Nature Climate Change

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ISSN / EISSN : 1758-678X / 1758-6798
Published by: Springer Nature (10.1038)
Total articles ≅ 3,928
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Published: 23 September 2021
Nature Climate Change pp 1-4; https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-021-01158-8

Abstract:
The risk of river flooding is expected to increase with climate change and socioeconomic development, and therefore additional protection measures are required to reduce the potential for increased flood damage. While studies have investigated the effectiveness of adaptation measures to reduce flood risks, none has evaluated residual flood damage (RFD), which reflects the projected increase in damage under intensive adaptation. Here we evaluate RFD under several adaptation objectives using an inundation model incorporating damage estimates and a cost–benefit analysis, and estimate that China, India and Latin American countries can achieve higher levels of flood protection that will reduce RFD even under extreme scenarios. However, a high RFD (exceeding 0.1% of subnational administrative gross domestic product) remains, especially in eastern China, northern India and central Africa. RFD could be reduced with shorter construction periods or lower adaptation costs, implying the need for immediate and appropriate adaptation actions, including enhanced financial support for high-risk regions. Residual flood damage (RFD), the remaining damage from floods after adaptation measures have been implemented, is estimated across the globe under various adaptation scenarios and climate projections. RFD remains high in some Asian and African regions, suggesting a limit to flood adaptation there.
Published: 23 September 2021
Nature Climate Change pp 1-2; https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-021-01129-z

Abstract:
Increased flood risk from climate change requires adaptation, but future protection may leave communities with residual risk that is overlooked. Research now quantifies residual flood damage globally, highlighting the need to lower costs and time to deploy flood management infrastructure, particularly in vulnerable regions.
Published: 23 September 2021
Nature Climate Change pp 1-7; https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-021-01159-7

Abstract:
The northeastern United States (NEUS) and the adjacent Northwest Atlantic Shelf (NWS) have emerged as warming hotspots, but the connection between them remains unexplored. Here we use gridded observational and reanalysis datasets to show that the twentieth-century surface air temperature increase along the coastal NEUS is exceptional on the continental and hemispheric scale and is induced by a combination of two factors: the sea surface temperature (SST) increase in the NWS associated with a weakening Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), and atmospheric circulation changes associated with a more persistent positive North Atlantic Oscillation. These connections are important because AMOC slowdown and NWS warming are projected to continue. A survey of climate model simulations indicates that realistic SST representation at high spatial resolution might be a minimum requirement to capture the observed pattern of coastal warming, suggesting that prior projection-based assessments may not have captured key features in this populous region. The coastal northeastern United States is a warming hotspot, and observations identify a slower Atlantic overturning circulation and a positive North Atlantic Oscillation phase as drivers. Analysis suggests that low horizontal resolution probably hampers models’ ability to capture the spatial pattern of enhanced warming.
Published: 23 September 2021
Nature Climate Change pp 1-6; https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-021-01152-0

Abstract:
The large-scale moistening of the atmosphere in response to increasing greenhouse gases amplifies the existing patterns of precipitation minus evaporation (P − E), which, in turn, amplifies the spatial contrast in sea surface salinity. Here, by performing a series of transient CO2 doubling experiments, we demonstrate that surface salinification driven by the amplified dry conditions (P − E < 0), primarily in the subtropical ocean, accelerates ocean heat uptake. The salinification also drives the sequestration of upper-level heat into the deeper ocean, reducing the thermal stratification and increasing the heat uptake through positive feedback. The change in Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation due to salinification has a secondary role in heat uptake. Consistent with the heat uptake changes, the transient climate response would increase by approximately 0.4 K without this process. Observed multidecadal changes in subsurface temperature and salinity resemble those simulated, indicating that anthropogenically forced changes in salinity are probably enhancing ocean heat uptake. A climate model shows that hydrological cycle change drives ocean salinity increases, enhancing heat transport into the ocean and modulating near-term climate warming. This suggests that model spread in near-term climate sensitivity may be due in part to hydrological cycle and salinity differences.
Published: 16 September 2021
Nature Climate Change pp 1-8; https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-021-01139-x

Abstract:
A majority of El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events are preceded by the North Pacific Meridional Mode (NPMM), a dominant coupled ocean–atmospheric mode of variability. How the precursory NPMM forcing on ENSO responds to greenhouse warming remains unknown. Here, using climate model ensembles under high-emissions warming scenarios, we find an enhanced future impact on ENSO by the NPMM. This is manifested by increased sensitivity of boreal-winter equatorial Pacific winds and sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies to the NPMM three seasons before. The enhanced NPMM impact translates into an increased frequency of NPMM that leads to an extreme El Niño or La Niña. Under greenhouse warming, higher background SSTs cause a nonlinear evaporation–SST relationship to more effectively induce surface wind anomalies in the equatorial western Pacific, conducive to ENSO development. Thus, NPMM contributes to an increased frequency of future extreme ENSO events and becomes a more influential precursor for their predictability. The North Pacific Meridional Mode (NPMM) can trigger El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events. Climate simulations suggest that with warming ocean temperatures, the NPMM’s impact on future ENSO strengthens, contributing to increased frequency of future extreme ENSO events and their predictability.
, , , Frederic Hans, , , , Sofia Gonzales-Zuñiga, Silke Mooldijk, William Hare, et al.
Published: 16 September 2021
Nature Climate Change pp 1-3; https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-021-01142-2

Abstract:
National net zero emission targets could, if fully implemented, reduce best estimates of projected global average temperature increase to 2.0–2.4 °C by 2100, bringing the Paris Agreement temperature goal within reach. A total of 131 countries are discussing, have announced or have adopted net zero targets, covering 72% of global emissions. These targets could substantially lower projected warming as compared to currently implemented policies (2.9–3.2 °C) or pledges submitted to the Paris Agreement (2.4–2.9 °C). Current pledges for emissions cuts are insufficient to meet the Paris Agreement temperature goal. The wave of net zero targets being discussed and adopted could make the Paris goal possible if further countries follow suit.
Dylan R. Hedden-Nicely
Published: 13 September 2021
Nature Climate Change pp 1-3; https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-021-01141-3

Abstract:
Water management in the western United States is rooted in an adversarial system that is highly sensitive to climate change. Reforms are needed to ensure water management is efficient, resilient and equitable moving forward.
Fernando Miralles-Wilhelm
Published: 13 September 2021
Nature Climate Change pp 1-3; https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-021-01154-y

Abstract:
Improved management of water has been shown to have important benefits in both climate adaptation and mitigation. Water must be explicitly considered in climate policy, on par with its energy and land siblings.
Published: 13 September 2021
Nature Climate Change pp 1-7; https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-021-01130-6

Abstract:
Tools are needed to benchmark carbon emissions and pledges against criteria of equity and fairness. However, standard economic approaches, which use a transparent optimization framework, ignore equity. Models that do include equity benchmarks exist, but often use opaque methodologies. Here we propose a utilitarian benchmark computed in a transparent optimization framework, which could usefully inform the equity benchmark debate. Implementing the utilitarian benchmark, which we see as ethically minimal and conceptually parsimonious, in two leading climate–economy models allows for calculation of the optimal allocation of future emissions. We compare this optimum with historical emissions and initial nationally determined contributions. Compared with cost minimization, utilitarian optimization features better outcomes for human development, equity and the climate. Peak temperature is lower under utilitarianism because it reduces the human development cost of global mitigation. Utilitarianism therefore is a promising inclusion to a set of benchmarks for future explorations of climate equity. Climate mitigation will require allocations of emission allowances to nations. This study proposes a utilitarian benchmark to ensure equitable allocations whilst mitigating climate change.
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