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Skeptical Science New Research for Week #23, 2021

Posted on 9 June 2021 by Doug Bostrom

LIfe cycle analysis of "Dirk" 

Life cycle analysis (LCA) is a method used to evaluate the environmental impact of a product through its life cycle encompassing extraction and processing of the raw materials, manufacturing, distribution, use, recycling, and final disposal. From: Journal of Environmental Management, 2010. -- Science Direct

Continuing with getting our terms straight, by "product" in this case we're speaking of "Dirk," a person living in Germany and enjoying a decent lifestyle accoridng to accepted current standards. Using established methods repurposed to a prevously untried application, David Bossek et al evaluate Dirk's major environmental impact features. It's a  new means of looking at ourselves, a form of quantification that could certainly be helpful in establishing goals as well as  comparing relative levels of responsibility for remedying our climate mess. In Life-LCA: the first case study of the life cycle impacts of a human being (open access) the authors find room for improvement in a typical human environmental footprint, and identify how to complete their analysis in future research:

Dirk emitted 1,140 t CO2-eq., 4.48 t SO2-eq., 1.69 t PO4-eq., and 0.537 t C2H4-eq. emissions over his current life. Transportation dominated all considered impact categories (40 up to 55%). Energy and water consumption is the second dominant product category for GWP (39%). Food products are with 10% the third biggest contributor to GWP, but rather contribute significantly to the impact categories AP (34%), EP (42%), and POCP (20%). The optimized scenario analysis revealed significant reductions for all studied impacts in the range of 60–65%. CO2-eq. emissions were reduced from 28 to 10 t/a. The remaining challenges include data collection from childhood, gaps and inconsistencies of existing data for consumer goods, the allocation between product users, and depreciation of long-living products.

This paper is remarkable not least for its "radical transparency," given that the Dirk in question is a named, individual person. Dirk's personal footprint size and shape is not the least bit speculative. 

Don't look left, don't look right, look in the mirror

Continuing with new applications of reliable means of assessment, Lépissier and Mildenberger employ the  "synthetic control method" (SCM) to look at unilateral policy efforts to mitigate national carbon footprints, thereby helping us to answer seductively excusing objections to mitigation along the lines of "if they won't, why should we?" From Unilateral climate policies can substantially reduce national carbon pollution (open access):

Existing efforts to evaluate the overall impact of climate policies on national carbon emissions rely on Business-As-Usual (BAU) scenarios to project what carbon emissions would have been without a climate policy. We instead use synthetic control methods to undertake an ex post national-level assessment of the UK’s CCP without relying on parametric BAU assumptions and demonstrate the potential of synthetic control methods for climate policy impact evaluation. Despite setting lax carbon targets and making substantial concessions to producers, we show that, in 2005, the UK’s CO2 emissions per capita were 9.8% lower relative to what they would have been if the CCP had not been passed. Our findings offer empirical confirmation that unilateral climate policies can still reduce carbon emissions, even in the absence of a binding global climate agreement and in the presence of regulatory capture by industry.

A prosaic analogy to "why should I try to clean up alone?" might be that if there's a pile of smelly rotting garbage in the house, we could be very stubborn and refuse to move it unless everybody else lends an equal hand. We'd "win" even as we continued to reside in stench worse than if we moved what we alone could cope with. Lépissier and Mildenberger help to remind us what winning looks like, in numbers.

94 Articles

Physical science of climate change, effects

Combined Effects of Global Warming and Ozone Depletion/Recovery on Southern Hemisphere Atmospheric Circulation and Regional Precipitation
Mindlin et al Geophysical Research Letters
DOI: 10.1029/2021gl092568

Observations of climate change, effects

A first constraint on basal melt-water production of the Greenland ice sheet
Karlsson et al Nature Communications
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-23739-z 10.31223/osf.io/rjt4v

Arctic Cyclones and Their Interactions with the Declining Sea Ice: A Recent Climatology
Valkonen et al Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
DOI: 10.1029/2020jd034366

Indices for daily temperature and precipitation in Madagascar, based on quality?controlled and homogenized data, 1950?2018
Randriamarolaza et al International Journal of Climatology
DOI: 10.1002/joc.7243

Climate change-induced greening on the Tibetan Plateau modulated by mountainous characteristics
Teng et al Environmental Research Letters
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/abfeeb

Exploring annual lake dynamics in Xinjiang (China): spatiotemporal features and driving climate factors from 2000 to 2019
Zheng et al Climatic Change
DOI: 10.1007/s10584-021-03136-7

Antarctic skin temperature warming related to enhanced downward longwave radiation associated with increased atmospheric advection of moisture and temperature
Sato & Simmonds Environmental Research Letters
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/ac0211

Spring snow depth changes and feedback to surface air temperature across the Tibetan Plateau from 1961 to 2013
Chen & Yang International Journal of Climatology
DOI: 10.1002/joc.7230

Changing Indian monsoon rainfall patterns under the recent warming period 2001–2018
Maharana et al Climate Dynamics
DOI: 10.1007/s00382-021-05823-8

Human influence on the increasing drought risk over Southeast Asian monsoon region
Zhang et al Geophysical Research Letters
DOI: 10.1002/essoar.10507086.1 10.1029/2021gl093777

Instrumentation & observational methods of climate change, effects

Designing a statistical procedure for monitoring global carbon dioxide emissions
Bennedsen Climatic Change
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1007/s10584-021-03123-y 10.21203/rs.3.rs-277985/v1

Drought Risk of Global Terrestrial Gross Primary Productivity Over the Last 40 Years Detected by a Remote Sensing?driven Process Model
He et al Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences
DOI: 10.1029/2020jg005944

Modeling, simulation & projection of climate change, effects

An underestimated negative cloud feedback from cloud lifetime changes
Mülmenstädt et al Nature Climate Change
DOI: 10.1038/s41558-021-01038-1

A Multimodel Investigation of Atmospheric Mechanisms for Driving Arctic Amplification in Warmer Climates
Dutta et al Journal of Climate
DOI: 10.1175/jcli-d-20-0354.1

The cooling of light rains in a warming world
Stephens Nature Climate Change
DOI: 10.1038/s41558-021-01056-z

Response of seasonal phase locking of Indian Ocean Dipole to global warming
Zheng et al Climate Dynamics
DOI: 10.1007/s00382-021-05834-5

Observed and projected changes in extreme drought and flood-prone regions over India under CMIP5 RCP8.5 using a new vulnerability index
Jena & Azad Climate Dynamics
DOI: 10.1007/s00382-021-05824-7

Precipitation Projections over the Indus River Basin of Pakistan for the 21 century using a statistical downscaling framework
Pomee & Hertig International Journal of Climatology
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1002/joc.7244

Intermodel CMIP5 relationships in the baseline Southern Ocean climate system and with future projections
Kajtar et al Earth's Future
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1002/essoar.10504633.1 10.1029/2020ef001873

Future projection of low flows in the Chungju basin, Korea and their uncertainty decomposition
Lee et al International Journal of Climatology
DOI: 10.1002/joc.7237

Trends in the frozen ground temperature on the Tibetan Plateau simulated by RegCM4.7-CLM4.5
Luo et al Theoretical and Applied Climatology
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1002/essoar.10505580.2 10.1007/s00704-021-03664-3

Robust asymmetry of the future Arctic polar vortex is driven by tropical Pacific warming
Matsumura et al Geophysical Research Letters
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1029/2021gl093440 10.21203/rs.3.rs-99810/v1

Climate pathways behind phytoplankton-induced atmospheric warming
Asselot et al
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.5194/bg-2021-118

Internal Atmospheric Variability of Net Surface Heat Flux in Reanalyses and CMIP5 AMIP Simulations
Chen et al International Journal of Climatology
DOI: 10.1002/joc.7232

Characterization of Simulated Extreme EL NIÑO Events and Projected Impacts on South American Climate Extremes by a Set of Cmip5 Global Climate Models
Gulizia & Pirotte International Journal of Climatology
DOI: 10.1002/joc.7231

Advances in climate & climate effects modeling, simulation & projection

Sensitivity of climate feedbacks to vertical resolution in a General Circulation Model
Ingram & Bushell Geophysical Research Letters
DOI: 10.1029/2020gl092268

A novel method for ranking CMIP6 Global Climate Models over the Southeast Asian region
Desmet & Ngo?Duc International Journal of Climatology
DOI: 10.1002/joc.7234

Spatial, temporal, and multivariate bias in regional climate model simulations
Kim et al Geophysical Research Letters
DOI: 10.1029/2020gl092058

Cryosphere & climate change

A first constraint on basal melt-water production of the Greenland ice sheet
Karlsson et al Nature Communications
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-23739-z 10.31223/osf.io/rjt4v

The impacts of warming on rapidly retreating high-altitude, low-latitude glaciers and ice core-derived climate records DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-23739-z 10.31223/osf.io/rjt4v

Sea level & climate change

Projected Changes to Cool?Season Storm Tides in the 21st Century along the Northeastern United States Coast
Pringle et al Earth's Future
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1029/2020ef001940 10.1002/essoar.10505471.1

The resident and visitor gaze: A comparison of coastal social values at risk due to sea-level rise
Meo et al Environmental Science & Policy
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1016/j.envsci.2021.05.017

Biology & climate change

Great Barrier Reef degradation, sea surface temperatures, and atmospheric CO2 levels collectively exhibit a stochastic process with memory
Elnar et al Climate Dynamics
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1007/s00382-021-05831-8 10.21203/rs.3.rs-299051/v1

Climate warming consistently reduces grassland ecosystem productivity
Wu et al Earth's Future
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1029/2020ef001837

Quantifying the demographic vulnerabilities of dry woodlands to climate and competition using range?wide monitoring data
Shriver et al Ecology
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1002/ecy.3425 10.1101/2020.04.03.024497

‘Fading of the temperature?growth coupling’ in treeline trees reflects a conceptual bias
Körner Global Change Biology
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1111/gcb.15730

Tree growth and treeline responses to temperature: different questions and concepts
Camarero et al Global Change Biology
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1111/gcb.15728

Phenological shifts induced by climate change amplify drought for broad-leaved trees at low elevations in Switzerland
Meier et al Agricultural and Forest Meteorology
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1016/j.agrformet.2021.108485

Encrusters maintain stable carbonate production despite temperature anomalies among two inshore island reefs of the Pilbara, Western Australia
Dee et al Marine Environmental Research
DOI: 10.1016/j.marenvres.2021.105386

Mechanisms driving decadal changes in the carbonate system of a coastal plain estuary
Da et al Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
DOI: 10.1029/2021jc017239

Thermal acclimation increases the stability of a predator–prey interaction in warmer environments
Sohlström et al Global Change Biology
DOI: 10.1111/gcb.15715

Albatrosses respond adaptively to climate variability by changing variance in a foraging trait
Patrick et al Global Change Biology
DOI: 10.1111/gcb.15735

GHG sources & sinks, flux

Underestimates of methane from intensively raised animals could undermine goals of sustainable development
Hayek & Miller Environmental Research Letters
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/ac02ef

Wetter is better for peat carbon
Morris Nature Climate Change
DOI: 10.1038/s41558-021-01072-z

Tradeoff of CO2 and CH4 emissions from global peatlands under water-table drawdown DOI: 10.1038/s41558-021-01072-z

Methane production and oxidation potentials along a fen?bog gradient from southern boreal to subarctic peatlands in Finland
Zhang et al Global Change Biology
DOI: 10.1111/gcb.15740

Linking vegetation spectral reflectance with ecosystem carbon phenology in a temperate salt marsh
Hill et al Agricultural and Forest Meteorology
DOI: 10.1016/j.agrformet.2021.108481

Temporally variable parameters simulate asymmetrical interannual variation of aboveground and belowground carbon pools in an alpine meadow
Xu et al Agricultural and Forest Meteorology
DOI: 10.1016/j.agrformet.2021.108480

Evaluation of CarbonTracker's inverse estimates of North American net ecosystem exchange of CO2 from different observing systems using ACT?America airborne observations DOI: 10.1016/j.agrformet.2021.108480

The fate and transit time of carbon in a tropical forest
Sierra et al Journal of Ecology
DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.13723

A dynamic approach for life cycle global warming impact assessment of machine tool considering time effect
Zeng et al The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment
DOI: 10.1007/s11367-021-01933-x

Designing a statistical procedure for monitoring global carbon dioxide emissions
Bennedsen Climatic Change
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1007/s10584-021-03123-y 10.21203/rs.3.rs-277985/v1

Investigating thaw and plant productivity constraints on old soil carbon respiration from permafrost
Mauritz et al Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences
DOI: 10.1029/2020jg006000

Mapping CO2 fluxes of cypress swamp and marshes in the Greater Everglades using eddy covariance measurements and Landsat data DOI: 10.1029/2020jg006000

Simulating shrubs and their energy and carbon dioxide fluxes in Canada's Low Arctic with the Canadian Land Surface Scheme Including Biogeochemical Cycles (CLASSIC)
Meyer et al Biogeosciences
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.5194/bg-18-3263-2021 10.5194/bg-2020-458 10.5194/bg-2020-458-supplement

A new look at carbon dioxide emissions in MENA countries
Ben Cheikh & Ben Zaied Climatic Change
DOI: 10.1007/s10584-021-03126-9

Soil organic carbon in irrigated agricultural systems: A meta?analysis
Emde et al Global Change Biology
DOI: 10.1111/gcb.15680

Estimates of carbon stocks in sandy soils cultivated under local management practices in Senegal’s groundnut basin
Malou et al Regional Environmental Change
DOI: 10.1007/s10113-021-01790-2

CO2 removal & mitigation science & engineering

Exploring residual CO2 trapping in Heletz sandstone using pore?network modeling and a realistic pore?space topology obtained from a micro?CT scan DOI: 10.1007/s10113-021-01790-2

Impact of green roof on human comfort level and carbon sequestration: A microclimatic and comparative assessment in Dhaka City, Bangladesh
Sultana et al Urban Climate
DOI: 10.1016/j.uclim.2021.100878

Environmental Product Declarations for plants and soils: how to quantify carbon uptake in landscape design and construction?
Kuittinen et al The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1007/s11367-021-01926-w

Black carbon

Responses of Arctic black carbon and surface temperature to multi-region emission reductions: a Hemispheric Transport of Air Pollution Phase 2 (HTAP2) ensemble modeling study
Zhao et al Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.5194/acp-21-8637-2021

Climate change communications & cognition

Improving the usability of climate indicator visualizations through diagnostic design principles
Gerst et al Climatic Change
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1007/s10584-021-03109-w 10.21203/rs.3.rs-203010/v1

The source is the message: the impact of institutional signals on climate change–related norm perceptions and behaviors
Constantino et al Climatic Change
DOI: 10.1007/s10584-021-03095-z

Finding shared meaning in the Anthropocene: engaging diverse perspectives on climate change
Hochachka Sustainability Science
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1007/s11625-021-00965-4

Fear Appeal in Climate Change Communication: Analysis of The Economist Magazine Covers
Poffenroth Academia Letters
DOI: 10.20935/al634

Agronomy, animal husbundry, food production & climate change

Greenhouse gas emissions from food systems: building the evidence base
Tubiello et al Environmental Research Letters
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/ac018e

Economic impacts of climate-induced crop yield changes: evidence from agri-food industries in six countries
Wang et al Climatic Change
DOI: 10.1007/s10584-021-03062-8

Prevalence of Household Food Insecurity in East Africa: Linking Food Access with Climate Vulnerability
Gezimua & Rahut Climate Risk Management
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1016/j.crm.2021.100333

A vulnerability index for priority targeting of agricultural crops under a changing climate
Turvey et al Climatic Change
DOI: 10.1007/s10584-021-03135-8

Soil organic carbon monitoring to assess agricultural climate change adaptation practices in Navarre, Spain
Antón et al Regional Environmental Change
DOI: 10.1007/s10113-021-01788-w

Challenges in simulating economic effects of climate change on global agricultural markets
Gurgel et al Climatic Change
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1007/s10584-021-03119-8

Varied farm-level carbon intensities of corn feedstock help reduce corn ethanol greenhouse gas emissions
Liu et al Environmental Research Letters
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/ac018f

Estimates of carbon stocks in sandy soils cultivated under local management practices in Senegal’s groundnut basin
Malou et al Regional Environmental Change
DOI: 10.1007/s10113-021-01790-2

Soil organic carbon in irrigated agricultural systems: A meta?analysis
Emde et al Global Change Biology
DOI: 10.1111/gcb.15680

Hydrology & climate change

Evapotranspiration and water availability response to climate change in the Middle East and North Africa
Ajjur & Al-Ghamdi Climatic Change
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1007/s10584-021-03122-z

Economics & finance of climate change & mitigation

Persistent inequality in economically optimal climate policies
Gazzotti et al Nature Communications
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-23613-y

Assessing the economic impacts of future fluvial flooding in six countries under climate change and socio-economic development
Yin et al Climatic Change
DOI: 10.1007/s10584-021-03059-3

Climate change mitigation public policy research

A mixed effect model approach for assessing land?based mitigation in Integrated Assessment Models: a regional perspective
Oliveira et al Global Change Biology
DOI: 10.1111/gcb.15738

Imagining the corridor of climate mitigation – What is at stake in IPCC’s politics of anticipation?
Beck & Oomen Environmental Science & Policy
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1016/j.envsci.2021.05.011

Environmental regulation, carbon emissions and green total factor productivity: a case study of China
Li et al Environment, Development and Sustainability
DOI: 10.1007/s10668-021-01546-2

Unilateral climate policies can substantially reduce national carbon pollution
Lépissier & Mildenberger Climatic Change
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1007/s10584-021-03111-2

Climate change impacts on human health

Climate change and its association with expansion of vectors and vector-borne diseases in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region: A systematic synthesis of the literature
Dhimal et al Advances in Climate Change Research
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1016/j.accre.2021.05.003

Puppeteering as a metaphor for unpacking power in participatory action research on climate change and health
Meriläinen et al Climate and Development
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1080/17565529.2021.1930509

Using internet-based query and climate data to predict climate-sensitive infectious disease risks: a systematic review of epidemiological evidence
Zhang et al International Journal of Biometeorology
DOI: 10.1007/s00484-021-02155-4

Climate change adaptation & adaptation public policy research

Analyzing climate change adaptation policies in the context of the local state
Kirby Environmental Science & Policy
DOI: 10.1016/j.envsci.2021.05.013

Local knowledge in climate change adaptation in the Cook Islands
de Scally & Doberstein Climate and Development
DOI: 10.1080/17565529.2021.1927658

Role clarification for local institutions: a missing link in multi-level adaptation planning? Insights from a multiple case study in Botswana
Sethamo et al Climate and Development
DOI: 10.1080/17565529.2021.1924109

Adaptive mitigation strategies hedge against extreme climate futures
Marangoni et al Climatic Change
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1007/s10584-021-03132-x

In government we trust? Micro-business adaptation to climate change in four post-colonial and transitional economies of China
Lo et al Global Environmental Change
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2021.102305 10.26686/wgtn.14738889 10.26686/wgtn.14738889.v1

Developing resilience to climate change impacts in Antarctica: An evaluation of Antarctic Treaty System protected area policy
Hughes et al Environmental Science & Policy
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1016/j.envsci.2021.05.023

A transdisciplinary typology of change identifies new categories of adaptations and forms of co-adaptation in coupled human and natural systems
Sotnik et al Sustainability Science
DOI: 10.1007/s11625-021-00979-y

Addressing the challenges of climate-driven community-led resettlement and site expansion: knowledge sharing, storytelling, healing, and collaborative coalition building
Maldonado et al Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1007/s13412-021-00695-0

Climate change impacts on human culture

Climate change and hunter-gatherers in montane eastern DR Congo
Batumike et al Climate and Development
DOI: 10.1080/17565529.2021.1930987

Social vulnerability to climate policies: Building a matrix to assess policy impacts on well-being
Kortetmäki & Järvelä Environmental Science & Policy
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1016/j.envsci.2021.05.018

The resident and visitor gaze: A comparison of coastal social values at risk due to sea-level rise
Meo et al Environmental Science & Policy
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1016/j.envsci.2021.05.017

Other

Climate impact of aircraft-induced cirrus assessed from satellite observations before and during COVID-19
Quaas et al Environmental Research Letters
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/abf686 10.5194/egusphere-egu21-14495

Life-LCA: the first case study of the life cycle impacts of a human being
Bossek et al The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1007/s11367-021-01924-y

Informed opinion, nudges & major initiatives

Finding and fixing food system emissions: the double helix of science and policy
Rosenzweig et al Environmental Research Letters
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/ac0134

 


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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.

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