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Skeptical Science New Research for Week #18 2023

Posted on 4 May 2023 by Doug Bostrom, Marc Kodack

Open access notables

In connection with "how do we feed ourselves without disrupting the climate," Research needs for a food system transition by Sunala Shukli McDermid and coauthors and published in Climatic Change first reviews what we've learned of impacts from our agriculture and in particular animal husbandry on Earth systems, including climate. The review's conclusion remains familiar: there's an urgent need to make some major changes. That's going to need a lot of attention to a lot of detail, and how to work at that level is the main thrust of the article's purpose. The authors go on to argue we need to practice concerted, systematic research in key areas of agriculture and agricultural policy so as to inform our steering of transitions, identify pitfalls, and make translating scientific findings into policy more efficient. They break this big overall challenge into more digestible conceptual chunks, with suggestions on how to get started.

Also having an emphasis on animal agriculture but with specific remedies in mind come Biloltto et al. with Carbon, cash, cattle and the climate crisis, in Sustainability Science. The coworkers suggest several key methods to significantly reduce the greenhouse effects of continuing to consume animal protein from large mammals, including vaccination of animals so as to control enteric methane. 

Fuceri, Ganslmeier & Ostry ask: Are climate change policies politically costly? A key question given the risk appetite of many policiticians. The team reports some fairly palatable answers in Energy Policy. Policies can be effective yet relatively benign when it comes to generating resentment in electorates if delivered with sensitivity to timing and with economic impacts buffered and damped by appropriately choosing points of policy application. As well it's important not to leave people "in the lurch:" 

Our results show that when CCPs are adopted in times of increasing inequality, political costs are magnified. However, redistributive instruments targeted at the individuals experiencing higher economic insecurity are viable strategies to overcome the political fallout from CCPs and support governments to take necessary action without risking losing office.

Tensions and heat in climate mitigation policy discussions often rise when certain technologies are in play. For different reasons this is true of both nuclear power and carbon capture and sequestration. Each carries baggage. Nuclear power has as history of hard-selling by enthusiasts who've often downplayed or even denied various challeges arguably unique to this general area of technology, with the credibility of the entire nuclear enterprise thus dragged down as we've experienced a few disaster cases wildly outside of promoters' range of negative possibilities. Meanwhile, carbon capture and storage (CCS) is currently in favor with legacy fossil fuel concerns as a means of prolonging monetization, with "will it actually help" being a minor detail in such cases of narrow self-interest. Even so, it remains the case that each suite of technologies may yet play a useful role in our continuum to permanently sustainable energy sources. In this week's government/NGO section are broad updates  on prospects of both, with each report sounding a bit boosterish on its face. Pathways to Commercial Liftoff: Carbon Management comes us courtesy of the US Dept. of Energy.  Meanwhile the US National Academies of Science, Engineering & Medicine reports in with Laying the Foundation for New and Advanced Nuclear Reactors in the United States.

103 articles in 56 journals by 671 contributing authors

Physical science of climate change, effects

Extreme Surface Energy Budget Anomalies in the High Arctic in Winter, Murto et al., Journal of Climate 10.1175/jcli-d-22-0209.1

Spatiotemporal Variability of Tropical Cyclone–Induced Ocean Heat Uptake and Its Effect on Ocean Heat Content, Fan et al., Journal of Climate 10.1175/jcli-d-22-0595.1

Observations of climate change, effects

Downslope Wind-Driven Fires in the Western United States, Abatzoglou et al., Earth's Future Open Access 10.1029/2022ef003471

Elevation dependency of temperature trend over the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau during 1901–2015, Yang et al., Atmospheric Research 10.1016/j.atmosres.2023.106791

Heatwaves in Mozambique (1983)–2016: Characteristics, trends and city-level summaries using high-resolution CHIRTS-daily, Pereira Marghidan et al., Weather and Climate Extremes Open Access 10.1016/j.wace.2023.100565

Secular changes (1826–2021) of human thermal stress according to UTCI in Kraków (southern Poland), B?a?ejczyk & Twardosz, International Journal of Climatology 10.1002/joc.8083

The observed features and some possible reasons of annual temperature extremes over Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region for a century long-term based on newly constructed daily observations, Si et al., International Journal of Climatology 10.1002/joc.8085

The start of frozen dates over northern permafrost regions with the changing climate, Li et al., Global Change Biology 10.1111/gcb.16752

Instrumentation & observational methods of climate change, effects

Ambiguous Variations in Tropical Latent Heat Flux since the Years around 1998, Zhang et al., Journal of Climate 10.1175/jcli-d-22-0381.1

Separating Anthropogenically- and Naturally-Caused Temperature Trends: A Systematic Approach Based On Climate Memory Analysis, Yuan et al., Geophysical Research Letters Open Access 10.1029/2022gl102232

Modeling, simulation & projection of climate change, effects

Assessing future projections of warm-season marine heatwave characteristics with three CMIP6 models, Li & Donner, Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans 10.1029/2022jc019253

Diverging Northern Hemisphere Trends in Meteorological Versus Ecological Indicators of Spring Onset in CMIP6, Li et al., Geophysical Research Letters Open Access pdf 10.1029/2023gl102833

Advancement of climate & climate effects modeling, simulation & projection

Biogeochemical and Physical Assessment of CMIP5 and CMIP6 Ocean Components for the southwest Pacific Ocean, Rickard et al., Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences 10.1029/2022jg007123

Developing a Methodology for Model Intercomparison and Its Application to Improve Simulated Streamflow by Land Surface Models, Tinumbang et al., Journal of Hydrometeorology 10.1175/jhm-d-22-0183.1

The Sensitivity of Convective Cloud Ensemble Statistics to Horizontal Grid Spacing in Idealized RCE Simulations, Savre & Craig, Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences 10.1175/jas-d-22-0164.1

Cryosphere & climate change

(Un)frozen foundations: A study of permafrost construction practices in Russia, Alaska, and Canada, Landers & Streletskiy, Ambio 10.1007/s13280-023-01866-9

Accelerated glacier mass loss in the Southeastern Tibetan Plateau since the 1970s, Luo et al., Advances in Climate Change Research Open Access 10.1016/j.accre.2023.04.007

Characteristics of Surface “Melt Potential” over Antarctic Ice Shelves based on Regional Atmospheric Model Simulations of Summer Air Temperature Extremes from 1979/80 to 2018/19, Orr et al., Journal of Climate 10.1175/jcli-d-22-0386.1

Glacier Mass Loss Between 2010 and 2020 Dominated by Atmospheric Forcing, Jakob & Gourmelen, Geophysical Research Letters Open Access pdf 10.1029/2023gl102954

Global Climate Impacts of Greenland and Antarctic Meltwater: A Comparative Study, Li et al., Journal of Climate 10.1175/jcli-d-22-0433.1

Sea level & climate change

Constraints on the Timing and Extent of Deglacial Grounding Line Retreat in West Antarctica, Venturelli et al., AGU Advances Open Access pdf 10.1029/2022av000846

Sediment delivery to sustain the Ganges-Brahmaputra delta under climate change and anthropogenic impacts, Raff et al., Nature Communications Open Access 10.1038/s41467-023-38057-9

Paleoclimate & paleogeochemistry

A 258-year-long data set of temperature and precipitation fields for Switzerland since 1763, Imfeld et al., Climate of the Past Open Access pdf 10.5194/cp-19-703-2023

Evolution of Global Ocean Tide Levels Since the Last Glacial Maximum, Sulzbach et al., Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology 10.1029/2022pa004556

Natural climate change and glaciations, Walzer & Hendel, Earth 10.1016/j.earscirev.2023.104435

What the geological past can tell us about the future of the ocean’s twilight zone, Crichton et al., Nature Communications Open Access 10.1038/s41467-023-37781-6

Biology & climate change, related geochemistry

Climate change, tree demography, and thermophilization in western US forests, Rosenblad et al., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Open Access 10.1073/pnas.2301754120

Climate or diet? The importance of biotic interactions in determining species range size, Perry, The Holocene Open Access 10.1177/095968360301300516

Climate-driven spatial and temporal patterns in peatland pool biogeochemistry, Arsenault et al., Global Change Biology Open Access pdf 10.1111/gcb.16748

Contrasting ecosystem vegetation response in global drylands under drying and wetting conditions, Abel et al., Global Change Biology 10.1111/gcb.16745

Increase in protandry over time in a long-distance migratory bird, Hedlund et al., Ecology and Evolution Open Access 10.1002/ece3.9037

Life-history responses to temperature and seasonality mediate ectotherm consumer–resource dynamics under climate warming, Twardochleb et al., Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 10.1098/rspb.2022.2377

Microhabitat conditions remedy heat stress effects on insect activity, Terlau et al., Global Change Biology Open Access pdf 10.1111/gcb.16712

Multi-trait analysis reveals large interspecific differences for phytoplankton in response to thermal change, Ye et al., Marine Environmental Research 10.1016/j.marenvres.2023.106008

Physiologically vulnerable or resilient? Tropical birds, global warming, and redistributions, Monge et al., Ecology and Evolution Open Access pdf 10.1002/ece3.9985

Projected northward shifts in eastern red-backed salamanders due to changing climate, Hedrick et al., Ecology and Evolution Open Access 10.1002/ece3.9999

Satellite-Based Monitoring of Eutrophication in the Earth's Largest Transboundary Lake, Mozafari et al., GeoHealth Open Access 10.1029/2022gh000770

Temporal and spatial variability in population traits of an intertidal fucoid reveals local-scale climatic refugia, Sánchez de Pedro et al., Marine Environmental Research 10.1016/j.marenvres.2023.106006

The effect of climate change on avian offspring production: A global meta-analysis, Halupka et al., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Open Access 10.1073/pnas.2208389120

Threshold responses of soil gross N transformation rates to aridity gradient, Song et al., Global Change Biology 10.1111/gcb.16737

GHG sources & sinks, flux, related geochemistry

Biogenic carbon pool production maintains the Southern Ocean carbon sink, Huang et al., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Open Access 10.1073/pnas.2217909120

CH4 and N2O emissions from smallholder agricultural systems on tropical peatlands in Southeast Asia, Jovani?Sancho et al., Global Change Biology Open Access pdf 10.1111/gcb.16747

Exogenous carbon turnover within the soil food web strengthens soil carbon sequestration through microbial necromass accumulation, Kou et al., Global Change Biology 10.1111/gcb.16749

Multimodal or intermodal: greenhouse gas emissions in less than container load in China–Pakistan trade, Fishbain, Encyclopedia of Pain Open Access 10.1007/978-3-642-28753-4_2514

Plant influences on soil microbial carbon pump efficiency, Feng & Wang, Global Change Biology 10.1111/gcb.16728

Trends in atmospheric ethane, Li et al., Earth System Science Data Open Access pdf 10.5194/essd-14-4351-2022

CO2 capture, sequestration science & engineering

A quantitative risk assessment approach for developing contingency plans at a geologic carbon storage site, Mitchell et al., Greenhouse Gases: Science and Technology 10.1002/ghg.2219

Demystifying the roles of single metal site and cluster in CO2 reduction via light and electric dual-responsive polyoxometalate-based metal-organic frameworks, Huang et al., Science Advances Open Access 10.1126/sciadv.add5598

Mapping existing wellbore locations to compare technical risks between onshore and offshore CCS activities in Texas, Meckel et al., Greenhouse Gases: Science and Technology 10.1002/ghg.2220

Numerical geo-modelling of ‘X-Field’, central swamp II Depobelt, Niger Delta, Nigeria: implications for carbon capture and sequestration, Yahaya-Shiru et al., International Journal of Environmental Science and Technology 10.1007/s13762-023-04942-5


A wind of change for soft-sediment infauna within operational offshore windfarms, Lefaible et al., Marine Environmental Research 10.1016/j.marenvres.2023.106009

An empirical study on consumer attitude and perception towards adoption of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in India: Policy implications for stakeholders, Harichandan & Kar, Energy Policy 10.1016/j.enpol.2023.113587

Climate change communications & cognition

Are climate change policies politically costly?, Furceri et al., Energy Policy Open Access 10.1016/j.enpol.2023.113575

COVID-19 Pandemic as an Opportunity or Challenge: Applying Psychological Distance Theory and the Co-Benefit Frame to Promote Public Support for Climate Change Mitigation on Social Media, Moore et al., Environmental Communications, 10.1080/17524032.2023.2205038

COVID-19 and climate change: The social-psychological roots of conflict and conflict interventions during global crises, Burrows et al., WIREs Climate Change Open Access 10.1002/wcc.837

Fanning the flames or burning out? Testing competing hypotheses about repeated exposure to threatening climate change messages, Skurka et al., Climatic Change,  110.1007/s10584-023-03539-8

Organising responses to climate change: the politics of mitigation, adaptation and suffering, Levy, Environmental Politics 10.1080/09644016.2023.2204045

Agronomy, animal husbundry, food production & climate change

Carbon, cash, cattle and the climate crisis, Bilotto et al., Sustainability Science Open Access 10.1007/s11625-023-01323-2

CH4 and N2O emissions from smallholder agricultural systems on tropical peatlands in Southeast Asia, Jovani?Sancho et al., Global Change Biology Open Access pdf 10.1111/gcb.16747

Enhancing farmers’ resilience to climate change-induced impacts through financial inclusion in Sidama region, southern Ethiopia, Bekele, Climate and Development 10.1080/17565529.2023.2203675

Hierarchy of value orientation and beliefs in climate change influencing the farmers’ extractive or non-extractive behavior on the farm, Karami, Environment, Development and Sustainability Open Access pdf 10.1007/s10668-023-03215-y

Nitrogen fertilization and CO2 concentration synergistically affect the growth and protein content of Agropyron mongolicum, Xu et al., PeerJ Open Access 10.7717/peerj.14273

Quantifying hazard of drought and heat compound extreme events during maize (Zea mays L.) growing season using Magnitude Index and Copula, Guo et al., Weather and Climate Extremes Open Access 10.1016/j.wace.2023.100566

The carbon cost of agricultural production in the global land rush, Liao et al., Global Environmental Change 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2023.102679

The effects of climate change on food production in India: evidence from the ARDL model, Ahmed et al., Environment, Development and Sustainability Open Access 10.1007/s10668-023-03209-w

The impact of agricultural management on soil aggregation and carbon storage is regulated by climatic thresholds across a 3000 km European gradient, Edlinger et al., Global Change Biology Open Access pdf 10.1111/gcb.16677

Tree-ring growth varies with climate and stand density in a red pine plantation forest in the Great Lakes region of North America, McKenzie et al., Dendrochronologia 10.1016/j.dendro.2023.126091

Hydrology, hydrometeorology & climate change

Geomorphic response of low-gradient, meandering and braided alluvial river channels to increased sediment supply, Kemper et al., Earth 10.1016/j.earscirev.2023.104429

MOPREDAS&century database and precipitation trends in mainland Spain, 1916–2020, Gonzalez?Hidalgo et al., International Journal of Climatology Open Access pdf 10.1002/joc.8060

Climate change economics

Financing needs to achieve Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement in Caribbean Small Island Developing States, Mohan, Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change Open Access pdf 10.1007/s11027-023-10062-9

Impact of global value chain and technological innovation on China’s industrial greenhouse gas emissions and trend prediction, Yu et al., International Journal of Environmental Science and Technology Open Access pdf 10.1007/s13762-023-04885-x

Regional revenues of solar and wind generation in Texas, Woo et al., Energy Policy 10.1016/j.enpol.2023.113586

The impact of competition, trust and capital on renewable energy auction outcomes in sub-Saharan Africa: Analysing auctions in South Africa, Zambia and Namibia, Kruger & Eberhard, Energy Policy 10.1016/j.enpol.2023.113572

Climate change mitigation public policy research

A blessing or a burden? Assessing the impact of Climate Change Mitigation efforts in Europe using Quantile Regression Models, , New Scientist Open Access 10.1016/s0262-4079(20)30825-3

A typology of community-based energy citizenship: An analysis of the ownership structure and institutional logics of 164 energy communities in France, Dudka et al., Energy Policy Open Access 10.1016/j.enpol.2023.113588

Are climate change policies politically costly?, Furceri et al., Energy Policy Open Access 10.1016/j.enpol.2023.113575

Coal generator revenues and the rise of renewable generation: Evidence from Australia's national electricity market, Csereklyei et al., Energy Policy Open Access 10.1016/j.enpol.2023.113580

Grid integration feasibility and investment planning of offshore wind power under carbon-neutral transition in China, Guo et al., Nature Communications Open Access 10.1038/s41467-023-37536-3

Impacts of solar photovoltaic projects on sustainable livelihoods: Evidence from rural China, Liu et al., Energy for Sustainable Development 10.1016/j.esd.2023.04.007

Rooftop solar policies feasibility assessment model: Vietnam case study, Qureshi et al., Energy Policy 10.1016/j.enpol.2023.113577

Rooftop solar policies feasibility assessment model: Vietnam case study, Qureshi et al., Energy Policy 10.1016/j.enpol.2023.113577

Technology costs for the first wave of wind farms in Vietnam: Paying extra for better wind nearshore, Ha-Duong, Energy for Sustainable Development 10.1016/j.esd.2023.04.010

Climate change adaptation & adaptation public policy research

(Un)frozen foundations: A study of permafrost construction practices in Russia, Alaska, and Canada, Landers & Streletskiy, Ambio 10.1007/s13280-023-01866-9

A framework to assess multi-hazard physical climate risk for power generation projects from publicly-accessible sources, Luo et al., Communications Earth & Environment Open Access pdf 10.1038/s43247-023-00782-w

Assessing climate risk using ensembles: A novel framework for applying and extending open-source climate risk assessment platforms, Dawkins et al., Climate Risk Management Open Access 10.1016/j.crm.2023.100510

Organising responses to climate change: the politics of mitigation, adaptation and suffering, Levy, Environmental Politics 10.1080/09644016.2023.2204045

Spatial Heterogeneity of Preferences for Sea-Level Rise Adaptation: Empirical Evidence from Yearlong and Seasonal Residents in Florida, Meng & Mozumder, Climate Risk Management Open Access 10.1016/j.crm.2023.100515

Spatiotemporal distribution of power outages with climate events and social vulnerability in the USA, Do et al., Nature Communications Open Access 10.1038/s41467-023-38084-6

Spinning in circles? A systematic review on the role of theory in social vulnerability, resilience and adaptation research, Kuhlicke et al., Global Environmental Change 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2023.102672

The hazard components of representative key risks The physical climate perspective, Tebaldi et al., Climate Risk Management Open Access 10.1016/j.crm.2023.100516

The “Nuts and Bolts” of Doing Coproduction: Exploring Implementation Decisions in Climate Adaptation Research with Stakeholders, Clifford et al., Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society Open Access pdf 10.1175/bams-d-21-0292.1

What drives local climate change adaptation? A qualitative comparative analysis, Braunschweiger & Ingold , Environmental Science & Policy Open Access 10.1016/j.envsci.2023.03.013

Climate change impacts on human health

Climate and human health: a review of publication trends in the International Journal of Biometeorology, Motlogeloa & Fitchett, International Journal of Biometeorology Open Access 10.1007/s00484-023-02466-8

West Nile virus eco-epidemiology and climate change, Heidecke et al., PLOS Climate Open Access 10.1371/journal.pclm.0000129


A Workshop on Advances in Our Understanding of Elevation Dependent Climate Change, Napoli et al., Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society Open Access pdf 10.1175/bams-d-23-0043.1

Atmospheric trends explained by changes in frequency of short-term circulation patterns, Rudeva et al., Communications Earth & Environment Open Access pdf 10.1038/s43247-023-00785-7

Challenging the values of the polluter elite: A global consequentialist response to Evensen and Graham's (2022) ‘The irreplaceable virtues of in-person conferences’, Whitmarsh & Kreil, Journal of Environmental Psychology 10.1016/j.jenvp.2022.101881

How the 1999 Climate Shift Has Changed MJO Propagation Diversity, Wang & Wang, Journal of Climate 10.1175/jcli-d-22-0749.1

Objectively combining climate sensitivity evidence, Lewis, Climate Dynamics Open Access pdf 10.1007/s00382-022-06468-x

The interactions among landscape pattern, climate change, and ecosystem services: progress and prospects, Gilman & Wu, Regional Environmental Change 10.1007/s10113-023-02060-z

Informed opinion, nudges & major initiatives

Advancing Weather and Climate Forecasting for Our Changing World, Brunet et al., Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society Open Access pdf 10.1175/bams-d-21-0262.1

An urgent call to address climate change-related human health impacts in Southern Africa, Wright & Kapwata, PLOS Climate Open Access 10.1371/journal.pclm.0000204

Going beyond market-based mechanisms to finance nature-based solutions and foster sustainable futures, Chausson et al., PLOS Climate Open Access pdf 10.1371/journal.pclm.0000169

Placing diverse knowledge systems at the core of transformative climate research, Orlove et al., Ambio Open Access 10.1007/s13280-023-01857-w

Representation of adaptation in quantitative climate assessments, van Maanen et al., Nature Climate Change Open Access 10.1038/s41558-023-01644-1

Research needs for a food system transition, McDermid et al., Climatic Change Open Access pdf 10.1007/s10584-023-03507-2

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

Clean Energy Now for a Safer Climate Future - Pathways to Net Zero in the United States by 2050, Jacqueline Ennis and Amanda Levin, Natural Resources Defense Council

To align with global efforts to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, the United States faces the monumental yet achievable task of cutting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to net zero no later than 2050. Even with last year’s historic climate legislation, the Inflation Reduction Act, the country is not on track to reach its climate goals. Doing so will require critical choices about how and where to invest economic, political, and social capital in the coming decades. Modeling by the authors is used to provide guidance on how to prioritize these choices by estimating the technology, infrastructure, and cost requirements of different pathways to net zero. The authors found that by deploying five crucial decarbonization strategies—clean power, energy efficiency, electrification, natural carbon solutions, and decarbonized fuels—achieving net zero GHG emissions in the United States can be technologically feasible and cost-effective. The first four decarbonization strategies capture the highest priority actions for getting the United States on track to net zero within this crucial decade.

The Carlyle Group’s Hidden Climate Impact: Exposing a decade of fossil fuel investments, Giachino et al., Private Equity Stakeholder Project, Global Energy Monitor, and Americans for Financial Reform Education Fund

Carlyle stands out among large diversified private equity firms as having one of the largest energy portfolios—most of it devoted to fossil fuels. The Carlyle Group’s lopsided energy portfolio has approximately $22.4 billion in carbon-based energy and $1.4 billion (less than 1 percent of assets under management) committed to renewable and sustainable energy companies. Exploiting regulatory exemptions and loopholes, private equity firms like Carlyle have become major greenhouse gas polluters, far away from public scrutiny and with minimal regulatory oversight. Private equity firms stand ready to swoop in and acquire polluting assets sold by publicly-listed companies under public and investor pressure to cut emissions from their operations. Furthermore, large institutional investors such as university endowments, philanthropic foundations, and public pension funds that have set ambitious decarbonization goals to mitigate climate risks in their portfolios are still heavily invested in private equity firms financing polluting assets. The authors find that Carlyle invested billions of dollars in fossil fuel assets which have dumped at least 277 million metric tons of CO2 and other greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere from 2011 to 2021, contributing to the global climate crisis, and harming low-income communities and communities of color disproportionately.

Human-induced climate change increased drought severity in Horn of Africa, Kimutai et al., World Weather Attribution

The southern part of the Horn of Africa, covering parts of southern Ethiopia, southern Somalia, and eastern Kenya saw below-average rainfall for the short rains (October-December) in 2020, 2021, and 2022 as well as the long rains (March-May) in 2021 and 2022. In order to identify whether human-induced climate change was a driver of the low rainfall, i.e. the meteorological drought, the authors analyzed rainfall over the most impacted region in the southern Horn of Africa, covering parts of southern Ethiopia, southern Somalia, and eastern Kenya, for 24 consecutive months, from January 2021 to December 2022, as well as just the individual 2022 March-May and October-December seasons separately. The authors found that in today’s climate, which has been warmed by about 1.2°C through human-induced greenhouse gas emissions, the below-average rainfall in the March-May season is a 1 in 10-year event, a 1 in-5-year event in the short rains. For the entire 24-month period there is a 5% chance every year for such an event to develop. The authors found that, as a result of human-induced climate change, the combination of low rainfall and high evapotranspiration as unusual as the recent conditions would not have led to drought at all in a 1.2°C cooler world. In today’s climate, the same event is now classified as exceptional drought, with major crop and pasture losses and widespread water shortages. This change in drought severity is primarily due to the strong increase in evaporative demand caused by higher temperatures. Climate change has made events like the current drought much stronger and more likely; a conservative estimate is that such droughts have become about 100 times more likely.

Laying the Foundation for New and Advanced Nuclear Reactors in the United States, National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

The world confronts an existential challenge in responding to climate change, resulting in an urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from all sectors of the economy. What will it take for new and advanced nuclear reactors to play a role in decarbonization? Nuclear power provides a significant portion of the world's low-carbon electricity, and advanced nuclear technologies have the potential to be smaller, safer, less expensive to build, and better integrated with the modern grid. However, if the United States wants advanced nuclear reactors to play a role in its plans for decarbonization, there are many key challenges that must be overcome at the technical, economic, and regulatory levels. The authors discuss how the United States could support the successful commercialization of advanced nuclear reactors with a set of near-term policies and practices. The authors recommend addressing the need to close technology research gaps, explore new business use cases, improve project management and construction, update regulations and security requirements, prioritize community engagement, strengthen the skilled workforce, and develop competitive financing options.

Pathways to Commercial Liftoff: Carbon Management, Fahs et al., Department of Energy

Today, the United States leads the world in carbon management deployment, with over 20 million tonnes of CO2 per annum (MTPA) of carbon capture capacity. But this is just 1 to 5 percent of what could be needed by 2050: the U.S. will likely need to capture and permanently store approximately 400 to 1,800 MTPA to meet its net-zero commitments by 2050. This scale-up represents a massive investment opportunity of up to approximately $100 billion by 2030 and $600 billion by 2050. A portfolio of carbon management technologies for a suite of applications is commercially mature and ready to deploy today. There are several dozen commercial-scale carbon management projects currently in operation and well over a hundred in stages of project development. The authors discuss the whole carbon management ecosystem, including point-source carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) and carbon dioxide removal technologies (CDR). The authors suggest that the industry is poised to allocate billions of dollars in capital towards carbon management technologies, driven by industries with attractive economics for CCUS, like ethanol, natural gas processing, ammonia, as well as other large integrated projects. This is enabled by the current supportive policy framework, partly based on recent changes from the Inflation Reduction Act. The United States also has excellent storage geology and relatively abundant low-cost zero-carbon energy resources that can power CDR projects.

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.


Please let us know if you're aware of an article you think may be of interest for Skeptical Science research news, or if we've missed something that may be important. Send your input to Skeptical Science via our contact form.

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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