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Skeptical Science New Research for Week #8 2022

Posted on 24 February 2022 by Doug Bostrom, Marc Kodack

Crabby Feedback

Scanning a few editions of New Research gives an inkling of how "one thing connects to another" in Earth systems at all levels of scale. A little bit of extra gas of a particular species added to the atmosphere causes a little bit of extra impedance for the escape of energy carried by sunlight to Earth's surface back into the cold dark of space. That little bit of resistance causes the temperature of the atmosphere to rise a bit and Earth's oceans to absorb a lot of heat, causing expansion of seawater and hence sea level rise. Sea level rise increases the rate of coastal erosion. So it goes, but  details become increasingly intricate and manifold as we travel farther from the original culprit, CO2, and follow connections. 

We end up in strange places when we follow our accidental tampering deep enough. It's not at all trivially obvious that humble crabs in sufficient multitudes will accelerate the rate of coastal erosion and hence loss of land surface area. Yet this is exactly what's concluded and suggested in Causal relationships among sea level rise, marsh crab activity, and salt marsh geomorphology, by Carol Wilson et al. and just published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The authors summarize a plethora of research into the busy lives of crabs inhabiting tidal areas of marshes, whose lifestyles include lots of burrowing into estuarine banks and feeding on plants helping to hold shorelines together. Buoyed by sea level rise, these crabs are accelerating the crumbling of land-sea interfaces in certain areas. As well, it seems the critters may be helping to contribute to increased efflux of CO2 into the atmosphere as they expose sequestered organic matter embedded in sediment. 

As is so often the case with reviews of a lot of work, we're left with "there's more to be done."  The authors conclude: "Further research is needed to evaluate the benefits or adverse impacts of Sesarma spp. to marshes experiencing SLR, and to identify other important feedbacks between salt marsh morphological evolution and their resident biota." And so it shall be— who could resist finding out? 

Other notables:

What is Climate Risk? A Field Guide for Investors, Lenders, and Regulators paints a comprehensive picture of the fraught landscape of change we're all facing in connection with climate change. Written for a nonexpert audience, it's thus useful to more than only people wearing bowler hats. 

Stop blaming the climate for disasters may sound like climate change denial, but it isn't. Instead, the authors point out that by cultural habits and proclivities we precondition ourselves and our built environment to invite and more or less synthesize disaster from various components, including a changing climate. 

Timing of emergence of modern rates of sea-level rise by 1863 refines previous assessments and finds that sea level rise began to accelerate not so very long after we kicked off our coal-powered  industrial revolution. 

Indigenous local observations and experiences can give useful indicators of climate change in data-deficient regions. Wherever there's a village, there's an instrument. The authors describe how gaps in traditional instrumental records can be filled by other traditions.

All of the above open access and free to read.  

122 articles in 48 journals by 561 contributing authors

Physical science of climate change, effects

Radiative Cooling, Latent Heating, and Cloud Ice in the Tropical Upper Troposphere
Sokol & Hartmann
Open Access 10.1002/essoar.10508040.1

Future summer warming pattern under climate change is affected by lapse-rate changes
Brogli et al. Weather and Climate Dynamics
Open Access pdf 10.5194/wcd-2-1093-2021

It’s the Heat and the Humidity: The Complementary Roles of Temperature and Specific Humidity to Recent Changes in the Energy Content of the Near-Surface Atmosphere
Stoy et al. Geophysical Research Letters
Open Access pdf 10.1029/2021gl096628

Observations of climate change, effects

Timing of emergence of modern rates of sea-level rise by 1863
Walker et al. Nature Communications
Open Access pdf 10.1038/s41467-022-28564-6

Halving of Swiss glacier volume since 1931 observed from terrestrial image photogrammetry
Mannerfelt et al.
Open Access pdf 10.5194/tc-2022-14

Strong acceleration of glacier area loss in the Greater Caucasus between 2000 and 2020
Tielidze et al. The Cryosphere
Open Access pdf 10.5194/tc-16-489-2022

Warming weakens the night-time barrier to global fire
Balch et al. Nature

(provisional link) Recent Changes in Average Recurrence Interval Precipitation Extremes in the Mid-Atlantic United States

(provisional link) Observed poleward freshwater transport since 1970

Glacier and rock glacier changes since the 1950s in the La Laguna catchment, Chile
Robson et al. The Cryosphere
Open Access pdf 10.5194/tc-16-647-2022

Analysis of global trends of total column water vapour from multiple years of OMI observations
Borger et al.

(provisional link) Satellite Observed Sensitivity of Tropical Clouds and Moisture to Sea Surface Temperature on Various Time and Space Scales. Part II: Focus on Marine Low Level Clouds

Winter–summer contrast of the 1990s decadal change in relation to Afro–Asian monsoons
Wu et al. Climate Dynamics

Increasing nutrient fluxes and mixing regime changes in the eastern Arctic Ocean
Schulz et al. Geophysical Research Letters

Summertime precipitation in Hokkaido and Kyushu, Japan in response to global warming
Takabatake & Inatsu Inatsu Inatsu Climate Dynamics
Open Access pdf 10.1007/s00382-021-05983-7

Unprecedented Summer Hypoxia in Southern Cape Cod Bay: An Ecological Response to Regional Climate Change?
Scully et al.
Open Access pdf 10.5194/bg-2022-48

Observed changes in the Arctic Freshwater Outflow in Fram Strait
Karpouzoglou et al. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
Open Access pdf 10.1029/2021jc018122

Atlantic circulation change still uncertain
Kilbourne et al. Nature Geoscience

Reply to: Atlantic circulation change still uncertain
Caesar et al. Nature Geoscience

Instrumentation & observational methods of climate change, contributors, effects

Indigenous local observations and experiences can give useful indicators of climate change in data-deficient regions
Chanza & Musakwa Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences
Open Access pdf 10.1007/s13412-022-00757-x

(provisional link) Impacts of Active Satellite Sensors' Low-level Cloud Detection Limitations on Cloud Radiative Forcing

The spatiotemporal evolution of rainfall extremes in a changing climate: A CONUS-wide assessment based on multifractal scaling arguments
Emmanouil et al. Earth's Future
Open Access pdf 10.1029/2021ef002539

Modeling, simulation & projection of climate change, effects

(provisional link) Projecting future fire regimes in a semiarid watershed of the inland northwestern U.S.: Interactions among climate change, vegetation productivity, and fuel dynamics

On timescales and reversibility of the ocean's response to enhanced Greenland Ice Sheet melting in comprehensive climate models
Martin et al. Geophysical Research Letters
Open Access pdf 10.1029/2021gl097114

Temperature and precipitation trend analysis of the Iraq Region under SRES scenarios during the twenty-first century
Hashim et al. Theoretical and Applied Climatology

Assessment of climate change impact on drought disaster in Sampean Baru watershed, East Java, Indonesia based on IPCC-AR5
Halik et al. Natural Hazards

Increase in compound dry-warm and wet-warm events under global warming in CMIP6 models
Meng et al. Global and Planetary Change

Clustering of Climate Change Impacts on Ocean Waves in the Northwest Atlantic
Goharnejad et al. Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology

The Effect of Explicit Convection on Climate Change in the West African Monsoon and Central West African Sahel Rainfall
Jackson et al. Journal of Climate

Roles of Meridional Overturning in Subpolar Southern Ocean SST Trends: Insights from Ensemble Simulations
Zhang et al. Journal of Climate

Projected engulfment of tropical Indian Ocean by anthropogenical warmpool
Kallummal Climate Dynamics

Advancement of climate & climate effects modeling, simulation & projection GCMA

Effects of Improved Simulation of Precipitation on Evapotranspiration and its Partitioning over Land
Cui et al. Geophysical Research Letters

(provisional link) Observed poleward freshwater transport since 1970

Development of a Climate-Informed Analog Downscaling Method for Asian Regions
Kim et al. International Journal of Climatology

Contrasting contributions of surface hydrological pathways in convection permitting and parameterised climate simulations over Africa and their feedbacks on the atmosphere
Folwell et al. Climate Dynamics
Open Access pdf 10.1007/s00382-022-06144-0

Impact of resolution on the atmosphere–ocean coupling along the Gulf Stream in global high resolution models
Tsartsali et al. Climate Dynamics
Open Access pdf 10.1007/s00382-021-06098-9

Cryosphere & climate change

Ongoing grounding line retreat and fracturation initiated at the Petermann Glacier ice shelf, Greenland after 2016
Millan et al.
Open Access pdf 10.5194/tc-2022-16

Strong acceleration of glacier area loss in the Greater Caucasus between 2000 and 2020
Tielidze et al. The Cryosphere
Open Access pdf 10.5194/tc-16-489-2022

Rapid basal melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet from surface meltwater drainage
Young et al. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Open Access 10.1073/pnas.2116036119

Glacier and rock glacier changes since the 1950s in the La Laguna catchment, Chile
Robson et al. The Cryosphere
Open Access pdf 10.5194/tc-16-647-2022

Different responses of surface freeze and thaw phenology changes to warming among Arctic permafrost types
Chen et al. Remote Sensing of Environment

Seasonality in Arctic Warming Driven by Sea Ice Effective Heat Capacity
Journal of Climate
Open Access 10.1175/jcli-d-21-0626.1

Halving of Swiss glacier volume since 1931 observed from terrestrial image photogrammetry
Mannerfelt et al.
Open Access pdf 10.5194/tc-2022-14

Global evaluation of process-based models with in situ observations to detect long-term change in lake ice
Imrit et al.
Open Access pdf 10.5194/tc-2022-31

Sea ice break-up and freeze-up indicators for users of the Arctic coastal environment
Walsh et al.
Open Access pdf 10.5194/tc-2022-21

Sea level & climate change

Timing of emergence of modern rates of sea-level rise by 1863
Walker et al. Nature Communications
Open Access pdf 10.1038/s41467-022-28564-6

(provisional link) Causal relationships among sea level rise, marsh crab activity, and salt marsh geomorphology

Attributing decadal climate variability in coastal sea-level trends
Royston et al.
Open Access pdf 10.5194/os-2022-3

Components of 21 years (1995–2015) of absolute sea level trends in the Arctic
Ludwigsen et al. Ocean Science
Open Access pdf 10.5194/os-18-109-2022


Isotopic filtering reveals high sensitivity of planktic calcifiers to Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum warming and acidification
Hupp et al. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Open Access 10.1073/pnas.2115561119

Abrupt climate changes and the astronomical theory: are they related?
Rousseau et al. Climate of the Past
Open Access pdf 10.5194/cp-18-249-2022

Relationship between extinction magnitude and climate change during major marine/terrestrial animal crises
Open Access pdf 10.5194/bg-2022-29

Biology & climate change, related geochemistry

Tropical forest restoration under future climate change
Koch & Kaplan Nature Climate Change
Open Access pdf 10.1038/s41558-022-01289-6

(provisional link) Causal relationships among sea level rise, marsh crab activity, and salt marsh geomorphology

(provisional link) Warming-induced tipping points of Arctic and alpine shrub recruitment

Widespread recent changes in morphology of Old World birds, global warming the immediate suspect
Dubiner et al. Global Ecology and Biogeography
Open Access pdf 10.1111/geb.13474

(provisional link) Climate and crown damage drive tree mortality in southern Amazonian edge forests

Unprecedented Summer Hypoxia in Southern Cape Cod Bay: An Ecological Response to Regional Climate Change?
Scully et al.
Open Access pdf 10.5194/bg-2022-48

Decreasing rainfall frequency contributes to earlier leaf onset in northern ecosystems
Wang et al. Nature Climate Change

Revisiting tolerance to ocean acidification: Insights from a new framework combining physiological and molecular tipping points of Pacific oyster
Lutier et al.
Open Access pdf 10.1101/2021.09.21.461261

Will daytime community calcification reflect reef accretion on future, degraded coral reefs?
Lantz et al. Biogeosciences
Open Access pdf 10.5194/bg-19-891-2022

(provisional link) Will forest dynamics continue to accelerate throughout the 21st century in the Northern Alps?

Staying in place and moving in space: Contrasting larval thermal sensitivity explains distributional changes of sympatric sea urchin species to habitat warming
Byrne et al. Global Change Biology

Seaweed ecosystems may not mitigate CO2 emissions
Gallagher et al. ICES Journal of Marine Science
Open Access pdf 10.1093/icesjms/fsac011

The Impact of the Neophyte Tree Fraxinus pennsylvanica [Marshall] on Beetle Diversity under Climate Change
Floren et al. Sustainability
Open Access pdf 10.3390/su14031914

GHG sources & sinks, flux, related geochemistry

Recent significant decline of strong carbon peat accumulation rates in tropical Andes related to climate change and glacier retreat
Llanos et al.
Open Access pdf 10.5194/bg-2022-47

Accelerated Mobilization of Organic Carbon from Retrogressive Thaw Slumps on the Northern Taymyr Peninsula
Bernhard et al.
Open Access pdf 10.5194/tc-2022-36

Natural and anthropogenic driving forces of carbonate weathering and the related carbon sink flux: a model comparison study at global scale
Zeng et al. Global Biogeochemical Cycles

Total CO2-equivalent life-cycle emissions from commercially available passenger cars
Buberger et al. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
Open Access 10.1016/j.rser.2022.112158

Carbon exchange in rainfed and irrigated cropland in the Brazilian Cerrado
Dalmagro et al. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology

High spatial resolution modelling of net forest carbon fluxes based on ground and remote sensing data
Chirici et al. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology

Climate consequences of hydrogen leakage
Ocko & Hamburg
Open Access pdf 10.5194/acp-2022-91

Autonomous methane seep site monitoring offshore western Svalbard: hourly to seasonal variability and associated oceanographic parameters
Dølven et al. Ocean Science
Open Access pdf 10.5194/os-18-233-2022

Assessing the spatial and temporal variability of greenhouse gas emissions from different configurations of on-site wastewater treatment system using discrete and continuous gas flux measurement
Knappe et al. Biogeosciences
Open Access pdf 10.5194/bg-19-1067-2022

Acidification of the Nordic Seas
Fransner et al.
Open Access pdf 10.5194/bg-2020-339

Radiation, soil water content, and temperature effects on carbon cycling in an alpine swamp meadow of the northeastern Qinghai–Tibetan Plateau
Wei et al. Biogeosciences
Open Access pdf 10.5194/bg-19-861-2022

Reconstruction of global surface ocean pCO2 using region-specific predictors based on a stepwise FFNN regression algorithm
Zhong et al. Biogeosciences
Open Access pdf 10.5194/bg-19-845-2022

The impact of mobile demersal fishing on carbon storage in seabed sediments
Epstein et al. Global Change Biology
Open Access pdf 10.1111/gcb.16105

CO2 capture, sequestration science & engineering Decarbonization

Enhanced localized dipole of Pt-Au single-site catalyst for solar water splitting
Liu et al. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Open Access 10.1073/pnas.2119723119

Canada's electricity system transition under alternative policy scenarios
Arjmand & McPherson Energy Policy

Assessment of the greenhouse gas, Episodic air quality and public health benefits of fuel cell electrification of a major port complex
Zhu et al. Atmospheric Environment

Will China achieve its 2060 carbon neutral commitment from the provincial perspective?
Sun et al. Advances in Climate Change Research
Open Access 10.1016/j.accre.2022.02.002

Black carbon

Black carbon footprint of human presence in Antarctica
Cordero et al. Nature Communications
Open Access pdf 10.1038/s41467-022-28560-w

Tracing atmospheric anthropogenic black carbon and its potential radiative response over Pan-Third Pole region: a synoptic-scale analysis using WRF-Chem
Rai et al. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres


Implications of North Atlantic warming for a possible increase of dust activity in northern East Asia
Liu et al. Atmospheric Research

Climate change communications & cognition

Denial and distrust: explaining the partisan climate gap
Bugden Climatic Change

(provisional link) Stakeholders’ perceptions of factors influencing climate change risk in a Central America hotspot

Rethinking climate change through a gender and adolescent lens in Ethiopia
Devonald et al. Climate and Development
Open Access pdf 10.1080/17565529.2022.2032568

“I take the green one”: The choice of regional green electricity contracts in the light of regional and environmental identity
Fait et al. Energy Policy
Open Access 10.1016/j.enpol.2022.112831

Agronomy, animal husbundry, food production & climate change

Carbon exchange in rainfed and irrigated cropland in the Brazilian Cerrado
Dalmagro et al. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology

How do farmers cope with climate change? An analysis of alternative adaptation strategies in drought-hit areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa—Pakistan
Khan et al. Natural Hazards

(provisional link) Identifying drivers of adaptive behavior among livestock breeders in Varamin County, Iran: an exploratory sequential mixed-methods approach

A global comparison of carbon-water-food nexus based on dietary consumption
Fan et al. Global Environmental Change

Episodic N2O emissions following tillage of a legume-grass cover crop mixture
Bressler & Blesh
Open Access pdf 10.5194/bg-2022-39

Building consensus and increasing self-efficacy: participatory scenarios as a tool for developing food security solutions in West Africa
Olabisi et al. Regional Environmental Change
Open Access pdf 10.1007/s10113-022-01893-4

The role of cover crops for cropland soil carbon, nitrogen leaching, and agricultural yields – a global simulation study with LPJmL (V. 5.0-tillage-cc)
Porwollik et al. Biogeosciences
Open Access pdf 10.5194/bg-19-957-2022

The importance of different land tenure systems for farmers’ response to climate change: A systematic review
Murken & Gornott Climate Risk Management
Open Access 10.1016/j.crm.2022.100419

Global benefits of non-continuous flooding to reduce greenhouse gases and irrigation water use without rice yield penalty
Bo et al. Global Change Biology

Multi-model projections of trade-offs between irrigated and rainfed maize yields under changing climate and future emission scenarios
Irmak et al. Agricultural Water Management

Future climate-zone shifts are threatening steep-slope agriculture
Wang et al. Nature Food

Hydrology & climate change

Growing impact of wildfire on western US water supply
Williams et al. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Open Access pdf 10.1073/pnas.2114069119

(provisional link) Recent Changes in Average Recurrence Interval Precipitation Extremes in the Mid-Atlantic United States

A weak precipitation sensitivity of glacier runoff
Banerjee Geophysical Research Letters

Wet season rainfall characteristics and temporal changes for Cape Town South Africa, 1841–2018
Ndebele et al.
Open Access pdf 10.5194/cp-2021-178

Spatial pattern of lake evaporation increases under global warming linked to regional hydroclimate change
Zhou et al. Communications Earth & Environment
Open Access pdf 10.1038/s43247-021-00327-z

Climate change economics

The effect of rainfall changes on economic production
Kotz et al. Nature

Does carbon financial market as an environmental regulation policy tool promote regional energy conservation and emission reduction? Empirical evidence from China
Gu et al. Energy Policy

Climate variability and macroeconomic output in Ethiopia: the analysis of nexus and impact via asymmetric autoregressive distributive lag cointegration method
Berihun & Van Steven Environment, Development and Sustainability

Climate change mitigation public policy research

The policy coordinator role of national development banks in scaling climate finance: Evidence from the renewable energy sector
Zhang Climate Policy

Internationalization and environmental innovation in the energy sector: Exploring the differences between multinational enterprises from emerging and developed countries
Gómez-Bolaños et al. Energy Policy

Liability Structure and Carbon Emissions Abatement: Evidence from Chinese Manufacturing Enterprises
Chen & Zhu Environmental and Resource Economics

Success and failure of the voluntary action plan: Disaggregated sector decomposition analysis of energy-related CO2 emissions in Japan
Lu et al. Energy Policy
Open Access pdf 10.1016/j.enpol.2022.112850

(provisional link) China’s rising influence on climate governance: Forging a path for the global South

Climate change adaptation & adaptation public policy research

Designing urban green spaces for climate adaptation: A critical review of research outputs
Graça et al. Urban Climate
Open Access 10.1016/j.uclim.2022.101126

Entropy frameworks for urban heat storage can support targeted adaptation strategies
Hertel & Schlink Urban Climate

Advancing index-based climate risk assessment to facilitate adaptation planning: Application in Shanghai and Shenzhen, China
Tian et al. Advances in Climate Change Research
Open Access 10.1016/j.accre.2022.02.003

Assessing climate-relevant vulnerability of the Indian Himalayan Region (IHR): a district-level analysis
Alam et al. Natural Hazards

Towards a cultural lens for adaptation pathways to climate change
Marks et al. Regional Environmental Change
Open Access pdf 10.1007/s10113-022-01884-5

Climate change impacts on human health

Distribution Expansion of Dengue vectors and Climate Change in India
Hussain & Dhiman
Open Access 10.1002/essoar.10507556.2

Climate change impacts on human culture

Trans-Arctic shipping routes expanding faster than the model projections
Cao et al. Global Environmental Change

Decline in the alpine landscape aesthetic value in a national park under climate change
Mameno et al. Climatic Change
Open Access pdf 10.1007/s10584-022-03322-1


A large-scale bibliometric analysis of global climate change research between 2001 and 2018
Fu & Waltman Waltman Climatic Change
Open Access pdf 10.1007/s10584-022-03324-z

Effect of land use land cover changes on land surface temperature during 1984–2020: a case study of Baghdad city using landsat image
Hashim et al. Natural Hazards

Green, blue or black, but washing–What company characteristics determine greenwashing?
Levenstein NEW SOLUTIONS: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy
Open Access 10.2190/ns.19.1.h

The season for large fires in Southern California is projected to lengthen in a changing climate
Dong et al. Communications Earth & Environment
Open Access pdf 10.1038/s43247-022-00344-6

Informed opinion, nudges & major initiatives

Stop blaming the climate for disasters
Raju et al. Communications Earth & Environment
Open Access 10.1038/s43247-021-00332-2

Ethics of probabilistic extreme event attribution in climate change science ? a critique.
Olsson et al. Earth's Future 10.1038/s43247-021-00332-2

Articles/Reports from Agencies and Non-Governmental Organizations Addressing Aspects of Climate Change

Green Defence: the defence and military implications of climate change for Europe (pdf), Barry et al, The International Institute for Strategic Studies

Climate change is a national security threat to Europe. It is an accelerator of conflict and requires European forces to adapt accordingly. Concurrently, armed forces can help mitigate climate change by reducing their greenhouse-gas emissions. For states that plan to reduce carbon emissions, decarbonization of armed forces without disarming will be a challenge. The authors assesses not only the implications for European armed forces of operating in climate changed worlds, but also the opportunities for reducing carbon footprint from new technologies. It assesses the challenges of implementing the necessary changes to military operations, training and capability and identifies success factors for this essential transformation.

Clean Power Quarterly, 2021 Q4 (pdf), American Clean Power

The clean power industry installed 27,723 MW of utility-scale clean power capacity in 2021 after adding 10,520 MW in the final quarter of the year. Annual installations were down 3% compared to 2020 volumes, placing the year second all-time in terms of new capacity additions. There are now over 200 GW of clean power capacity operating in the country, enough to power 56 million homes in the U.S. As of the end of 2021, the near-term development pipeline consisted of 1,080 project phases with a total capacity of 120,171 MW. This includes 37,802 MW under construction and 82,369 MW in advanced development. For reference, the development pipeline is 47% (nearly 38,500 MW) larger than at the end of 2020. The industry announced 5,765 MW of new Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) in the fourth quarter, bringing full-year PPA announcements to 28,126 MW. Overall announcements in 2021 outpaced 2020 by 10%, or over 2,600 MW.

Oil & gas expansion. A lose-lose bet for banks and their investors (pdf), Martin et la., ShareAction

The report aims to prompt commitments from banks to stop supporting oil and gas expansion in line with credible net-zero pathways. It includes an analysis of the largest 25 European banks’ oil and gas policies and gives an overview of financing provided in recent years to a selection of 50 companies with large upstream oil and gas expansion plans.

Private Equity’s Dirty Dozen, 12 Firms Dripping In Oil And The Wealthy Executives Who Run Them (pdf), Seidman et al., LittleSis and the Private Equity Stakeholder Project

The report profiles some of the most destructive fossil fuel investments of the world’s top private equity firms — and the huge fortunes, luxurious lives, prized possessions, powerful connections and prestigious positions that these firms’ top executives have accumulated through those dirty investments. The private equity executives featured in this report lead 12 firms that have substantial investments in fossil fuels.

FuelEU Maritime: T&E analysis and recommendations. How to drive the uptake of sustainable fuels in European shipping (pdf), Gozillon et al., Transport & Environment

In July 2021, the European Commission proposed the first-ever legislative initiative requiring ships to progressively switch to alternative marine fuels. Out of the four proposals addressing shipping in the EU’s so-called Fit-for-55 Package, the FuelEU Maritime, if fixed, has the highest potential to put the sector on track to decarbonization by 2050. The proposed regulation has a unique design: a goal based GHG intensity target that increases in stringency over time, requiring ship operators to reduce the carbon footprint of the energy used onboard ships. T&E previously warned that the simple goal-based, i.e., technology neutral, target envisioned in the draft proposal would likely result in the acceleration of fossil natural gas uptake as the cheapest alternative fuel eligible until 2040, as well as biofuels from dubious origin. The report provides an update of the previous T&E analysis following the publication of the final Commission proposal (see Section 1). It confirms the earlier conclusion that the Commission proposal bears high risks of fossil gas lock-in, with liquified natural gas (LNG) to be given a strong push in the market at the expense of more sustainable alternative fuels. The current proposal jeopardizes the transition towards zero-emission shipping.

From the Ground Up. How Land Trusts and Conservancies Are Providing Solutions to Climate Change (pdf), James N. Levitt and Chandni Navalkha, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy

The report shows how land trusts, conservancies, and other civic sector organizations, both nonprofit and nongovernmental, around the globe are addressing climate change. Often working in partnership with others—local, state, and national governments; private sector organizations; universities and research institutions; religious groups; and Indigenous peoples—land trusts and conservancies are effectively designing, demonstrating, and widely deploying innovative responses to climate change. These civic sector entities are conserving land, protecting water supplies, managing stormwater and sea-level rise, maintaining biodiversity, supporting renewable energy facility siting, and sequestering carbon. By sharing examples of innovative and effective initiatives, this report demonstrates that land trusts and conservancies can act quickly and flexibly at all levels, from local to global. These initiatives serve as proof-of-concept models characterized by novel and creative concepts, strategic and measurable significance, cross boundary transferability, and the ability to endure.

Noise, Blazes and Mismatches. Emerging Issues of Environmental Concern (pdf), United Nations Environment Programme

Humanity has altered the planet in many detrimental ways, from the warming of our climate to the ever-diminishing wildernesses on land and in the sea. But in such a complex system as the Earth, science must always keep searching – for both solutions to problems already identified and new threats coming our way. UNEP’s Frontiers Report does this by identifying and exploring areas of emerging or ongoing environmental concern. The 2022 edition delves into three issues: noise pollution in cities, the growing threat of wildfires and shifts in seasonal events – such as flowering, migration and hibernation, an area of study known as phenology.

NuScale’s Small Modular Reactor. Risks of Rising Costs, Likely Delays, and Increasing Competition Cast Doubt on Long Running Development Effort (pdf), Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis

Too late, too expensive, too risky and too uncertain. That, in a nutshell, describes NuScale’s planned small modular reactor (SMR) project, which has been in development since 2001 and will not begin commercial operations before 2029, if ever. There is significant likelihood that the project will take far longer to build than currently estimated. There is significant likelihood that its final cost of power will be much higher than the current $58 per megawatt-hour claim. There is significant likelihood that the reactor will not operate with a 95% capacity factor when it enters commercial service. These compelling risks, coupled with the availability of cheaper and readily available renewable and storage resources, further weaken the rationale for the NuScale SMR.

Turning the Tide Unlearning Helplessness. Munich Security Report 2022 (pdf), Bunde et al., Munich Security Conference

The Munich Security Index (Chapter1 )combines the crucial components that make a risk more serious. Public perceptions of trajectory are combined with imminence and severity alongside a measure to give equal weight to perceptions of preparedness. The overall picture painted by the second edition of the Munich Security Index, based on surveys conducted in November 2021, is one of growing concern about risk. Overall, the people polled are now even more risk-aware than they were in February and March of 2021, when the first wave of research was conducted. This increased awareness pertains, among other things, to the perceived risk posed by mass migration, food shortages, climate change, extreme weather events, rising inequality, and cyberattacks. But it is also evident in risk perceptions toward other countries – China and Russia chief among them. Only four of the 31 risks covered in the index have not seen an overall increase in threat perception: the Covid-19 pandemic (as Delta and Omicron were not yet a major worry for many countries when the polling took place), a potential future pandemic, a national economic or financial crisis, and international organized crime. While the risks posed by climate change and environmental threats continue to be top concerns for the people surveyed, the greatest overall increase in risk perception relates to food shortages and mass migration as a result of war or climate change. Yet risk perceptions and the extent to which these have increased since the last edition of the index still differ greatly by nation: while Germany has seen the greatest increase in worries about risks, overall concern about risks has decreased in China and Brazil.

Water Resources Plan (pdf), Utah Division of Water Resources

The document is the latest in the “Utah State Water Plan” series and the third statewide water plan. Although this plan can be viewed as a general guide to direct Utah’s water-related planning and management into the future, it was specifically written to highlight actions that the Division can take in the coming years to fulfill its mission to plan, conserve, develop, and protect Utah’s water resources. The document summarizes key data obtained through the previous water planning documents, introduces new data where available, and addresses issues of importance to all future water planning efforts. Where possible, it identifies water use trends and makes projections of water use. It explores various means of meeting future water demands and identifies important issues that need to be considered when making water-related decisions such as climate change.

European Electricity Review 2022 (pdf), Moore et al. Ember

The authors analyze full-year electricity generation data for 2021 in all EU-27 countries to understand the region’s progress in transitioning from fossil fuels to clean electricity. The authors compare electricity generation in 2021 to benchmark pre-pandemic levels in 2019, providing the first insight into how the gas crisis is affecting the region’s power sector after its recovery from the pandemic.

Spreading like Wildfire: The Rising Threat of Extraordinary Landscape Fires (pdf), United Nations Environment Programme

Wildfires are becoming more intense and more frequent, ravaging communities and ecosystems in their path. Recent years have seen record-breaking wildfire seasons across the world from Australia to the Arctic to North and South America. With global temperatures on the rise, the need to reduce wildfire risk is more critical than ever. The authors find that climate change and land-use change are making wildfires worse and anticipate a global increase of extreme fires even in areas previously unaffected. Uncontrollable and extreme wildfires can be devastating to people, biodiversity, and ecosystems. They also exacerbate climate change, contributing significant greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere.

What is Climate Risk? A Field Guide for Investors, Lenders, and Regulators (pdf), Imperial College Business School

The report presents a framework for classifying climate risks at the firm level, a “climate risk taxonomy” that captures a broad range of physical and transition risks that may affect a firm’s financial profile. This granular taxonomy encapsulates climate risks in terms of the three traditional climate risk categories and also includes an additional category, natural capital, as follows: 1.Physical risks, acute and chronic; 2.Transition risks related to adaptation; 3.Transition risks related to mitigation, ranging from regulatory compliance risks to reputational and litigation risks; and 4.Natural capital risks, which reflect mainly depletion of both renewable and non-renewable resources that are themselves affected by climate risk factors.

Obtaining articles without 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. For some key journals this all the mention we'll see in RSS feeds, so we 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.

What does "(provisional link)" mean?

When the input list for New Research is processed, some articles do not produce a result from the journal databases we employ. Usually this is because the publisher has not yet supplied information to for the given article. In these cases and in order to still include timely listing of articles, we employ an alternate search tactic. While this method is usually correct, sometimes the link shown will lead to an incorrect destination (available time does not always permit manual checking of these). We invite readers to submit corrections in comments below.

Each edition of New Research is reprocessed some two weeks after intitial publication to catch stragglers into the DOI ecosystem. Many "provisional links" will end up being corrected as part of this process. 


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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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