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Skeptical Science New Research for Week #50, 2020

Posted on 16 December 2020 by Doug Bostrom

"Wait - we don't need a bigger computer?"

Readers following the "Advances in climate & climate effects modeling..." portion of the weekly research roundup may have noticed: in general, higher model resolution calculating climate behaviors at finer scales is helpful for increasing model fidelity against real-world observations. Coincident to this is another matter: It may be unfair as a purely scientific matter but climate models are held to a peculiarly high standard, given their crucial role as decision tools affecting huge swathes of human affairs. Within the error brackets of "we're in trouble" models have been good enough for quite a while, but what with the fuss and bother of modernization to account for what we're learning some folks want to make quite sure of what they're buying into, and fair enough on that. 

All of this translates to more hardware and expense, especially with the fading of "Moore's Law." Thus it comes as a welcome relief to "we need more transistors!" when we see such a finding as Jinlun Zhang's Sea ice properties in high?resolution sea ice models, where it appears to be the case that ever-finer resolution does not continue to produce results with productively higher fidelity. The abstract:

An Arctic sea ice–ocean model is run with three uniform horizontal resolutions (6, 4, and 2 km) and identical sea ice and ocean model parameterizations, including an isotropic viscous?plastic (VP) sea ice rheology, a mechanical ice strength parameterization, and an ice ridging parameterization. Driven by the same atmospheric forcing, the three model versions all produce similar spatial patterns and temporal variations of ice thickness and motion fields, resulting in almost identical magnitude and seasonal evolution of total ice volume and mean ice concentration, ice speed, and fractions of ice of various thickness categories over the Arctic Ocean. Increasing model resolution from 6 to 2 km does not significantly improve model performance when compared to NASA IceBridge ice thickness observations. This suggests that the large?scale sea ice properties of the model are insensitive to varying high resolutions within the multifloe scale (2–10 km), and it may be unnecessary to adjust model parameters constantly with increasingly high resolutions. This is also true with models within the aggregate scale (10–75 km), indicating that model parameters used at coarse resolution may be used at high or multi?scale resolution. However, even though the three versions all yield similar mean state of sea ice, they differ in representing anisotropic properties of sea ice. While they produce a basic pattern of major sea ice leads similar to satellite observations, their leads are distributed differently in space and time. Without changing model parameters and sea ice spatiotemporal variability, the 2?km resolution model tends to capture more leads than the other two models.

120 Articles

Physical science of climate change, effects

Unnatural Trend of Global Land Long?term Surface Air Temperature Change
DOI: 10.1002/joc.6961

An updated assessment of near?surface temperature change from 1850: the HadCRUT5 dataset
DOI: 10.1029/2019jd032361

Land surface air temperature variations across the globe updated to 2019: the CRUTEM5 dataset
DOI: 10.1029/2019jd032352

Quantification and interpretation of the climate variability record
Open Access DOI: 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2020.103399

CO2-equivalence metrics for surface albedo change based on the radiative forcing concept: A critical review (preprint)

On the Nature of the Arctic's Positive Lapse?rate Feedback
DOI: 10.1029/2020gl091109

Warmer, wetter climates accelerate mechanical weathering in field data, independent of stress?loading
DOI: 10.1029/2020gl089062

H2O windows and CO2 radiator fins: a clear?sky explanation for the peak in ECS
Open Access DOI: 10.1029/2020gl089609

Spatio?temporal features of storm surge activity and its response to climate change in the southeastern coastal area of China in the past 60 years
DOI: 10.1029/2020jd033234

Overestimated acceleration of the advective Brewer–Dobson circulation due to stratospheric cooling
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1002/qj.3876

Observations of climate change, effects

The Northwestern Pacific Warming Record in August 2020 Occurred under Anthropogenic Forcing
DOI: 10.1029/2020gl090956

Increase in Compound Drought and Heatwaves in a Warming World
DOI: 10.1029/2020gl090617

Spatio?temporal features of storm surge activity and its response to climate change in the southeastern coastal area of China in the past 60 years
DOI: 10.1029/2020jd033234

Long-term trend and solar cycle in the middle atmosphere temperature revealed from merged HALOE and SABER datasets
DOI: 10.1016/j.jastp.2020.105506

Climatology, variability and trends in near?surface wind speeds over the North Atlantic and Europe during 1979–2018 based on ERA5
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1002/joc.6957

Decreasing control of precipitation on grassland spring phenology in temperate China
DOI: 10.1111/geb.13234

Instrumentation & observational methods of climate change, effects

An updated assessment of near?surface temperature change from 1850: the HadCRUT5 dataset
DOI: 10.1029/2019jd032361

Land surface air temperature variations across the globe updated to 2019: the CRUTEM5 dataset
DOI: 10.1029/2019jd032352

ICESat?2 melt depth retrievals: application to surface melt on Amery Ice Shelf, East Antarctica
DOI: 10.1029/2020gl090550

Satellite Monitoring of Global Surface Soil Organic Carbon Dynamics Using the SMAP Level 4 Carbon Product
DOI: 10.1029/2020jg006100

Fusing simulated GEDI, ICESat-2 and NISAR data for regional aboveground biomass mapping
Open Access DOI: 10.1016/j.rse.2020.112234

Towards a comprehensive understanding of global vegetation CO2 assimilation from space

Towards a better surface radiation budget analysis over sea ice in the high Arctic Ocean: a comparative study between satellite, reanalysis, and local?scale observations
DOI: 10.1029/2020jd032555

Modeling, simulation & projection of climate change, effects MSWE

Emergence of significant soil moisture depletion in the near future
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/abc6d2

Intensified Humid Heat Events under Global Warming
DOI: 10.1029/2020gl091462

Projected Changes of Precipitation Characteristics Depend on Downscaling Method and Training Data: MACA versus LOCA Using the U.S. Northeast as an Example

Relative Importance of Internal Climate Variability versus Anthropogenic Climate Change in Global Climate Change
DOI: 10.1175/jcli-d-20-0424.1

The Energy Modeling Forum (EMF)-30 study on short-lived climate forcers: introduction and overview
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1007/s10584-020-02938-5

Higher mass loss over Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets projected in CMIP6 than CMIP5 by high resolution regional downscaling EC-Earth
Open Access DOI: 10.5194/tc-2020-331 (preprint)

Improved Decadal Predictions of North Atlantic Subpolar Gyre SST in CMIP6
DOI: 10.1029/2020gl091307

Simulation of the present and future projection of permafrost on the Qinghai?Tibet Plateau with statistical and machine learning models
Open Access DOI: 10.1029/2020jd033402

Categorization of precipitation changes in China under 1.5 °C and 3 °C global warming using the bivariate joint distribution from a multi-model perspective
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/abc8bb

Present and future changes in precipitation characteristics during Indian Summer Monsoon in CORDEX?CORE simulations
DOI: 10.1002/joc.6951

Advances in climate & climate effects modeling, simulation & projection

Understanding Diverse Model Projections of Future Extreme El Niño
DOI: 10.1175/jcli-d-19-0969.1

Historical changes in surface soil moisture over the contiguous United States: an assessment of CMIP6
DOI: 10.1029/2020gl089991

Sea ice properties in high?resolution sea ice models
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1029/2020jc016686

Multivariate Estimations of Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity from Short Transient Warming Simulations
DOI: 10.1029/2020gl091090

Improving the ocean and atmosphere in a coupled ocean–atmosphere model by assimilating satellite sea?surface temperature and subsurface profile data
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1002/qj.3885

Assimilating synthetic land surface temperature in a coupled land–atmosphere model
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1002/qj.3883

How an urban parameterization affects a high?resolution global climate simulation
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1002/qj.3874

Partial validation of a lossy compression approach to computing radiative transfer in cloud system?resolving models
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1002/qj.3922

Large Sensitivity of Simulated Indian Monsoon Rainfall (ISMR) to Global Warming: Implications of ISMR Projections
DOI: 10.1029/2020jd033511

Cryosphere & climate change

Forecasting the permanent loss of lake ice in the Northern Hemisphere within the 21st century
DOI: 10.1029/2020gl091108

The seasonal and regional transition to an ice?free Arctic
DOI: 10.1029/2020gl090825

The Presence and Widespread Distribution of Dark Sediment in Greenland Ice Sheet Supraglacial Streams Implies Substantial Impact of Microbial Communities on Sediment Deposition and Albedo
DOI: 10.1029/2020gl088444

Steep glacier bed knickpoints mitigate inland thinning in Greenland
DOI: 10.1029/2020gl090112

Complex patterns of Antarctic Ice Sheet Mass Change Resolved by Time?dependent Rate Modeling of GRACE and GRACE Follow?on Observations
DOI: 10.1029/2020gl090961


Long?term drivers of vegetation turnover in Southern Hemisphere temperate ecosystems
DOI: 10.1111/geb.13232

Biology & climate change

Permafrost thaw in boreal peatlands is rapidly altering forest community composition
DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.13569

Low potential for evolutionary rescue from climate change in a tropical fish

Global tree-ring analysis reveals rapid decrease in tropical tree longevity with temperature

Ocean-related global change alters lipid biomarker production in common marine phytoplankton
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.5194/bg-17-6287-2020

A growing freshwater lens in the Arctic Ocean with sustained climate warming disrupts marine ecosystem function
DOI: 10.1029/2020jg005693

How Big is Big Enough? Surprising Responses of a Semi?arid Grassland to Increasing Deluge Size
DOI: 10.1111/gcb.15479

Responses of ichthyoplankton assemblages to the recent marine heatwave and previous climate fluctuations in several Northeast Pacific marine ecosystems
DOI: 10.1111/gcb.15415

Plants with less chlorophyll: A global change perspective
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1111/gcb.15470

Discriminating climate, land?cover and random effects on species range dynamics
DOI: 10.1111/gcb.15483

Opposing pressures of climate and land?use change on a native bee
DOI: 10.1111/gcb.15468

Decadal shift in foraging strategy of a migratory southern ocean predator
DOI: 10.1111/gcb.15465

Anthropogenic forcing of fish boldness and its impacts on ecosystem structure
DOI: 10.1111/gcb.15473

Quantifying thermal exposure for migratory riverine species: Phenology of Chinook salmon populations predicts thermal stress
DOI: 10.1111/gcb.15450

Warming intensifies the interaction between the temperate seagrass Posidonia oceanica and its dominant fish herbivore Sarpa salpa

Contribution of Posidonia oceanica meadows in the context of climate change mitigation in the Mediterranean Sea

Assessing the strength of climate and land?use influences on montane epiphyte communities
DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13679

Global effects of extreme temperatures on wild bumblebees

Decreasing control of precipitation on grassland spring phenology in temperate China
DOI: 10.1111/geb.13234

GHG sources & sinks, flux

Stimulation of soil respiration by elevated CO2 is enhanced under nitrogen limitation in a decade-long grassland study

Seasonality, drivers, and isotopic composition of soil CO2 fluxes from tropical forests of the Congo Basin

Vertical partitioning of CO2 production in a forest soil
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2005.01142.x

Lake Morphometry and River Network Controls on Evasion of Terrestrially Sourced Headwater CO2

Changes in Biomass Turnover Times in Tropical Forests and Their Environmental Drivers from 2001 to 2012
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1029/2020ef001655

Methane and Carbon Dioxide Emissions From Reservoirs: Controls and Upscaling
DOI: 10.1029/2019jg005474

Satellite Monitoring of Global Surface Soil Organic Carbon Dynamics Using the SMAP Level 4 Carbon Product
DOI: 10.1029/2020jg006100

Methane emissions during different freezing-thawing periods from a fen on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau: Four years of measurements
DOI: 10.1016/j.agrformet.2020.108279

Fusing simulated GEDI, ICESat-2 and NISAR data for regional aboveground biomass mapping
Open Access DOI: 10.1016/j.rse.2020.112234

Shallow groundwater inhibits soil respiration and favors carbon uptake in a wet alpine meadow ecosystem
Open Access DOI: 10.1016/j.agrformet.2020.108254

Spatial and temporal variability of diffusive CO2 and CH4 fluxes from the Amazonian reservoir Petit?Saut (French Guiana) reveals the importance of allochthonous inputs for long?term C emissions

Integrating carbon emission, accumulation and transport in inland waters to understand their role in the global carbon cycle
DOI: 10.1111/gcb.15448

Lower soil moisture and deep soil temperatures in thermokarst features increase old soil carbon loss after ten years of experimental permafrost warming
DOI: 10.1111/gcb.15481

Methane emissions respond to soil temperature in convergent patterns but divergent sensitivities across wetlands along altitude
DOI: 10.1111/gcb.15454

Leaching of dissolved organic carbon from mineral soils plays a significant role in the terrestrial carbon balance
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1111/gcb.15460

"Apples and Oranges": On comparing simulated historic near?surface temperature changes with observations
DOI: 10.1002/qj.3871

Foliar fungi and plant diversity drive ecosystem carbon fluxes in experimental prairies

Forest fire induces short?term shifts in soil food webs with consequences for carbon cycling
DOI: 10.1111/ele.13657

CO2 removal & mitigation science & engineering

Impact of quasi?idealized future land cover scenarios at high latitudes in complex terrain
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1029/2020ef001838

Dynamic life cycle carbon and energy analysis for cross-laminated timber in the Southeastern United States
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/abc5e6

Contribution of Posidonia oceanica meadows in the context of climate change mitigation in the Mediterranean Sea

CO2?water?rock interactions in undeformed and sheared claystone caprocks from Northern Europe

Modification of postcombustion CO2 capture process: A techno?economic analysis

Geoengineering climate

Tropical Pacific climate variability under solar geoengineering: impacts on ENSO extremes
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.5194/acp-20-15461-2020

Designing a radiative antidote to CO2
DOI: 10.1002/essoar.10504359.1

Black carbon

Responses of Arctic Black Carbon and Surface Temperature to Multi-Region Emission Reductions: an HTAP2 Ensemble Modeling Study
Open Access DOI: 10.5194/acp-2020-1176 (preprint)

Estimates of mass absorption cross sections of black carbon for filter-based absorption photometers in the Arctic
Open Access DOI: 10.5194/acp-2020-1190 (preprint)

A shallow ice core from East Greenland showing a reduction in black carbon during 1990?2016
Open Access DOI: 10.1016/j.accre.2020.11.009


Return to different climate states by reducing sulphate aerosols under future CO2 concentrations

How Asian aerosols impact regional surface temperatures across the globe
Open Access DOI: 10.5194/acp-2020-1029 (preprint)

Climate change communications & cognition

How Believing Climate Change is a “Hoax” Shapes Climate Skepticism in the United States
DOI: 10.1080/23251042.2020.1855884

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

Water Wars: A “Critical Listening In” to Rural Radio Discourse on a River System in Trouble
DOI: 10.1080/17524032.2020.1837901

Risk Here vs. Risk There: Intention to Seek Information About Gulf Coastal Erosion
DOI: 10.1080/17524032.2020.1853582

Agronomy & climate change

Farm-level land use responses to climate change among smallholder farmers in northern Benin, West Africa
DOI: 10.1080/17565529.2020.1844129

Africa Would Need to Import More Maize in the Future Even under 1.5°C Warming Scenario
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1029/2020ef001574

Economics & finance of climate change & mitigation

Balancing climate and development goals
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/abbe46

Economic Valuation of Coccidioidomycosis (Valley Fever) Projections in the United States in Response to Climate Change
DOI: 10.1175/wcas-d-20-0036.1

Calculation of external climate costs for food highlights inadequate pricing of animal products
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-19474-6

Climate change and development in South Africa: the impact of rising temperatures on economic productivity and labour availability
DOI: 10.1080/17565529.2020.1857675

Green finance and the restructuring of the oil-gas-coal business model under carbon asset stranding constraints
DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2020.112055

Climate change mitigation public policy research

Beyond shared socioeconomic pathways (SSPs) and representative concentration pathways (RCPs): climate policy implementation scenarios for Europe, the US and China
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1080/14693062.2020.1852068

Climate change impacts on human health

Recent Trends in Heat-Related Mortality in the United States: An Update through 2018
DOI: 10.1175/wcas-d-20-0083.1

Susceptible host availability modulates climate effects on dengue dynamics
DOI: 10.1111/ele.13652

Economic Valuation of Coccidioidomycosis (Valley Fever) Projections in the United States in Response to Climate Change
DOI: 10.1175/wcas-d-20-0036.1

Intensified Humid Heat Events under Global Warming
DOI: 10.1029/2020gl091462

How climate change interacts with inequity to affect nutrition
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1002/wcc.696

Impact of prior and projected climate change on US Lyme disease incidence
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1101/2020.01.31.929380

Climate change adaptation & adaptation public policy research

Climate change for coastal areas: Risks, adaptation and acceptability
Open Access DOI: 10.1016/j.accre.2020.11.012

Alternative Entry Points for Adaptation: Examples from Vanuatu
DOI: 10.1175/wcas-d-20-0064.1

Overcoming gender inequality for climate resilient development
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-19856-w

Trusted land: land deals, climate vulnerability and adaptation in Northern Mozambique
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1080/17565529.2020.1852909

Beyond binary outcomes in climate adaptation: The illustrative case of desalination
DOI: 10.1002/wcc.695

Climate change impacts on human culture

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

Africa Would Need to Import More Maize in the Future Even under 1.5°C Warming Scenario
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1029/2020ef001574


A spatial model for return values of warm extremes in the high Arctic
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1002/qj.3877

Impacts of large?scale Sahara solar farms on global climate and vegetation cover
DOI: 10.1029/2020gl090789

Epistemological limitations of Earth system science to confront the Anthropocene crisis
DOI: 10.1177/2053019620978430

Leaf traits predict global patterns in the structure and flammability of forest litter beds
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.13561

Informed opinion, nudges & major initiatives

Once upon a time, in AmeriFlux
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1029/2020jg006148

An assessment of the performance of scenarios against historical global emissions for IPCC reports
DOI: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2020.102199

Introductory article: technology, innovations, and environmental sustainability in the Anthropocene
DOI: 10.1016/j.cosust.2020.12.001

Beyond good intentions, to urgent action: Former UNFCCC leaders take stock of thirty years of international climate change negotiations
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1080/14693062.2020.1860567

We live in a changing world, but that shouldn’t mean we abandon the concept of equilibrium
DOI: 10.1111/ele.13629


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, 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 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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