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Skeptical Science New Research for Week #52, 2020

Posted on 30 December 2020 by Doug Bostrom

Happy Holidays, Crew!

Given the smoothing effect of the publication pipeline, it's safe to say that publisher staff took a full holiday this month, as reflected in this edition's paltry collection of 54 articles, around 1/2 of our normal bill of lading.

Post-AGW research

After viewing a few dozen editions of New Research  something becomes strikingly apparent: despite die-hard deniers still banging on with their monologue "debate" about climate change, legitimate scientific practice has long moved on. Climate change is woven into the fabric of ongoing investigation of a myriad of phenomena. The fact of climate change has been absorbed and is added to our inventory of reliable explanatory power. Many researchers are deeply into knock-on effects of an already-changed climate while others refer to the fact of change tangentially. 

In this week's "Observations..." section is an exemplary publication helping to illustrate where the scientific community stands, Atmospheric driving mechanisms of extreme precipitation events in July of 2017 and 2018 in western Japan (open access). Authors Nayak & Takemi explain how a pair of extreme meteorological events came to pass, focusing on atmospheric dynamics temporally immediate to the systems in question. Their analysis is not about climate change - the topic of their paper is "just" weather - but climate change is what made the weather they examine possible. This attribution is barely remarked in the abstract, because for specialists in the field it's tacitly understood, a given. In the body of the paper, the underlying climate change drivers of the specific effects scrutinized by Nayak & Takemi are crisply dealt with in a list of references. That's it. There's no "debate," no waffling, nothing serious to discuss about the ultimate energy source amplifying this weather.

If deniers bothered to stay current with scientific research having even a remote degree of connection to climate, they'd surely realize they're still standing at the station long after the knowledge train has departed. Where do they get their information? 

54 Articles

Physical science of climate change, effects

A global study of hygroscopicity-driven light scattering enhancement in the context of other in-situ aerosol optical properties
Open Access DOI: 10.5194/acp-2020-1250 (preprint)

Observations of climate change, effects

A new intermittent regime of convective ventilation threatens the Black Sea oxygenation status
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.5194/bg-17-6507-2020

Accelerated glacier mass loss in the Russian Arctic (2010–2017)
Open Access DOI: 10.5194/tc-2020-358 (preprint)

The role of sea-level changes in the evolution of coastal barriers – An example from the southwestern Baltic Sea
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1177/0959683620981703

Ring widths of Rhododendron shrubs reveal a persistent winter warming in the central Himalaya
DOI: 10.1016/j.dendro.2020.125799

Atmospheric driving mechanisms of extreme precipitation events in July of 2017 and 2018 in western Japan
Open Access DOI: 10.1016/j.dynatmoce.2020.101186

Large-area thermal anomalies in Europe (1951–2018). Temporal and spatial patterns
DOI: 10.1016/j.atmosres.2020.105434

Evidence of asymmetric change in Diurnal Temperature Range in recent decades over different Agro?climatic Zones of India
DOI: 10.1002/joc.6978

Assessing trends in atmospheric circulation patterns across North America
DOI: 10.1002/joc.6983

Instrumentation & observational methods of climate change, effects

Histogram Anomaly Time Series: A Compact Graphical Representation of Spatial Time Series Data Sets
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1175/bams-d-20-0130.1

Past, Present and Future Pacific Sea Level?Change
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1029/2020ef001839

Toward a comprehensive understanding of global vegetation CO2 assimilation from space

Modeling, simulation & projection of climate change, effects MSWE

Role of sea surface temperature patterns for the Southern Hemisphere jet stream response to CO 2 forcing

Advances in climate & climate effects modeling, simulation & projection

An Eddy–Zonal Flow Feedback Model for Propagating Annular Modes
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1175/jas-d-20-0214.1

Scoring Antarctic surface mass balance in climate models to refine future projections
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.5194/tc-14-4719-2020

Projected changes of typhoon intensity in a regional climate model: Development of a machine learning bias correction scheme
DOI: 10.1002/joc.6987

Cryosphere & climate change

Accelerated glacier mass loss in the Russian Arctic (2010–2017)
Open Access DOI: 10.5194/tc-2020-358 (preprint)


Holocene vegetation dynamics in response to climate change and hydrological processes in the Bohai region
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.5194/cp-16-2509-2020

The middle to late Eocene greenhouse climate modelled using the CESM 1.0.5
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.5194/cp-16-2573-2020

On the Role of Volcanism in Dansgaard-Oeschger Cycles
Open Access DOI: 10.5194/cp-2020-160 (preprint)

Biology & climate change

A new intermittent regime of convective ventilation threatens the Black Sea oxygenation status
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.5194/bg-17-6507-2020

Ring widths of Rhododendron shrubs reveal a persistent winter warming in the central Himalaya
DOI: 10.1016/j.dendro.2020.125799

Tree growth decline as a response to projected climate change in the 21st century in Mediterranean mountain forests of Chile
DOI: 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2020.103406

Species-specific growth-climate responses of Dahurian Larch (Larix gmelinii) and Mongolian pine (Pinus sylvestris var. mongolica) in the Greater Khingan Range, northeast China

Risk of short?term biodiversity loss under more persistent precipitation regimes
DOI: 10.1111/gcb.15501

Winter snow and spring temperature have differential effects on vegetation phenology and productivity across plant communities
DOI: 10.1111/gcb.15505

Evaluating multiple stressor research in coastal wetlands: A systematic review
DOI: 10.1016/j.marenvres.2020.105239

Global tree-ring analysis reveals rapid decrease in tropical tree longevity with temperature
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2003873117

GHG sources & sinks, flux

Estimation of fire-induced carbon emission from Equatorial Asia in 2015 by using in situ aircraft and ship observations
Open Access DOI: 10.5194/acp-2020-1239 (preprint)

Simulating shrubs and their energy and carbon dioxide fluxes in Canada's Low Arctic with the Canadian Land Surface Scheme Including biogeochemical Cycles (CLASSIC)
Open Access DOI: 10.5194/bg-2020-458 (preprint)

Optimal model complexity for terrestrial carbon cycle prediction
Open Access DOI: 10.5194/bg-2020-478 (preprint)

Peatland initiation in Central European Russia during the Holocene: Effect of climate conditions and fires
DOI: 10.1177/0959683620981709

Determining dominating control mechanisms of inland water carbon cycling processes and associated gross primary productivity on regional and global scales
DOI: 10.1016/j.earscirev.2020.103497

Lower soil moisture and deep soil temperatures in thermokarst features increase old soil carbon loss after 10 years of experimental permafrost warming

Toward a comprehensive understanding of global vegetation CO2 assimilation from space

Linking microbial functional gene abundance and soil extracellular enzyme activity: Implications for soil carbon dynamics
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1111/gcb.15506

IPCC baseline scenarios have over-projected CO 2 emissions and economic growth

Drivers of global and national CO2 emissions changes 2000–2017
DOI: 10.1080/14693062.2020.1864267

CO2 removal & mitigation science & engineering

Injectivity index: a powerful tool for characterizing CO2 storage reservoirs—a technical note

The scale and drivers of carbon footprints in households, cities and regions across India
Open Access DOI: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2020.102205

Limiting food waste via grassroots initiatives as a potential for climate change mitigation: a systematic review
Open Access DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/aba2fe


A global study of hygroscopicity-driven light scattering enhancement in the context of other in-situ aerosol optical properties
Open Access DOI: 10.5194/acp-2020-1250 (preprint)

Climate change communications & cognition

Topic modelling the news media representation of climate change
DOI: 10.1080/23251042.2020.1866281

Managing for a Changing Climate: A Blended Interdisciplinary Climate Course
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1175/bams-d-19-0242.1

Agronomy & climate change

Agricultural impacts of climate change in Indiana and potential adaptations
DOI: 10.1007/s10584-020-02934-9

Economics & finance of climate change & mitigation

Sharing responsibility for trade-related emissions based on economic benefits
DOI: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2020.102207

Can liberalised electricity markets support decarbonised portfolios in line with the Paris Agreement? A case study of Central Western Europe
Open Access DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2020.111987

Central banks, financial stability and policy coordination in the age of climate uncertainty: a three-layered analytical and operational framework
DOI: 10.1080/14693062.2020.1862743

Climate change mitigation public policy research

Can China's industrial sector achieve energy conservation and emission reduction goals dominated by energy efficiency enhancement? A multi-objective optimization approach
DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2020.112108

Climate change adaptation & adaptation public policy research

Mainstreaming climate change adaptation into pro-poor development initiatives: evidence from local economic development programmes in Ghana
DOI: 10.1080/17565529.2020.1844611

Projected Drought Risk Assessment from Water Balance Perspectives in a Changing Climate
DOI: 10.1002/joc.6988

Toward the probabilistic forecasting of cyclone-induced marine flooding by overtopping at Reunion Island aided by a time-varying random-forest classification approach
DOI: 10.1007/s11069-020-04307-y

Is Bangkok at risk of marine flooding? Evidence relating to the historical floods of AD 1785 and 1983
DOI: 10.1007/s11069-020-04347-4

Navigating slow-onset risks through foresight and flexibility in Fiji: emerging recommendations for the planned relocation of climat
DOI: 10.1016/j.cosust.2020.12.004

Climate change impacts on human culture

Land is now the biggest gun: climate change and conflict in Karamoja, Uganda
DOI: 10.1080/17565529.2020.1862740


Estimating the impact of seep methane oxidation on ocean pH and dissolved inorganic radiocarbon along the U.S. mid?Atlantic Bight
DOI: 10.1029/2019jg005621

The role of advanced end-use technologies in long-term climate change mitigation: the interlinkage between primary bioenergy and energy end-use
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1007/s10584-020-02839-7

Cultural ecosystem services caught in a ‘coastal squeeze’ between sea level rise and urban expansion
DOI: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2020.102209

Informed opinion, nudges & major initiatives

The importance of “year zero” in interdisciplinary studies of climate and history
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2018103117


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. 

  • 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. 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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