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Skeptical Science New Research for Week #48, 2020

Posted on 2 December 2020 by Doug Bostrom

Captivating paper on practical negative emissions 

Mineralization of CO2 is a tantalizing means of getting a grip on our accidental changing of the atmosphere. But serious challenges stand in the way of this being a significant means of CO2 removal.  Researchers Corey Myers and Takao Nakagaki provide a quick synopsis of roadblocks to deployment, then describe a promising method that addresses many of the issues thwarting deployment. 

The abstract can't do full justice to this highly interesting open access article, but the closing line is certainly fixating:

Gas-solid mineralization of atmospheric CO2 using naturally abundant surface rocks under ambient conditions and without thermochemical treatment was analyzed for application in Japan. Based on an empirically-verified theoretical framework, a tiered greenhouse containing finely ground rocks was designed with low-speed induced airflow to realize CO2 mineralization reactions over 1 year. Negative CO2 emissions were calculated accounting for CO2 emissions from energy generation, materials production, and removal of vegetation and soil. Under practicable operating conditions, negative emissions using crystalline surface rocks in Japan can reach ~7.6 Gt-CO2/y achieved across 726 sites. The average energy requirement was calculated to be 1.5 GJ t−1-CO2 with an average land requirement of 1.1 km2 per Mt-CO2 annual removal capacity. Carbon debt is paid off after 60 d of operation.

Perhaps similarly to a promising vaccine not being a substitute for common sense, negative emissions technologies can't grace us with permission to continue our caveman habits. That said, even as we reduce and eliminate our CO2 output we're left with an enormous legacy of CO2 lingering in the air. Most of the CO2 from family vacations 50 years ago is still with us right now, as is CO2 from steamships of the early 20th century. All of this will be accounted for one way or another, either by making us warmer or by removal. Removal is a necessary partner in repairing our problem, especially given the speed we'll be able to attain in modernizing past fossil fuel combustion. Direct mineralization of atmospheric CO2 using natural rocks in Japan is open access and free to read, worth reading as a quick education and path to more literature on the general topic, let alone the much needed frisson of hope it affords. 

79 Articles 

[Please note that the Unpaywall API seems to have been having some trouble during compilation of this edition. We'll rerun the process when that's remedied.]

Physical science of climate change, effects

Hysteretic temperature sensitivity of wetland CH4 fluxes explained by substrate availability and microbial activity
Open Access DOI: 10.5194/bg-2020-177-rc1

Observations of climate change, effects

Attribution of the impacts of the 2008 flooding in Cedar Rapids (Iowa) to anthropogenic forcing
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/abc5e5

Changes in Observed Daily Precipitation over Global Land Areas since 1950
DOI: 10.1175/jcli-d-19-0965.1

The catastrophic thermokarst lake drainage events of 2018 in northwestern Alaska: fast-forward into the future
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.5194/tc-14-4279-2020

Seasonality and Trends of Drivers of Mesoscale Convective Systems in Southern West Africa
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1175/jcli-d-20-0194.1

Changes in hourly extreme precipitation in victoria, Australia, from the observational record
Open Access DOI: 10.1016/j.wace.2020.100294

Observed precipitation pattern changes and potential runoff generation capacity from 1961–2016 in the upper reaches of the Hanjiang River Basin, China
DOI: 10.1016/j.atmosres.2020.105392

North American cold events following sudden stratospheric warming in the presence of low Barents-Kara Sea sea ice
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/abc215

Instrumentation & observational methods of climate change, effects

Assessment of ICESat-2 ice surface elevations over the CHINARE route, East Antarctica, based on coordinated multi-sensor observations
Open Access DOI: 10.5194/tc-2020-330 (preprint)

Assessment of machine learning classifiers for global lake ice cover mapping from MODIS TOA reflectance data
DOI: 10.1016/j.rse.2020.112206

Modeling, simulation & projection of climate change, effects MSWE

Impacts of climate change on hurricane flood hazards in Jamaica Bay, New York
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1007/s10584-020-02932-x

Opposite response of strong and moderate positive Indian Ocean Dipole to global warming
DOI: 10.1038/s41558-020-00943-1

Snowmelt control on spring hydrology declines as the vernal window lengthens
Open Access DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/abbd00

Negligible Unforced Historical Pattern Effect on Climate Feedback Strength Found in HadISST-Based AMIP Simulations
DOI: 10.1175/jcli-d-19-0941.1

Heat Balance in the Nordic Seas in a Global 1/12° Coupled Model
DOI: 10.1175/jcli-d-20-0063.1

Response of Global Tropical Cyclone Activity to Increasing CO 2 : Results from Downscaling CMIP6 Models

Evaluation of CMIP6 precipitation simulations across different climatic zones: Uncertainty and model intercomparison
DOI: 10.1016/j.atmosres.2020.105369

Insight from CMIP6 SSP-RCP scenarios for future drought characteristics in China
DOI: 10.1016/j.atmosres.2020.105375

Shorter cyclone clusters modulate changes in European wintertime precipitation extremes
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/abbde7

Advances in climate & climate effects modeling, simulation & projection

Does a successful comprehensive evaluation increase confidence in a hydrological model intended for climate impact assessment?
DOI: 10.1007/s10584-020-02930-z

Cryosphere & climate change

Large and irreversible future decline of the Greenland ice sheet
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.5194/tc-14-4299-2020

Why has no new record-minimum Arctic sea-ice extent occurred since September 2012?
Open Access DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/abc047


Rapid and sustained environmental responses to global warming: The Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum in the eastern North Sea
Open Access DOI: 10.5194/cp-2020-150 (preprint)

Biology & climate change

Climate change will cause non-analog vegetation states in Africa and commit vegetation to long-term change
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.5194/bg-17-5829-2020

Multi-decadal changes in structural complexity following mass coral mortality on a Caribbean reef
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.5194/bg-17-5909-2020

The neglected season: warmer autumns counteract harsher winters and promote population growth in Arctic reindeer
DOI: 10.1111/gcb.15458

Denning phenology and reproductive success of wolves in response to climate signals
Open Access DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/abc0ba

Simulated climate change scenarios impact the reproduction and early life stages of a soft coral
DOI: 10.1016/j.marenvres.2020.105215

DNA methylation changes in response to ocean acidification at the time of larval metamorphosis in the edible oyster, Crassostrea hongkongensis

Long-term environmental tolerance of the non-indigenous Pacific oyster to expected contemporary climate change conditions

Disrupted ecosystem and human phenology at the climate frontline in Gwich'in First Nation territory
DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13672

Spatial homogenization of understory plant communities under eCO2 in a mature Eucalyptus woodland

Relative humidity predominantly determines long?term biocrust?forming lichen cover in drylands under climate change
DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.13563

GHG sources & sinks, flux

Biogeochemical and plant trait mechanisms drive enhanced methane emissions in response to whole-ecosystem warming
Open Access DOI: 10.5194/bg-2020-376 (preprint)

Soil profile connectivity can impact microbial substrate use, affecting how soil CO2 effluxes are controlled by temperature (preprint)

Hysteretic temperature sensitivity of wetland CH4 fluxes explained by substrate availability and microbial activity
Open Access DOI: 10.5194/bg-2020-177-rc1

Investigating the sensitivity of soil heterotrophic respiration to recent snow cover changes in Alaska using a satellite-based permafrost carbon model
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.5194/bg-17-5861-2020

Carbon dioxide fluxes and carbon balance of an agricultural grassland in southern Finland
Open Access DOI: 10.5194/bg-2020-422 (preprint)

Ensemble modelling, uncertainty and robust predictions of organic carbon in long?term bare?fallow soils
DOI: 10.1111/gcb.15441

Sediment carbon storage increases in tropical oligotrophic high-mountain lakes
DOI: 10.1016/j.ancene.2020.100272

CO2 negative emissions & mitigation science & engineering

Direct mineralization of atmospheric CO 2 using natural rocks in Japan

Earth system feedbacks following large-scale tropical forest restoration
Open Access DOI: 10.5194/bg-2020-432 (preprint)

The CO 2 reduction potential for the European industry via direct electrification of heat supply (power-to-heat)

Inherent uncertainty disguises attribution of reduced atmospheric CO 2 growth to CO 2 emission reductions for up to a decade

Potential implications of carbon dioxide removal for the sustainable development goals
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1080/14693062.2020.1843388

Accounting for the role of transport and storage infrastructure costs in carbon negative bioenergy deployment
DOI: 10.1002/ghg.2041

Multiple?scale negative impacts of warming on ecosystem carbon use efficiency across the Tibetan Plateau grasslands
DOI: 10.1111/geb.13224


Summer aerosol measurements over the East Antarctic seasonal ice zone
Open Access DOI: 10.5194/acp-2020-1213 (preprint)

Climate change communications & cognition

Navigating through the jungle of information. Informational self-efficacy predicts climate change-related media exposure, knowledge, and behaviour
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1007/s10584-020-02918-9

Exploratory Geovisualization of the Character and Distribution of American Climate Change Beliefs
DOI: 10.1175/wcas-d-20-0071.1

Framing climate change for effective communication: a systematic map
Open Access DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/aba4c7

The role of beliefs, expectations and values in decision-making favoring climate change adaptation—implications for communications with European forest professionals
Open Access DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/abc2fa

Agronomy & climate change

Assessing future drought risks and wheat yield losses in England
DOI: 10.1016/j.agrformet.2020.108248

The effect of climatic factors on nutrients in foods: evidence from a systematic map
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/abafd4

Simplicity on the far side of complexity: optimizing nitrogen for wheat in increasingly variable rainfall environments
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/abc3ef

Economics & finance of climate change & mitigation

Economic and environmental impacts of raising revenues for climate finance from public sources
DOI: 10.1080/14693062.2020.1842719

Framing Loss and Damage from climate change as the failure of Sustainable Development
DOI: 10.1080/17565529.2020.1851640

Accounting for the role of transport and storage infrastructure costs in carbon negative bioenergy deployment
DOI: 10.1002/ghg.2041

Climate change mitigation & adaptation public policy research

The influences of power, politics, and climate risk on US subnational climate action
DOI: 10.1016/j.envsci.2020.06.023

Toward indicators of the performance of US infrastructures under climate change risks
DOI: 10.1007/s10584-020-02942-9

Spatial variation in household consumption-based carbon emission inventories for 1200 Japanese cities

A framework for implementing evidence in policymaking: Perspectives and phases of evidence evaluation in the science-policy interaction
Open Access DOI: 10.1016/j.envsci.2020.09.001

Climate change impacts on human health

Simplicity lacks robustness when projecting heat-health outcomes in a changing climate
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-19994-1

Projected shifts in the distribution of malaria vectors due to climate change
DOI: 10.1007/s10584-020-02926-9

Population ageing determines changes in heat vulnerability to future warming
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/abbd60

Climate variability and child nutrition: Findings from sub-Saharan Africa
Open Access DOI: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2020.102192

Climate change adaptation

A review of estimating population exposure to sea-level rise and the relevance for migration
Open Access DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/abb398

Simulating future land use exposure to extreme floods in metropolitan areas based on an integrated framework
DOI: 10.1016/j.uclim.2020.100738

Investing in climate change adaptation and mitigation: A methodological review of real-options studies
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1007/s13280-020-01342-8

Climate change impacts on human culture

Assessing Aircraft Performance in a Warming Climate
DOI: 10.1175/wcas-d-20-0098.1

Impacts of climate change on hurricane flood hazards in Jamaica Bay, New York
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1007/s10584-020-02932-x

Sea level rise and coastal flooding threaten affordable housing
Open Access DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/abb266

Disrupted ecosystem and human phenology at the climate frontline in Gwich'in First Nation territory
DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13672


Assessing Climate Change Impacts on Live Fuel Moisture and Wildfire Risk Using a Hydrodynamic Vegetation Model
Open Access DOI: 10.5194/bg-2020-430 (preprint)

Global trade in the Anthropocene: A review of trends and direction of environmental factor flows during the Great Acceleration
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1177/2053019620973711

A 2000-year documentary record of levee breaches on the lower Yellow River and their relationship with climate changes and human activities
DOI: 10.1177/0959683620972764

Summer Russian heat waves and their links to Greenland's ice melt and sea surface temperature anomalies over the North Atlantic and the Barents–Kara Seas

Satellite-observed changes of surface spectral reflectances due to solar farming and the implication for radiation budget
Open Access DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/abbdea

Movements shaping climate futures: A systematic mapping of protests against fossil fuel and low-carbon energy projects
Open Access DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/abc197

Climate variability and implications for keeping rivers cool in England
Open Access DOI: 10.1016/j.crm.2020.100259

Informed opinion, nudges & major initiatives

The future of global environmental assessments: Making a case for fundamental change
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1177/2053019620971664

Achievements and needs for the climate change scenario framework
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1038/s41558-020-00952-0

Risking the Earth Part 2: power politics and structural reform of the IPCC and UNFCCC
Open Access DOI: 10.1016/j.crm.2020.100260


Obtaining articles wihout journal subscriptions

We know it's frustrating that many articles we cite here are not free to read. One-off paid access fees are generally astronomically priced, suitable for such as "On a Heuristic Point of View Concerning the Production and Transformation of Light but not as a gamble on unknowns. With a median world income of US$ 9,3733, for most of us US$ 42 is significant money to wager on an article's relevance and importance. 

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  • 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 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 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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Comments 1 to 2:

  1. The link for Changes in Observed Daily Precipitation over Global Land Areas since 1950 is broken, but the DOI link works.

    Maybe the URL behind the paper title should just be the DOI URL? :) 

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  2. Thanks Dawei. For some reason URLs from AMS were truncated in RSS feed. - I'd better recheck all of 'em. 

    Article name URL is preserved for purpose of recording details of original provenance. At least we now know that the DOI scheme for long term access works. :-)

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