Communications Earth & Environment

Journal Information
EISSN : 2662-4435
Published by: Springer Nature (10.1038)
Total articles ≅ 242
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, , , Thomas W. Hertel, Klaus Keller, Robert E. Nicholas
Published: 20 September 2021
Communications Earth & Environment, Volume 2, pp 1-10; https://doi.org/10.1038/s43247-021-00266-9

Abstract:
Efforts to understand and quantify how a changing climate can impact agriculture often rely on bias-corrected and downscaled climate information, making it important to quantify potential biases of this approach. Here, we use a multi-model ensemble of statistically bias-corrected and downscaled climate models, as well as the corresponding parent models from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5), to drive a statistical panel model of U.S. maize yields that incorporates season-wide measures of temperature and precipitation. We analyze uncertainty in annual yield hindcasts, finding that the CMIP5 models considerably overestimate historical yield variability while the bias-corrected and downscaled versions underestimate the largest weather-induced yield declines. We also find large differences in projected yields and other decision-relevant metrics throughout this century, leaving stakeholders with modeling choices that require navigating trade-offs in resolution, historical accuracy, and projection confidence.
, Daniel J. Befort, , Tim Woollings, Andrew Ballinger,
Published: 20 September 2021
Communications Earth & Environment, Volume 2, pp 1-9; https://doi.org/10.1038/s43247-021-00268-7

Abstract:
Internal climate variability will play a major role in determining change on regional scales under global warming. In the extratropics, large-scale atmospheric circulation is responsible for much of observed regional climate variability, from seasonal to multidecadal timescales. However, the extratropical circulation variability on multidecadal timescales is systematically weaker in coupled climate models. Here we show that projections of future extratropical climate from coupled model simulations significantly underestimate the projected uncertainty range originating from large-scale atmospheric circulation variability. Using observational datasets and large ensembles of coupled climate models, we produce synthetic ensemble projections constrained to have variability consistent with the large-scale atmospheric circulation in observations. Compared to the raw model projections, the synthetic observationally-constrained projections exhibit an increased uncertainty in projected 21st century temperature and precipitation changes across much of the Northern extratropics. This increased uncertainty is also associated with an increase of the projected occurrence of future extreme seasons.
, Clare Kimblin, Ian McKenna, Skyler Bagley, Hsiao-Chi Li, Ryan Houim, Christopher S. Kueny, Allen Kuhl, Dave Grote, Mark Converse, et al.
Published: 20 September 2021
Communications Earth & Environment, Volume 2, pp 1-9; https://doi.org/10.1038/s43247-021-00263-y

Abstract:
Volcanic jet flows in explosive eruptions emit radio frequency signatures, indicative of their fluid dynamic and electrostatic conditions. The emissions originate from sparks supported by an electric field built up by the ejected charged volcanic particles. When shock-defined, low-pressure regions confine the sparks, the signatures may be limited to high-frequency content corresponding to the early components of the avalanche-streamer-leader hierarchy. Here, we image sparks and a standing shock together in a transient supersonic jet of micro-diamonds entrained in argon. Fluid dynamic and kinetic simulations of the experiment demonstrate that the observed sparks originate upstream of the standing shock. The sparks are initiated in the rarefaction region, and cut off at the shock, which would limit their radio frequency emissions to a tell-tale high-frequency regime. We show that sparks transmit an impression of the explosive flow, and open the way for novel instrumentation to diagnose currently inaccessible explosive phenomena.
Stephanie Castan, Charlotte Henkel, ,
Published: 16 September 2021
Communications Earth & Environment, Volume 2, pp 1-9; https://doi.org/10.1038/s43247-021-00267-8

Abstract:
Farmland soils are prone to contamination with micro- and nanoplastics through a variety of agricultural practices. Concerns are recurrently raised that micro- and nanoplastics act as vector for organic contaminants to deeper soil layers and endanger groundwater resources. Whether and to what extent micro- and nanoplastics facilitate the transport of organic contaminants in soil remains unclear. Here we calculated the ratio between transport and desorption time scales using two diffusion models for micro- and nanoplastics between 100 nm and 1 mm. To identify micro- and nanoplastics bound contaminant transport we evaluated diffusion and partitioning coefficients of prominent agrochemicals and additives and of frequently used polymers e.g., polyethylene and tire material. Our findings suggest that the desorption of most organic contaminants is too fast for micro- and nanoplastics to act as transport facilitators in soil. Contaminant transport enabled by microplastics was found to be relevant only for very hydrophobic contaminants (logK ow >5) under preferential flow conditions. While micro- and nanoplastics might be a source of potentially harmful contaminants in farmland soils this study suggests that they do not considerably enhance contaminant mobility.
, Rémi Pagès, Andrew M. P. McDonnell, , , Katherine Hedstrom, Brita Irving, Cristina Schultz,
Published: 15 September 2021
Communications Earth & Environment, Volume 2, pp 1-7; https://doi.org/10.1038/s43247-021-00254-z

Abstract:
Uptake of anthropogenic carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by the surface ocean is leading to global ocean acidification, but regional variations in ocean circulation and mixing can dampen or accelerate apparent acidification rates. Here we use a regional ocean model simulation for the years 1980 to 2013 and observational data to investigate how ocean fluctuations impact acidification rates in surface waters of the Gulf of Alaska. We find that large-scale atmospheric forcing influenced local winds and upwelling strength, which in turn affected ocean acidification rate. Specifically, variability in local wind stress curl depressed sea surface height in the subpolar gyre over decade-long intervals, which increased upwelling of nitrate- and dissolved inorganic carbon-rich waters and enhanced apparent ocean acidification rates. We define this sea surface height variability as the Northern Gulf of Alaska Oscillation and suggest that it can cause extreme acidification events that are detrimental to ecosystem health and fisheries.
Irene Del Real, Martin Reich, Adam C. Simon, Artur Deditius, , María A. Rodríguez-Mustafa, John F. H. Thompson, Malcolm P. Roberts
Published: 15 September 2021
Communications Earth & Environment, Volume 2, pp 1-9; https://doi.org/10.1038/s43247-021-00265-w

Abstract:
Iron oxide-copper-gold deposits are a globally important source of copper, gold and critical commodities. However, they possess a range of characteristics related to a variety of tectono-magmatic settings that make development of a general genetic model challenging. Here we investigate micro-textural and compositional variations in actinolite, to constrain the thermal evolution of the Candelaria iron oxide-copper-gold deposit in Chile. We identify at least two mineralization stages comprising an early 675–800 °C iron oxide-apatite type mineralization overprinted by a later copper-rich fluid at around 550–700 °C. We propose that these distinct stages were caused by episodic pulses of injection of magmatic-hydrothermal fluids from crystallizing magmas at depth. We suggest that the mineralisation stages we identify were the result of temperature gradients attributable to changes in the magmatic source, rather than variations in formation depth, and that actinolite chemistry can be used as a proxy for formation temperature in iron oxide-copper-gold systems.
, Sandra L. Kamo, , , Zhen Zhang, Daniel Layton-Matthews, Joan De Vera, Bridget A. Bergquist
Published: 9 September 2021
Communications Earth & Environment, Volume 2, pp 1-9; https://doi.org/10.1038/s43247-021-00261-0

Abstract:
Our understanding of mantle evolution suffers from a lack of age data for when the mantle geochemical variants (mantle components) developed. Traditionally, the components are ascribed to subduction of ocean floor over Earth history, but their isotopic signatures require prolonged storage to evolve. Here we report U-Pb age results for mantle-derived zircon from pyroxenite xenoliths in Oahu, Hawaii, using laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry and isotope dilution - thermal ionization mass spectrometry. The zircon grains have 14 million-year-old rims, Cretaceous cores, and Proterozoic Lu-Hf model ages which are difficult to reconcile with transport of the pyroxenites in the Hawaiian mantle plume because the ages would have been reset by high temperatures. We suggest the zircons may have been preserved in sub-continental lithospheric mantle. They possibly reached Oahu by asthenospheric transport after subduction at Papua New Guinea or may represent fragments of sub-continental lithospheric mantle stranded during Pangean breakup.
, Götz H. R. Bokelmann, Christopher W. Johnson,
Published: 9 September 2021
Communications Earth & Environment, Volume 2, pp 1-10; https://doi.org/10.1038/s43247-021-00244-1

Abstract:
Mechanical stress acting in the Earth’s crust is a fundamental property that is important for a wide range of scientific and engineering applications. The orientation of maximum horizontal compressive stress can be estimated by inverting earthquake source mechanisms and measured directly from borehole-based measurements, but large regions of the continents have few or no observations. Here we present an approach to determine the orientation of maximum horizontal compressive stress by measuring stress-induced anisotropy of nonlinear susceptibility, which is the derivative of elastic modulus with respect to strain. Laboratory and Earth experiments show that nonlinear susceptibility is azimuthally dependent in an anisotropic stress field and is maximum in the orientation of maximum horizontal compressive stress. We observe this behavior in the Earth—in Oklahoma and New Mexico, U.S.A, where maximum nonlinear susceptibility coincides with the orientation of maximum horizontal compressive stress measured using traditional methods. Our measurements use empirical Green’s functions and solid-earth tides and can be applied at different temporal and spatial scales.
Published: 9 September 2021
Communications Earth & Environment, Volume 2, pp 1-9; https://doi.org/10.1038/s43247-021-00264-x

Abstract:
Changes in the Arctic climate-ocean system can rapidly impact carbon cycling and cryosphere. Methane release from the seafloor has been widespread in the Barents Sea since the last deglaciation, being closely linked to changes in pressure and bottom water temperature. Here, we present a post-glacial bottom water temperature record (18,000–0 years before present) based on Mg/Ca in benthic foraminifera from an area where methane seepage occurs and proximal to a former Arctic ice-sheet grounding zone. Coupled ice sheet-hydrate stability modeling shows that phases of extreme bottom water temperature up to 6 °C and associated with inflow of Atlantic Water repeatedly destabilized subsurface hydrates facilitating the release of greenhouse gasses from the seabed. Furthermore, these warming events played an important role in triggering multiple collapses of the marine-based Svalbard-Barents Sea Ice Sheet. Future warming of the Atlantic Water could lead to widespread disappearance of gas hydrates and melting of the remaining marine-terminating glaciers.
Published: 7 September 2021
Communications Earth & Environment, Volume 2, pp 1-13; https://doi.org/10.1038/s43247-021-00262-z

Abstract:
Wind power and electric vehicles can help reduce carbon dioxide emissions and improve air quality. However, these technologies rely on rare metals whose extraction requires large amounts of energy and water and are high in carbon emissions. Here we consider the sustainability of both technologies and the impacts of rare earth elements co-extraction. We use a global dynamic material flow-stock model and several scenarios for rare earth elements demand and supply. Cumulative carbon dioxide equivalent emissions associated with rare earth metals oversupply was between 5.5 and 6.4 times the emissions associated with dysprosium and neodymium production when dysprosium demand was increased. Carbon dioxide equivalent emissions associated with metals extraction and production were equivalent to between 10% and 29% of carbon dioxide emissions reduction through electric vehicle use. Targeting metal rich deposits and increased material efficiency and recycling reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 78%, 39% and 35%, and combined by 90%. Our findings highlight the role of resource efficiency and recycling in enhancing clean energy technologies.
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