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Skeptical Science New Research for Week #11, 2021

Posted on 17 March 2021 by Doug Bostrom

Fully conscious, conscientious solar geoengineering

The steady flow of research on carbon sources, sinks and flux is reflective of the tight tolerable "budget" for CO2 in the atmosphere, in our belated recognition and response to emissions accumulating for a very long time. Every ton counts. This is not exactly an expression of desperation but is certainly a hint of the jam we've gotten ourselves into with our accidental climate modification, a collective action we can't call "engineering" but which is definitely the result of scientific research and resultant technological capacity deployed without full circumspection or forethought.

Another indicator is the growing seriousness of purpose with regard to solar geoengineering, a "simple" idea in abstract first proposed more along the lines of a thought experiment but now gaining traction as realization in hardware, as a last-ditch means of avoiding losing habitability of large swathes of equatorial areas of the planet, loss of dry land area in higher latitudes and a general list of negatives too numerous to mention here. 

We're fortunate that our state of information and experience with such matters is far better than in past times. We've committed and learned from a lot of mistakes over the centuries. We've recorded the results of those errors and can form some general conclusions. The takeaway lessons are really more about us as a social species subject to cognitive fallibility than they are matters of science, engineering or subjects for technical failure analysis.

Leaps from bright idea to blackboard, then to blueprint and on to deployment on a massive scale accrue increasing scope of involved and affected actors, actors poorly or not understood or accounted for in the research phase of the long process from neurons firing to functioning hardware.

Even as it doesn't fully account for all factors including those still only in the future, research can inadvertently and hence witlessly shape those same factors and hence our possible future. This is more diplomatically and usefully expressed in a couple of paragraphs from McLaren & Cory's "The politics and governance of research into solar geoengineering" just published in WIREs Climate Change:

In response to a threat such as climate change, most research is seen as inherently “policy-relevant,” generating knowledge that can better inform those making decisions and designing tools to mitigate the threat or its impacts. Practicing researchers often understand policy relevance in terms of a linear or “technocratic” model (Hulme, 2009, p. 102) of science-policy interaction. In this idealized model, policy-makers are rational actors, responding (however imperfectly) to the public interest, informed by objective evaluations of problems and possible responses. Scientific research is independent and objective, enabling better policy-making.

However, for climate science in general, and solar geoengineering research in particular, the situation is rather more complicated. We need not rehearse the extent to which climate science is contested, politicized, and “post-normal” (Funtowicz & Ravetz, 1993; Hulme, 2009). Nor the deep complications and injustices introduced by histories of colonial and post-colonial (resource) exploitation (Ghosh, 2016; Mitchell, 2011; Moore, 2015), and by the ongoing social contestation of climate policy through continued disinformation by vested interests (Oreskes & Conway, 2011). Yet solar geoengineering is further complicated by being primarily a “technological imaginary” (Jasanoff, 2015), which is produced through research, regulation, and opinion (Stilgoe, 2015) and which in turn co-produces (future) societies and international orders.

The article goes on to identify ways to produce superior results to what we might expect from "no plan at all," with regard to the research phase in particular for solar geoengineering. research. Supposing that we've forced ourselves down the path of purposeful interference with the behavior of climate, we have many of the tools we need not to fully repeat prior mistakes, to do a bit better.  But those tools require integrated, coordinated, comprehensive use. Especially we need to be conscious of our hard-won better capabilities, and remember to use them.

It almost goes without saying: witless research, engineering and deployment are what brought us our accidental rapid climate change. Let's not do it again. McClaren & Cory's work is open access, free to read, highly recommended.

87 Articles

Physical science of climate change, effects

The Role of Horizontal Temperature Advection in Arctic Amplification
Clark et al 2021 Journal of Climate
DOI: 10.1175/jcli-d-19-0937.1

Observations of climate change, effects

Time Trends And Persistence In European Temperature Anomalies
Lenti & Gil-Alana 2021 International Journal of Climatology
DOI: 10.1002/joc.7090

Record-breaking daily rainfall in the United Kingdom and the role of anthropogenic forcings
Christidis et al 2021 Atmospheric Science Letters
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1002/asl.1033

Trends in torrential flooding in the Austrian Alps: A combination of climate change, exposure dynamics, and mitigation measures
Schlögl et al 2021 Climate Risk Management
Open Access DOI: 10.1016/j.crm.2021.100294

Increases in Great Lake winds and extreme events facilitate interbasin coupling and reduce water quality in Lake Erie
Jabbari et al 2021 Scientific Reports
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-84961-9

Global Changes in 20-year, 50-year and 100-year River Floods
Slater et al 2021 Geophysical Research Letters
DOI: 10.1029/2020gl091824

Assessment of climate change impact on wintertime meteorology over California using dynamical downscaling method with a bias correction technique
Zhao et al 2021 Climate Dynamics
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1007/s00382-021-05718-8

Seasonal overturn and stratification changes drive deep-water warming in one of Earth’s largest lakes
Anderson et al 2021 Nature Communications
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-21971-1

Cause of an extreme warm and rainy winter in Shanghai in 2019
Pan et al 2021 International Journal of Climatology
DOI: 10.1002/joc.7094

Changes in spring vegetation greenness over Siberia associated with weather disturbances during 1982?2015
Yao et al 2021 International Journal of Climatology
DOI: 10.1002/joc.7095

Precipitation response to climate change and urban development over the continental United States
Georgescu et al 2021 Environmental Research Letters
Open Access DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/abd8ac

Instrumentation & observational methods of climate change, effects

Defining El Niño indices in a warming climate
van Oldenborgh et al 2021 Environmental Research Letters
Open Access DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/abe9ed

Identifying the effects of chronic saltwater intrusion in coastal floodplain swamps using remote sensing
White & Kaplan 2021 Remote Sensing of Environment
DOI: 10.1016/j.rse.2021.112385

Modeling, simulation & projection of climate change, effects

No projected global drylands expansion under greenhouse warming
Berg & McColl 2021 Nature Climate Change
DOI: 10.1038/s41558-021-01007-8

Compatible Fossil Fuel CO2 Emissions in the CMIP6 Earth System Models’ Historical and Shared Socioeconomic Pathway Experiments of the Twenty-First Century

US wildfire potential: a historical view and future projection using high-resolution climate data

Multi-decadal convection-permitting climate projections for China’s Greater Bay Area and surroundings
Qing & Wang 2021 Climate Dynamics
DOI: 10.1007/s00382-021-05716-w

Physical processes driving intensification of future precipitation in the mid- to high latitudes
Poujol et al 2021 Environmental Research Letters
Open Access DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/abdd5b

Advances in climate & climate effects modeling, simulation & projection

Origins of the Excessive Westward Extension of ENSO SST Simulated in CMIP5 and CMIP6 Models

Assessing the Quality of Regional Climate Information
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1175/bams-d-20-0008.1

Evaluation of precipitation simulations in CMIP6 models over Uganda
Ngoma et al 2021 International Journal of Climatology
DOI: 10.1002/joc.7098

An observation-based evaluation and ranking of historical Earth system model simulations in the northwest North Atlantic Ocean
Laurent et al 2020
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.5194/bg-18-1803-2021

Cryosphere & climate change

Accelerated decline of Svalbard coasts fast ice as a result of climate change
Urba?ski & Litwicka 2021
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.5194/tc-2021-21 (preprint)

Partitioning uncertainty in projections of Arctic sea ice
Bonan et al 2021 Environmental Research Letters
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1002/essoar.10504570.1

Investigation of the Arctic Sea ice volume from 2002 to 2018 using multi-source data
Li et al 2020 International Journal of Climatology
DOI: 10.1002/joc.6972

Two decades of dynamic change and progressive destabilization on the Thwaites Eastern Ice Shelf
Alley et al 2021
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.5194/tc-2021-76 (preprint)

Acceleration of western Arctic sea ice loss linked to the Pacific North American pattern
Liu et al 2021 Nature Communications
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-21830-z

Decadal Phase Shift of Summertime Arctic Dipole Pattern and its Nonlinear Effect on Sea Ice Extent
Heo et al 2021 International Journal of Climatology
DOI: 10.1002/joc.7097


Magnitude of the 8.2 ka event freshwater forcing based on stable isotope modelling and comparison to future Greenland melting
Aguiar et al 2021 Scientific Reports
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-84709-5

Biology & climate change

The future of invasive terrestrial vertebrates in Europe under climate and land-use change
Polaina et al 2021 Environmental Research Letters
Open Access DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/abe95e

Habitat amount and distribution modify community dynamics under climate change
Fourcade et al 2021 Ecology Letters
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1111/ele.13691

Increasing aridity will not offset CO2 fertilization in fast-growing eucalypts with access to deep soil water

Threats of global warming to the world’s freshwater fishes
Barbarossa et al 2021 Nature Communications
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-21655-w

Climate-driven impacts of exotic species on marine ecosystems
Bennett et al 2021 Global Ecology and Biogeography
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1111/geb.13283

Elevated CO2 shifts soil microbial communities from K? to r?strategists

Vulnerabilities of protected lands in the face of climate and human footprint changes
Shrestha et al 2021 Nature Communications
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-21914-w

Reduction in the potential distribution of bumble bees (Apidae: Bombus) in Mesoamerica under different climate change scenarios: Conservation implications
Martínez-López et al 2021 Global Change Biology
DOI: 10.1111/gcb.15559

Changes in spring vegetation greenness over Siberia associated with weather disturbances during 1982?2015
Yao et al 2021 International Journal of Climatology
DOI: 10.1002/joc.7095

GHG sources & sinks, flux

Large potentials for energy saving and greenhouse gas emission reductions from large-scale deployment of zero emission building technologies in a national building stock
Sandberg et al 2021 Energy Policy
Open Access DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2020.112114

Microbial activity and root carbon inputs are more important than soil carbon diffusion in simulating soil carbon profiles
Wang et al 2021 Journal of Geophysical Research
DOI: 10.1029/2020jg006205

Chemical characterization of the Punta de Fuencaliente CO2-enriched system (La Palma, NE Atlantic Ocean): a new natural laboratory for ocean acidification studies

Non-linear relationship between urbanization paths and CO2 emissions: A case of South, South-East and East Asian economies

Assessing the representation of the Australian carbon cycle in global vegetation models
Teckentrup et al 2021
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.5194/bg-2021-66 (preprint)

Amounts, dynamics and sequestering of carbon in tropical and subtropical soils: A memory
Nachtergaele 2021 Ambio
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1007/s13280-021-01508-y

Mapping urban building fossil fuel CO 2 emissions with a high spatial and temporal resolution

CO 2 emissions from karst cascade hydropower reservoirs: mechanisms and reservoir effect

Soil carbon persistence governed by plant input and mineral protection at regional and global scales
Chen et al 2021
DOI: 10.1111/ele.13723

Assessing relationship of forest biophysical factors with NDVI for carbon management in key coniferous strata of temperate Himalayas
Wani et al 2021 Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change
DOI: 10.1007/s11027-021-09937-6

Diverging pond dissolved organic matter characteristics yield similar CO 2 flux potentials in a disturbed High Arctic landscape

CO2 removal & mitigation science & engineering

Assessment of future potential carbon sequestration and water consumption in the construction area of the Three-North Shelterbelt Programme in China
Zhang et al 2021 Agricultural and Forest Meteorology
DOI: 10.1016/j.agrformet.2021.108377

Sequestration of CO2 by red mud with flue gas using response surface methodology
Rushendra Revathy et al 2021 Carbon Management
DOI: 10.1080/17583004.2021.1893127

Monitoring geological storage of CO2: a new approach

Contrasting pathways of carbon sequestration in paddy and upland soils
Chen et al 2021 Global Change Biology
DOI: 10.1111/gcb.15595

Contribution of Cedrus deodara forests for climate mitigation along altitudinal gradient in Garhwal Himalaya, India
Sheikh et al 2021 Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change
DOI: 10.1007/s11027-021-09941-w

On the trade-offs and synergies between forest carbon sequestration and substitution
Soimakallio et al 2021 Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1007/s11027-021-09942-9

Prospective contributions of biomass pyrolysis to China’s 2050 carbon reduction and renewable energy goals
Yang et al 2021 Nature Communications
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-21868-z

Geoengineering climate

Identifying the sources of uncertainty in climate model simulations of solar radiation modification with the G6sulfur and G6solar Geoengineering Model Intercomparison Project (GeoMIP) simulations
Visioni et al 2021
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.5194/acp-2021-133 (preprint)

The politics and governance of research into solar geoengineering
McLaren & Corry 2021 WIREs Climate Change
Open Access DOI: 10.1002/wcc.707


A plant-by-plant strategy for high-ambition coal power phaseout in China
Cui et al 2021 Nature Communications
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-21786-0

Climate change communications & cognition

The salience of future impacts and the willingness to pay for climate change mitigation: an experiment in intergenerational framing
Shrum 2021 Climatic Change
DOI: 10.1007/s10584-021-03002-6

Agronomy, animal husbundry, food production & climate change

Learning from failure at the science–policy interface for climate action in agriculture
Dinesh et al 2021 Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1007/s11027-021-09940-x

Dynamic vulnerability of smallholder agricultural systems in the face of climate change for Ethiopia
Shukla et al 2021 Environmental Research Letters
Open Access DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/abdb5c

Trade-offs between physical risk and economic reward affect fishers’ vulnerability to changing storminess
Sainsbury et al 2021 Global Environmental Change
Open Access DOI: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2021.102228

Characterization of variability and trends in daily precipitation and temperature extremes in the Horn of Africa.
Afuecheta & Omar 2021 Climate Risk Management
Open Access DOI: 10.1016/j.crm.2021.100295

Observed changes in rainfall amount and extreme events in southeastern Ethiopia, 1955–2015
Degefu et al 2021 Theoretical and Applied Climatology
DOI: 10.1007/s00704-021-03573-5

Traditional agricultural knowledge in land management: the potential contributions of ethnographic research to climate change adaptation in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Pakistan
Rivera-ferre et al 2021 Climate and Development
DOI: 10.1080/17565529.2020.1848780

Cultural consensus knowledge of smallholder rice farmers for climate risk management in the Philippines
Ruzol et al 2021 Climate Risk Management
Open Access DOI: 10.1016/j.crm.2021.100298

Climate change vulnerability assessment for selected agricultural responses at Yarmouk River Basin Area, Jordan
Al Qudah et al 2021 Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change
DOI: 10.1007/s11027-021-09944-7

Economics & finance of climate change & mitigation

Social Cost of Carbon Under Stochastic Tipping Points
Taconet et al 2021 Environmental and Resource Economics
DOI: 10.1007/s10640-021-00549-x

Analysing the effect of climate policies on poverty through employment channels
Malerba & Wiebe 2021 Environmental Research Letters
Open Access DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/abd3d3

Trade in Carbon and Carbon Tariffs
ZHAO et al 2002 Land Economics
Open Access DOI: 10.12783/dtssehs/icems2018/20119

Impacts of long-term temperature change and variability on electricity investments
Khan et al 2021 Nature Communications
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-21785-1

Decoupling economic and energy growth: aspiration or reality?
Hancock et al 2012 Stories of Life in the Workplace
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-29926-2_4

Climate change mitigation public policy research

COVID-19 and pathways to low-carbon air transport until 2050
Gössling et al 2021 Environmental Research Letters
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/abe90b

Analysing the effect of climate policies on poverty through employment channels
Malerba & Wiebe 2021 Environmental Research Letters
Open Access DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/abd3d3

Pattern Discovery for climate and environmental policy indicators
Herman & Shenk 2021 Environmental Science & Policy
DOI: 10.1016/j.envsci.2021.02.003

Climate change impacts on human health

A scoping review on climate change and tuberculosis

Malaria trends in Ethiopian highlands track the 2000 ‘slowdown’ in global warming
Rodó et al 2021 Nature Communications
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-21815-y

Climate change adaptation & adaptation public policy research

Hydropower under climate uncertainty: Characterizing the usable capacity of Brazilian, Colombian and Peruvian power plants under climate scenarios
Caceres et al 2021 Energy for Sustainable Development
Open Access DOI: 10.1016/j.esd.2021.02.006

Adapting to Rising Sea Levels: How Short-Term Responses Complement Long-Term Investment
Guthrie & Guthrie 2020 SSRN Electronic Journal
DOI: 10.1007/s10640-021-00547-z

Connecting the dots between climate change, household water insecurity, and migration
Stoler et al 2021 Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability
DOI: 10.1016/j.cosust.2021.02.008

Climate change impacts on human culture

An overview of climate change impacts on the society in China
Yong-Jian et al 2021 Advances in Climate Change Research
Open Access DOI: 10.1016/j.accre.2021.03.002


Observed Statistical Connections Overestimate the Causal Effects of Arctic Sea Ice Changes on Midlatitude Winter Climate
Blackport & Screen 2021 Journal of Climate
DOI: 10.1175/jcli-d-20-0293.1

Phenological stage of tundra vegetation controls bidirectional exchange of BVOCs in a climate change experiment on a subarctic heath
Baggesen et al 2021 Global Change Biology
DOI: 10.1111/gcb.15596

Response of Drylands' Water-cycle to the Global Warming
Luo et al 2021 International Journal of Climatology
DOI: 10.1002/joc.7088

Effects of 0.5 °C less global warming on climate extremes in the contiguous United States
Chen et al 2021
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1007/s00382-021-05717-9

Informed opinion, nudges & major initiatives

Closed-loop and congestion control of the global carbon-climate system
Sierra et al 2021 Climatic Change
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1007/s10584-021-03040-0

Ideas and perspectives: When ocean acidification experiments are not the same, repeatability is not tested
Williamson et al 2021 Biogeosciences
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.5194/bg-18-1787-2021

The role of science in finding solutions to wicked, systemic problems
Andersson 2021 Ambio
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1007/s13280-021-01525-x


Obtaining articles wihout 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. As it is the journal's decision to do so, we respect that and 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.

Articles are presented with a title link via the original publisher URL so as to preserve provenance information, and when (usually) available, a more permanent DOI link. When a publicly accessible PDF version of an article is found, a direct link is provided.


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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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Comments 1 to 1:

  1. The paper "Observed changes in rainfall amount and extreme events in southeastern Ethiopia, 1955-2015" seems miscategorized as Agronomy. It would seem it should have been placed under Observations of climate change

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