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Published: 12 July 2021
Nature Climate Change pp 1-2; doi:10.1038/s41558-021-01103-9

Abstract:
Climate change mitigation and adaptation, including through nature-based measures, are urgently needed. Now mapping and valuation of global vegetated coastal and marine blue carbon ecosystems shows how interlinked countries are when dealing with climate change.
Published: 12 July 2021
Nature Climate Change pp 1-6; doi:10.1038/s41558-021-01089-4

Abstract:
Carbon sequestration and storage in mangroves, salt marshes and seagrass meadows is an essential coastal ‘blue carbon’ ecosystem service for climate change mitigation. Here we offer a comprehensive, global and spatially explicit economic assessment of carbon sequestration and storage in three coastal ecosystem types at the global and national levels. We propose a new approach based on the country-specific social cost of carbon that allows us to calculate each country’s contribution to, and redistribution of, global blue carbon wealth. Globally, coastal ecosystems contribute a mean ± s.e.m. of US$190.67 ± 30 bn yr−1 to blue carbon wealth. The three countries generating the largest positive net blue wealth contribution for other countries are Australia, Indonesia and Cuba, with Australia alone generating a positive net benefit of US$22.8 ± 3.8 bn yr− 1 for the rest of the world through coastal ecosystem carbon sequestration and storage in its territory.
Published: 8 July 2021
Nature Climate Change pp 1-7; doi:10.1038/s41558-021-01087-6

Abstract:
Climate change-driven reductions in sea ice have facilitated increased shipping traffic volumes across the Arctic. Here, we use climate model simulations to investigate changing navigability in the Canadian Arctic for major trade routes and coastal community resupply under 1, 2 and 4 °C of global warming above pre-industrial levels, on the basis of operational Polar Code regulations. Profound shifts in ship-accessible season length are projected across the Canadian Arctic, with the largest increases in the Beaufort region (100–200 d at 2 °C to 200–300 d at 4 °C). Projections along the Northwest Passage and Arctic Bridge trade routes indicate 100% navigation probability for part of the year, regardless of vessel type, above 2 °C of global warming. Along some major trade routes, substantial increases to season length are possible if operators assume additional risk and operate under marginally unsafe conditions. Local changes in accessibility for maritime resupply depend strongly on community location. Shipping routes through the Canadian Arctic are examined under 1, 2 and 4 °C global warming across four vessel classes, including ice breakers, Arctic community resupply ships, and passenger and private vessels. All routes show longer shipping seasons and navigability as a result of sea ice loss.
Bronwyn Wake
Published: 6 July 2021
Nature Climate Change, Volume 11, pp 559-559; doi:10.1038/s41558-021-01095-6

Lingxiao Yan
Published: 6 July 2021
Nature Climate Change, Volume 11, pp 559-559; doi:10.1038/s41558-021-01096-5

Baird Langenbrunner
Published: 6 July 2021
Nature Climate Change, Volume 11, pp 559-559; doi:10.1038/s41558-021-01094-7

Published: 6 July 2021
by 10.1038
Nature Climate Change, Volume 11, pp 553-553; doi:10.1038/s41558-021-01100-y

The publisher has not yet granted permission to display this abstract.
Alyssa Findlay
Published: 6 July 2021
Nature Climate Change, Volume 11, pp 559-559; doi:10.1038/s41558-021-01093-8

Published: 5 July 2021
Nature Climate Change, Volume 11, pp 578-583; doi:10.1038/s41558-021-01083-w

Published: 1 July 2021
Nature Climate Change, Volume 11, pp 554-555; doi:10.1038/s41558-021-01090-x

, , Aisha I. Saad, Gaia Lisi, Petra Minnerop, Kristian Cedervall Lauta, Kristin van Zwieten, Thom Wetzer
Published: 28 June 2021
Nature Climate Change pp 1-5; doi:10.1038/s41558-021-01086-7

Abstract:
Lawsuits concerning the impacts of climate change make causal claims about the effect of defendants’ greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions on plaintiffs and have proliferated around the world. Plaintiffs have sought, inter alia, compensation for climate-related losses and to compel governments to reduce their GHG emissions. So far, most of these claims have been unsuccessful. Here we assess the scientific and legal bases for establishing causation and evaluate judicial treatment of scientific evidence in 73 lawsuits. We find that the evidence submitted and referenced in these cases lags considerably behind the state of the art in climate science, impeding causation claims. We conclude that greater appreciation and exploitation of existing methodologies in attribution science could address obstacles to causation and improve the prospects of litigation as a route to compensation for losses, regulatory action and emission reductions by defendants seeking to limit legal liability. Legal cases to force governments to reduce emissions or to pursue compensation for climate change-related losses are increasing. The scientific evidence used in such cases is found to be lagging behind state-of-the-art climate science; using up-to-date methodologies could improve causation claims.
, Emmy E. Stigter, Tandong Yao,
Published: 24 June 2021
Nature Climate Change, Volume 11, pp 591-597; doi:10.1038/s41558-021-01074-x

Abstract:
Streamflow in high-mountain Asia is influenced by meltwater from snow and glaciers, and determining impacts of climate change on the region’s cryosphere is essential to understand future water supply. Past and future changes in seasonal snow are of particular interest, as specifics at the scale of the full region are largely unknown. Here we combine models with observations to show that regional snowmelt is a more important contributor to streamflow than glacier melt, that snowmelt magnitude and timing changed considerably during 1979–2019 and that future snow meltwater supply may decrease drastically. The expected changes are strongly dependent on the degree of climate change, however, and large variations exist among river basins. The projected response of snowmelt to climate change indicates that to sustain the important seasonal buffering role of the snowpacks in high-mountain Asia, it is imperative to limit future climate change. High-mountain Asia streamflow is strongly impacted by snow and glacier melt. A regional model, combined with observations and climate projections, shows snowmelt decreased during 1979–2019 and was more dominant than glacier melt, and projections suggest declines that vary by river basin.
Baird Langenbrunner
Published: 24 June 2021
Nature Climate Change, Volume 11, pp 556-558; doi:10.1038/s41558-021-01085-8

Abstract:
Success in STEM disciplines and careers is impacted by feelings of belonging, representation and safety. To celebrate Pride Month during June 2021, Nature Climate Change asked scientists and faculty members about their experience in research and academia, and their thoughts on making lasting, inclusive change.
, , Benjamin D. Hamlington, , John J. Marra, Gary T. Mitchum,
Published: 21 June 2021
Nature Climate Change, Volume 11, pp 584-590; doi:10.1038/s41558-021-01077-8

Abstract:
Coastal locations around the United States, particularly along the Atlantic coast, are experiencing recurrent flooding at high tide. Continued sea-level rise (SLR) will exacerbate the issue where present, and many more locations will begin to experience recurrent high-tide flooding (HTF) in the coming decades. Here we use established SLR scenarios and flooding thresholds to demonstrate how the combined effects of SLR and nodal cycle modulations of tidal amplitude lead to acute inflections in projections of future HTF. The mid-2030s, in particular, may see the onset of rapid increases in the frequency of HTF in multiple US coastal regions. We also show how annual cycles and sea-level anomalies lead to extreme seasons or months during which many days of HTF cluster together. Clustering can lead to critical frequencies of HTF occurring during monthly or seasonal periods one to two decades prior to being expected on an annual basis. High-tide flooding (HTF) is more likely with sea-level rise. Projections along the United States coastline, considering likely sea-level rise and tidal amplitude cycles, suggest increased HTF event clustering in time and rapid increases in annual HTF frequency as early as the mid-2030s.
Published: 21 June 2021
Nature Climate Change, Volume 11, pp 605-612; doi:10.1038/s41558-021-01066-x

Abstract:
Tropical rainfall exhibits a prominent annual cycle, with characteristic amplitude and phase representing the range between wet and dry seasons and their onset timing, respectively. Previous studies note enhanced amplitude over ocean and delayed phase over land in model projections of global warming, underpinned by first-order physical principles. However, it is unclear whether these changes have emerged in observations. Here we use gridded precipitation datasets to report a seasonal delay of 4.1 ± 1.1 and 4.2 ± 0.9 days (P < 0.05) during 1979–2019 over the northern tropical land and Sahel, respectively. Most of the delay is driven by external forcings, dominated by greenhouse gases (GHG) and anthropogenic aerosols (AER). Increasing GHG and decreasing AER in the recent decades delay rainfall by producing a moister atmosphere, thus increasing its lag in response to seasonal solar forcing. As GHG increase and AER decrease, these seasonal delays are projected to further amplify in the future. Tropical rainfall exhibits cyclic north–south migration tracking the warmer hemisphere, and climate warming will delay this seasonally over land. Climate models and gridded precipitation data suggest a delay of about 4 days since 1979 is now detectable over Northern Hemisphere land and the Sahel.
Kirsten Zickfeld, Deven Azevedo, ,
Published: 21 June 2021
Nature Climate Change, Volume 11, pp 613-617; doi:10.1038/s41558-021-01061-2

Abstract:
Negative CO2 emissions are a key mitigation measure in emission scenarios consistent with temperature limits adopted by the Paris Agreement. It is commonly assumed that the climate–carbon cycle response to a negative CO2 emission is equal in magnitude and opposite in sign to the response to an equivalent positive CO2 emission. Here we test the hypothesis that this response is symmetric by forcing an Earth system model with positive and negative CO2 emission pulses of varying magnitude and applied from different climate states. Results indicate that a CO2 emission into the atmosphere is more effective at raising atmospheric CO2 than an equivalent CO2 removal is at lowering it, with the asymmetry increasing with the magnitude of the emission/removal. The findings of this study imply that offsetting positive CO2 emissions with negative emissions of the same magnitude could result in a different climate outcome than avoiding the CO2 emissions. It is commonly assumed that the climate response to CO2 removals is equal in magnitude and opposite in sign to the response to CO2 emissions. The response, however, is asymmetric, meaning that offsetting CO2 emissions with equal removals could lead to a different climate than avoiding the emissions.
Published: 17 June 2021
by 10.1038
Nature Climate Change, Volume 11, pp 563-572; doi:10.1038/s41558-021-01065-y

The publisher has not yet granted permission to display this abstract.
Published: 17 June 2021
by 10.1038
Nature Climate Change, Volume 11, pp 628-633; doi:10.1038/s41558-021-01075-w

The publisher has not yet granted permission to display this abstract.
Published: 17 June 2021
by 10.1038
Nature Climate Change, Volume 11, pp 598-604; doi:10.1038/s41558-021-01076-9

The publisher has not yet granted permission to display this abstract.
, , Seth A. Rosenthal, Anthony Leiserowitz
Published: 14 June 2021
by 10.1038
Nature Climate Change, Volume 11, pp 573-577; doi:10.1038/s41558-021-01070-1

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Phillip Ehret
Published: 14 June 2021
by 10.1038
Nature Climate Change, Volume 11, pp 560-561; doi:10.1038/s41558-021-01071-0

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, , , , , Chunjing Qiu, , , David Makowski, Inge De Graaf, et al.
Published: 7 June 2021
by 10.1038
Nature Climate Change, Volume 11, pp 618-622; doi:10.1038/s41558-021-01059-w

The publisher has not yet granted permission to display this abstract.
Published: 7 June 2021
by 10.1038
Nature Climate Change, Volume 11, pp 561-562; doi:10.1038/s41558-021-01072-z

The publisher has not yet granted permission to display this abstract.
Correction
Alyssa Findlay
Published: 4 June 2021
Nature Climate Change pp 1-1; doi:10.1038/s41558-021-01088-5

Alyssa Findlay
Published: 3 June 2021
Nature Climate Change, Volume 11, pp 466-466; doi:10.1038/s41558-021-01079-6

Published: 3 June 2021
Nature Climate Change, Volume 11, pp 470-471; doi:10.1038/s41558-021-01067-w

Abstract:
Lakes are warming globally at variable rates with important consequences for species survival. Now, research quantifies change in thermal habitat of lakes around the world and shows that season or depth restrictions on species responses may increase thermal habitat change threefold.
Lingxiao Yan
Published: 3 June 2021
Nature Climate Change, Volume 11, pp 466-466; doi:10.1038/s41558-021-01081-y

Published: 3 June 2021
Nature Climate Change, Volume 11, pp 457-457; doi:10.1038/s41558-021-01084-9

Abstract:
COP26 will mark six years since the Paris Agreement was reached, with the ambitious 1.5 °C warming target. After the turbulent year of 2020, now is the time that countries need to commit to drive global climate action forward.
Published: 3 June 2021
Nature Climate Change, Volume 11, pp 521-529; doi:10.1038/s41558-021-01060-3

Abstract:
Lake surfaces are warming worldwide, raising concerns about lake organism responses to thermal habitat changes. Species may cope with temperature increases by shifting their seasonality or their depth to track suitable thermal habitats, but these responses may be constrained by ecological interactions, life histories or limiting resources. Here we use 32 million temperature measurements from 139 lakes to quantify thermal habitat change (percentage of non-overlap) and assess how this change is exacerbated by potential habitat constraints. Long-term temperature change resulted in an average 6.2% non-overlap between thermal habitats in baseline (1978–1995) and recent (1996–2013) time periods, with non-overlap increasing to 19.4% on average when habitats were restricted by season and depth. Tropical lakes exhibited substantially higher thermal non-overlap compared with lakes at other latitudes. Lakes with high thermal habitat change coincided with those having numerous endemic species, suggesting that conservation actions should consider thermal habitat change to preserve lake biodiversity.
Tegan Armarego-Marriott
Published: 3 June 2021
Nature Climate Change, Volume 11, pp 466-466; doi:10.1038/s41558-021-01078-7

Baird Langenbrunner
Published: 3 June 2021
Nature Climate Change, Volume 11, pp 466-466; doi:10.1038/s41558-021-01080-z

David Haaf, Johan Six,
Published: 3 June 2021
Nature Climate Change pp 1-5; doi:10.1038/s41558-021-01068-9

Abstract:
While soil respiration is known to be controlled by a range of biotic and abiotic factors, its temperature sensitivity in global models is largely related to climate parameters. Here, we show that temperature sensitivity of soil respiration is primarily controlled by interacting soil properties and only secondarily by vegetation traits and plant growth conditions. Temperature was not identified as a primary driver for the response of soil respiration to warming. In contrast, the nonlinearity and large spatial variability of identified controls stress the importance of the interplay among soil, vegetation and climate parameters in controlling warming responses. Global models might predict current soil respiration but not future rates because they neglect the controls exerted by soil development. To accurately predict the response of soil respiration to warming at the global scale, more observational studies across pedogenetically diverse soils are needed rather than focusing on the isolated effect of warming alone. Understanding the temperature sensitivity of soil respiration is critical to determining soil carbon dynamics under climate change. Spatial heterogeneity in controls highlights the importance of interactions between vegetation, soil and climate in driving the response of respiration to warming.
Published: 3 June 2021
Nature Climate Change, Volume 11, pp 468-470; doi:10.1038/s41558-021-01056-z

Abstract:
Recent changes to how clouds are represented in global models, especially over the Southern Ocean, resulted in increased climate warming. Correcting rain processes in a model shows improved cloud representation but leads to a greatly enhanced negative feedback, offsetting documented increases in model climate sensitivity.
Published: 3 June 2021
Nature Climate Change, Volume 11, pp 508-513; doi:10.1038/s41558-021-01038-1

Abstract:
As the atmosphere warms, part of the cloud population shifts from ice and mixed-phase (‘cold’) to liquid (‘warm’) clouds. Because warm clouds are more reflective and longer-lived, this phase change reduces the solar flux absorbed by the Earth and constitutes a negative radiative feedback. This cooling feedback is weaker in the sixth phase of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP6) than in the fifth phase (CMIP5), contributing to greater greenhouse warming. Although this change is often attributed to improvements in the simulated cloud phase, another model bias persists: warm clouds precipitate too readily, potentially leading to underestimated negative lifetime feedbacks. In this study we modified a climate model to better simulate warm-rain probability and found that it exhibits a cloud lifetime feedback nearly three times larger than the default model. This suggests that model errors in cloud-precipitation processes may bias cloud feedbacks by as much as the CMIP5-to-CMIP6 climate sensitivity difference. Reliable climate model projections therefore require improved cloud process realism guided by process-oriented observations and observational constraints. CMIP6 models simulate higher and more accurate cloud liquid water fraction relative to CMIP5, but both ensembles overestimate warm cloud precipitation. Correcting these warm cloud processes in a model exposes compensating biases large enough to offset CMIP5–CMIP6 climate sensitivity differences.
Published: 3 June 2021
Nature Climate Change, Volume 11, pp 543-550; doi:10.1038/s41558-021-01062-1

Abstract:
The global impacts of biodiversity loss and climate change are interlinked, but the feedbacks between them are rarely assessed. Areas with greater tree diversity tend to be more productive, providing a greater carbon sink, and biodiversity loss could reduce these natural carbon sinks. Here, we quantify how tree and shrub species richness could affect biomass production on biome, national and regional scales. We find that GHG mitigation could help maintain tree diversity and thereby avoid a 9–39% reduction in terrestrial primary productivity across different biomes, which could otherwise occur over the next 50 years. Countries that will incur the greatest economic damages from climate change stand to benefit the most from conservation of tree diversity and primary productivity, which contribute to climate change mitigation. Our results emphasize an opportunity for a triple win for climate, biodiversity and society, and highlight that these co-benefits should be the focus of reforestation programmes. Exploring how biodiversity and climate change are interlinked, the authors show that limiting warming could maintain tree diversity, avoiding primary productivity loss. Countries with greater climate change economic costs benefit most: a potential triple win for climate, biodiversity and society.
, , F. Sera, , , A. Tobias, C. Astrom, , Y. Honda, D. M. Hondula, et al.
Published: 31 May 2021
Nature Climate Change, Volume 11, pp 492-500; doi:10.1038/s41558-021-01058-x

Abstract:
Climate change affects human health; however, there have been no large-scale, systematic efforts to quantify the heat-related human health impacts that have already occurred due to climate change. Here, we use empirical data from 732 locations in 43 countries to estimate the mortality burdens associated with the additional heat exposure that has resulted from recent human-induced warming, during the period 1991–2018. Across all study countries, we find that 37.0% (range 20.5–76.3%) of warm-season heat-related deaths can be attributed to anthropogenic climate change and that increased mortality is evident on every continent. Burdens varied geographically but were of the order of dozens to hundreds of deaths per year in many locations. Our findings support the urgent need for more ambitious mitigation and adaptation strategies to minimize the public health impacts of climate change. Current and future climate change is expected to impact human health, both indirectly and directly, through increasing temperatures. Climate change has already had an impact and is responsible for 37% of warm-season heat-related deaths between 1991 and 2018, with increases in mortality observed globally.
Published: 31 May 2021
Nature Climate Change, Volume 11, pp 467-468; doi:10.1038/s41558-021-01049-y

Abstract:
Mortality associated with rising temperatures is one of the clearest and impactful fingerprints of a changing climate. Research now shows an attributable increase in mortality due to climate change is already evident in cities on every continent.
, , , , , Puttipong Chunark, , Shivika Mittal, Osamu Nishiura, , et al.
Published: 27 May 2021
Nature Climate Change, Volume 11, pp 472-480; doi:10.1038/s41558-021-01048-z

Abstract:
National-level climate actions will be vital in achieving global temperature goals in the coming decades. Near-term (2025–2030) plans are laid out in Nationally Determined Contributions; the next step is the submission of long-term strategies for 2050. At present, national scenarios underpinning long-term strategies are poorly coordinated and incompatible across countries, preventing assessment of individual nations’ climate policies. Here we present a systematic and standardized, yet flexible, scenario framework varying 2050 emissions to build long-term national energy and climate mitigation scenarios. Applying the framework to six major Asian countries reveals individual challenges in energy system transformation and investment needs in comparable scenarios. This framework could be a starting point for comprehensive assessments as input to the Global Stocktake over the coming years. There is no common structure for the way national emissions scenarios are created, hindering efforts for comparison and analysis at the larger scale. This Perspective presents a framework to guide individual national scenario creation in a standardized way.
Published: 24 May 2021
Nature Climate Change, Volume 11, pp 481-484; doi:10.1038/s41558-021-01047-0

Abstract:
Attempts to link physiological thermal tolerance to global species distributions have relied on lethal temperature limits, yet many organisms lose fertility at sublethal temperatures. Here we show that, across 43 Drosophila species, global distributions better match male-sterilizing temperatures than lethal temperatures. This suggests that species distributions may be determined by thermal limits to reproduction, not survival, meaning we may be underestimating the impacts of climate change for many organisms. Prediction of current and future species distributions using thermal limits often relies on lethal temperatures, yet many organisms lose fertility at sublethal temperatures. The authors show that distributions of 43 Drosophila species better match male-sterilizing, than lethal, temperatures.
Correction
Lingxiao Yan
Published: 21 May 2021
Nature Climate Change pp 1-1; doi:10.1038/s41558-021-01082-x

, Diana M. P. Galassi, J. Judson Wynne, Pedro Cardoso,
Published: 20 May 2021
Nature Climate Change, Volume 11, pp 458-459; doi:10.1038/s41558-021-01057-y

Published: 17 May 2021
Nature Climate Change, Volume 11, pp 514-520; doi:10.1038/s41558-021-01046-1

Abstract:
Understanding historical and projected coastal sea-level change is limited because the impact of large-scale ocean dynamics is not well constrained. Here, we use a global set of tide-gauge records over nine regions to analyse the relationship between coastal sea-level variability and open-ocean steric height, related to density fluctuations. Interannual-to-decadal sea-level variability follows open-ocean steric height variations along many coastlines. We extract their common modes of variability and reconstruct coastal sterodynamic sea level, which is due to ocean density and circulation changes, based on steric height observations. Our reconstruction, tested in Earth system models, explains up to 91% of coastal sea-level variability. Combined with barystatic components related to ocean mass change and vertical land motion, the reconstruction also permits closure of the coastal sea-level budget since 1960. We find ocean circulation has dominated coastal sea-level budgets over the past six decades, reinforcing its importance in near-term predictions and coastal planning. Coastal sea levels are impacted by local vertical land motion plus local and remote changes to ocean circulation, density and mass changes. Tide-gauge records are used to reconstruct the coastal sea-level budget over nine regions, showing its variability has been dominated by ocean circulation since 1960.
Cheryl A. Logan, , James S. Ryan, ,
Published: 17 May 2021
Nature Climate Change, Volume 11, pp 537-542; doi:10.1038/s41558-021-01037-2

Abstract:
Incorporating species’ ability to adaptively respond to climate change is critical for robustly predicting persistence. One such example could be the adaptive role of algal symbionts in setting coral thermal tolerance under global warming and ocean acidification. Using a global ecological and evolutionary model of competing branching and mounding coral morphotypes, we show symbiont shuffling (towards taxa with increased heat tolerance) was more effective than symbiont evolution in delaying coral-cover declines, but stronger warming rates (high emissions scenarios) outpace the ability of these adaptive processes and limit coral persistence. Acidification has a small impact on reef degradation rates relative to warming. Global patterns in coral reef vulnerability to climate are sensitive to the interaction of warming rate and adaptive capacity and cannot be predicted by either factor alone. Overall, our results show how models of spatially resolved adaptive mechanisms can inform conservation decisions. The authors model the role of algal symbiont shuffling and evolution in coral resilience to warming and ocean acidification, globally. They find that shuffling is more effective than evolution, and show global patterns of vulnerability due to the interaction of warming rate and adaptive capacity.
, Andreas Wilkes
Published: 17 May 2021
Nature Climate Change, Volume 11, pp 463-465; doi:10.1038/s41558-021-01055-0

Abstract:
Improving agricultural activity data is a cost-effective option for reducing the uncertainty of greenhouse gas inventories and monitoring mitigation actions, meeting multiple national data needs, and bolstering investments. It’s time to direct effort to this opportunity.
Gabriella Ljungström, ,
Published: 13 May 2021
Nature Climate Change pp 1-7; doi:10.1038/s41558-021-01045-2

Abstract:
Seasonality in light becomes increasingly extreme at high latitudes, both in terms of the diel light–dark cycle and the duration of light summers and dark winters. In contrast to temperature, this latitudinal gradient in light seasonality is not affected by climate change. A key question is therefore whether light may act as a fixed constraint on warming-driven redistributions of organisms at high latitudes. One answer is provided by studying mechanistic models of visual foraging and temperature-driven physiology along latitudinal gradients to project where populations survive and acquire resources to reproduce, and where they demise. Here we contrast such models for two widespread planktivorous fish types. We identify two processes through which seasonality in light can act as a barrier to poleward range expansions at high latitudes: (1) longer dark winters lead to greater depletion of overwinter energy stores and (2) a longer duration of midnight sun entails higher foraging-related predation mortality. Using mechanistic models that incorporate visual foraging and temperature-driven physiology for two fish types, the authors reveal how latitudinal light gradients, which are not affected by climate change, can constrain warming-related shifts to high latitudes.
Published: 13 May 2021
Nature Climate Change pp 1-7; doi:10.1038/s41558-021-01039-0

Abstract:
Marine low clouds strongly cool the planet. How this cooling effect will respond to climate change is a leading source of uncertainty in climate sensitivity, the planetary warming resulting from CO2 doubling. Here, we observationally constrain this low cloud feedback at a near-global scale. Satellite observations are used to estimate the sensitivity of low clouds to interannual meteorological perturbations. Combined with model predictions of meteorological changes under greenhouse warming, this permits quantification of spatially resolved cloud feedbacks. We predict positive feedbacks from midlatitude low clouds and eastern ocean stratocumulus, nearly unchanged trade cumulus and a near-global marine low cloud feedback of 0.19 ± 0.12 W m−2 K−1 (90% confidence). These constraints imply a moderate climate sensitivity (~3 K). Despite improved midlatitude cloud feedback simulation by several current-generation climate models, their erroneously positive trade cumulus feedbacks produce unrealistically high climate sensitivities. Conversely, models simulating erroneously weak low cloud feedbacks produce unrealistically low climate sensitivities. Marine low clouds cool the planet, but their response to warming is uncertain and dominates the spread in model-based climate sensitivities. Observational constraints suggest smaller cloud feedbacks than previously reported and imply a more moderate climate sensitivity.
Correction
, Alessandro Baccini, Mary Farina, James T. Randerson, Mark A. Friedl
Published: 12 May 2021
Nature Climate Change pp 1-1; doi:10.1038/s41558-021-01069-8

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