasting

A new approach developed at Penn State’s Center for Advanced Data Assimilation and Predictability Techniques can forecast the intensity and trajectory of Hurricane Harvey, according to researchers at Penn State and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. The approach used data from the GOES-16 satellite, coupled with Penn State’s all-sky radiance method, which more accurately modeled Hurricane Harvey. The data is called “all-sky” because it captures data in all weather conditions, including clouds and rain.

Teenage activists and an IPCC triumph

The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a well-timed blueprint for action. Decision makers must now pay attention — a nascent youth movement is showing them how.



Increased atmospheric vapor pressure deficit reduces global vegetation growth

Atmospheric vapor pressure deficit (VPD) is a critical variable in determining plant photosynthesis. Synthesis of four global climate datasets reveals a sharp increase of VPD after the late 1990s. In response, the vegetation greening trend indicated by a satellite-derived vegetation index, which was evident before the late 1990s, was subsequently stalled or reversed. Terrestrial gross primary production derived from two satellite-based models exhibits persistent and widespread decreases after the late 1990s due to increased VPD, which offset the positive CO2 fertilization effect.



Particulate matter-attributable mortality and relationships with carbon dioxide in 250 urban areas worldwide

Urban air pollution is high on global health and sustainability agendas, but information is limited on associated city-level disease burdens. We estimated fine particulate matter (PM2.5) mortality in the 250 most populous cities worldwide using PM2.5 concentrations, population, disease rates, and concentration-response relationships from the Global Burden of Disease 2016 Study



Eat less meat: UN climate-change report calls for change to human diet

The report on global land use and agriculture comes amid accelerating deforestation in the Amazon. Efforts to curb greenhouse-gas emissions and the impacts of global warming will fall significantly short without drastic changes in global land use, agriculture and human diets, leading researchers warn in a high-level report commissioned by the United Nations


Bioenergy not a climate cure-all, panel warns

In the effort to keep the planet from reaching dangerous temperatures, a hybrid approach called BECCS (bioenergy with carbon capture and storage) has a seductive appeal. Crops suck carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere, power plants burn the biomass to generate electricity, and the emissions are captured in a smokestack and pumped underground for long-term storage. Energy is generated even as CO2 is removed: an irresistible win-win. But this week, the United Nations’s climate panel sounded a warning about creating vast bioenergy plantations, which could jeopardize food production, water supplies, and land rights for poor farmers.



Black carbon lofts wildfire smoke high into the stratosphere to form a persistent plume

Extensive and intense wildfires in the Pacific Northwest of the United States in 2017 injected large quantities of smoke into the stratosphere. Yu et al. used satellite observations and modeling to characterize the history and chemistry of that smoke. The smoke rose to altitudes between 12 and 23 kilometers within 2 months owing to solar heating of black carbon. The smoke then remained in the stratosphere for more than 8 months. Photochemical loss of organic carbon resulted in a smoke lifetime 40% shorter than expected.



Emerging Asian aerosol patterns

The climate of South and East Asia is affected by anthropogenic aerosols, but the magnitude of the aerosol imprint is not well known. As regional emissions are rapidly changing, potential related climate risks must be quantified.



Extreme water stress affects a quarter of the world’s population, say experts

Qatar, Israel and Lebanon top list of places with worst shortages, as climate crisis threatens more ‘day zeroes’. A quarter of the world’s population across 17 countries are living in regions of extremely high water stress, a measure of the level of competition over water resources, a new report reveals.


The Guardian

Climate change and overfishing increase neurotoxicant in marine predators

More than three billion people rely on seafood for nutrition. However, fish are the predominant source of human exposure to methylmercury (MeHg), a potent neurotoxic substance. Our model also predicts an estimated 56% increase in tissue MeHg concentrations in Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) due to increases in seawater temperature between a low point in 1969 and recent peak levels—which is consistent with 2017 observations.


Prolongacion Paseo de los Laureles No. 458, Despacho 406
Col. Bosques de las Lomas, Cuajimalpa, C.P. 05120, Mexico, D.F.
Telephone: +00 (52-55) 9177 1670