Communications Earth & Environment

Journal Information
EISSN : 2662-4435
Current Publisher: Springer Science and Business Media LLC (10.1038)
Former Publisher:
Total articles ≅ 177
Current Coverage

Latest articles in this journal

Gustaaf M. Hallegraeff, Donald M. Anderson, Catherine Belin, , Eileen Bresnan, , Henrik Enevoldsen, , , Cynthia H. McKenzie, et al.
Communications Earth & Environment, Volume 2, pp 1-10; doi:10.1038/s43247-021-00178-8

Global trends in the occurrence, toxicity and risk posed by harmful algal blooms to natural systems, human health and coastal economies are poorly constrained, but are widely thought to be increasing due to climate change and nutrient pollution. Here, we conduct a statistical analysis on a global dataset extracted from the Harmful Algae Event Database and Ocean Biodiversity Information System for the period 1985–2018 to investigate temporal trends in the frequency and distribution of marine harmful algal blooms. We find no uniform global trend in the number of harmful algal events and their distribution over time, once data were adjusted for regional variations in monitoring effort. Varying and contrasting regional trends were driven by differences in bloom species, type and emergent impacts. Our findings suggest that intensified monitoring efforts associated with increased aquaculture production are responsible for the perceived increase in harmful algae events and that there is no empirical support for broad statements regarding increasing global trends. Instead, trends need to be considered regionally and at the species level.
, Matthew Thomas
Communications Earth & Environment, Volume 2, pp 1-12; doi:10.1038/s43247-021-00182-y

The Greenland Sea is often viewed as the northern terminus of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation. It has also been proposed that the shutdown of open-ocean deep convection in the Labrador or Greenland Seas would substantially weaken the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation. Here we analyze Robust Diagnostic Calculations conducted in a high-resolution global coupled climate model constrained by observed hydrographic climatology to provide a holistic picture of the long-term mean Atlantic Overturning Circulation at northern high latitudes. Our results suggest that the Arctic Ocean, not the Greenland Sea, is the northern terminus of the mean Atlantic Overturning Circulation; open-ocean deep convection, in either the Labrador or Greenland Seas, contributes minimally to the mean Atlantic Overturning Circulation, hence it would not necessarily be substantially weakened by a shutdown of open-ocean deep convection; horizontal circulation across sloping isopycnals contributes substantially (more than 40%) to the maximum mean northeastern subpolar Atlantic Overturning Circulation.
Arash Rafat, , William L. Quinton, Elyn R. Humphreys, Kara Webster, Philippe Van Cappellen
Communications Earth & Environment, Volume 2, pp 1-12; doi:10.1038/s43247-021-00184-w

Peatlands are important ecosystems that store approximately one third of terrestrial organic carbon. Non-growing season carbon fluxes significantly contribute to annual carbon budgets in peatlands, yet their response to climate change is poorly understood. Here, we investigate the governing environmental variables of non-growing season carbon emissions in a northern peatland. We develop a support-vector regression model using a continuous 13-year dataset of eddy covariance flux measurements from the Mer Blue Bog, Canada. We determine that only seven variables were needed to reproduce carbon fluxes, which were most sensitive to net radiation above the canopy, soil temperature, wind speed and soil moisture. We find that changes in soil temperature and photosynthesis drove changes in net carbon flux. Assessing net ecosystem carbon exchange under three representative concentration pathways, we project a 103% increase in peatland carbon loss by 2100 under a high emissions scenario. We suggest that peatland carbon losses constitute a strong positive climate feedback loop.
, Nick M. W. Roberts, , , Magnus Ivarsson, , Ellen Kooijman, Melanie Kielman-Schmitt
Communications Earth & Environment, Volume 2, pp 1-13; doi:10.1038/s43247-021-00170-2

Earth’s crust contains a substantial proportion of global biomass, hosting microbial life up to several kilometers depth. Yet, knowledge of the evolution and extent of life in this environment remains elusive and patchy. Here we present isotopic, molecular and morphological signatures for deep ancient life in vein mineral specimens from mines distributed across the Precambrian Fennoscandian shield. Stable carbon isotopic signatures of calcite indicate microbial methanogenesis. In addition, sulfur isotope variability in pyrite, supported by stable carbon isotopic signatures of methyl-branched fatty acids, suggest subsequent bacterial sulfate reduction. Carbonate geochronology constrains the timing of these processes to the Cenozoic. We suggest that signatures of an ancient deep biosphere and long-term microbial activity are present throughout this shield. We suggest that microbes may have been active in the continental igneous crust over geological timescales, and that subsurface investigations may be valuable in the search for extra-terrestrial life.
Communications Earth & Environment, Volume 2, pp 1-10; doi:10.1038/s43247-021-00180-0

Earth system models use soil information to parameterize hard-to-measure soil hydraulic properties based on pedotransfer functions. However, current parameterizations rely on sample-scale information which often does not account for biologically-promoted soil structure and heterogeneities in natural landscapes, which may significantly alter infiltration-runoff and other exchange processes at larger scales. Here we propose a systematic framework to incorporate soil structure corrections into pedotransfer functions, informed by remote-sensing vegetation metrics and local soil texture, and use numerical simulations to investigate their effects on spatially distributed and areal averaged infiltration-runoff partitioning. We demonstrate that small scale soil structure features prominently alter the hydrologic response emerging at larger scales and that upscaled parameterizations must consider spatial correlations between vegetation and soil texture. The proposed framework allows the incorporation of hydrological effects of soil structure with appropriate scale considerations into contemporary pedotransfer functions used for land surface parameterization.
Communications Earth & Environment, Volume 2, pp 1-10; doi:10.1038/s43247-021-00183-x

The shrinking of Arctic-wide September sea ice extent is often cited as an indicator of modern climate change; however, the timing of seasonal sea ice retreat/advance and the length of the open-water period are often more relevant to stakeholders working at regional and local scales. Here we highlight changes in regional open-water periods at multiple warming thresholds. We show that, in the latest generation of models from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP6), the open-water period lengthens by 63 days on average with 2 °C of global warming above the 1850-1900 average, and by over 90 days in several Arctic seas. Nearly the entire Arctic, including the Transpolar Sea Route, has at least 3 months of open water per year with 3.5 °C warming, and at least 6 months with 5 °C warming. Model bias compared to satellite data suggests that even such dramatic projections may be conservative.
, , Hubert Vonhof, Damien Guinoiseau, Saida Nigmatova, Jens Fiebig, Axel Gerdes, Renee Janssen, Kathryn E. Fitzsimmons
Communications Earth & Environment, Volume 2, pp 1-8; doi:10.1038/s43247-021-00173-z

Earth’s climatic evolution over the last 5 million years is primarily understood from the perspective of marine mechanisms, however, the role of terrestrial feedbacks remains largely unexplored. Here we reconstruct the last 5 million years of soil moisture variability in Central Asia using paleomagnetism data and isotope geochemistry of an 80 m-thick sedimentary succession at Charyn Canyon, Kazakhstan. We identify a long-term trend of increasing aridification throughout the period, along with shorter-term variability related to the interaction between mid-latitude westerlies and the Siberian high-pressure system. This record highlights the long-term contribution of mid-latitude Eurasian terrestrial systems to the modulation of moisture transfer into the Northern Hemisphere oceans and back onto land via westerly air flow. The response of Earth-surface dynamics to Plio-Pleistocene climatic change in Central Asia likely generated terrestrial feedbacks affecting ocean and atmospheric circulation. This missing terrestrial link elucidates the significance of land-water feedbacks for long-term global climate.
, , Esther J. Sumner, M. Gabriela Mángano, Luis A. Buatois
Communications Earth & Environment, Volume 2, pp 1-7; doi:10.1038/s43247-021-00176-w

The exceptionally preserved fossils entombed in the deposits of sediment-gravity flows in the Cambrian Burgess Shale of British Columbia have been fundamental for understanding the origin of major animal groups during the Cambrian explosion. More recently, they have been used to investigate the evolution of community structure; however, this assumes that the fossil assemblage represents an in-life community. Here we test this assumption for the first time based on experimental and field approaches. We use flume experiments to create analog flows and show that transport of the polychaete Alitta virens over tens of kilometers does not induce significantly more damage beyond that already experienced due to normal decay processes. Integration of experimental results with taphonomic assessment of fossils and sedimentological analysis suggests that the organisms of the Burgess Shale in the classic Walcott Quarry locality could have undergone substantial transport and may represent a conflation of more than one community.
, Emily Mason, , Lacey Holland, , , , Rachel C. W. Whitty, , Patricia A. Nadeau, et al.
Communications Earth & Environment, Volume 2; doi:10.1038/s43247-021-00190-y

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