Skeptical Science New Research for Week #33, 2020

Two epic review reports

AMS have released State of the Climate 2019 (50MB pdf), a comprehensive review of Earth’s climate as it stood in 2019. 

With much less fanfare Walsh et al have produced Extreme weather and climate events in northern areas: A review55 pages of scrupulous literature synopsis, synthesis and cautious projection supported by 20 pages of citation references. A true “don’t miss” publication. The reference section is a goldmine for further exploration. 

Both items are open access. 

RCP8.5 is normal

In this week’s “nudges” Schwalm et al remind us of the stubbornly droopy nature of the Keeling Curve:

Climate simulation-based scenarios are routinely used to characterize a range of plausible climate futures. Despite some recent progress on bending the emissions curve, RCP8.5, the most aggressive scenario in assumed fossil fuel use for global climate models, will continue to serve as a useful tool for quantifying physical climate risk, especially over near- to midterm policy-relevant time horizons. Not only are the emissions consistent with RCP8.5 in close agreement with historical total cumulative CO2 emissions (within 1%), but RCP8.5 is also the best match out to midcentury under current and stated policies with still highly plausible levels of CO2 emissions in 2100.

95 Articles

Observations of global warming & effects

AMS State of the Climate 2019 (open access)

Extreme weather and climate events in northern areas: A review (open access)

A Raman lidar tropospheric water vapour climatology and height-resolved trend analysis over Payerne, Switzerland (open access)

Attribution of historical near-surface permafrost degradation to anthropogenic greenhouse gas warming

Increasing trend in rapid intensification magnitude of tropical cyclones over the western North Pacific

Snow cover variations across China from 1951–2018 (open access)

Long-term variation of sea ice and its response to thermodynamic factors in the Northwest Passage of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago (open access)

Climate change dominated long‐term soil carbon losses of Inner Mongolian grasslands

The climatological context of trends in the onset of Northern Hemisphere seasonal snow‐cover, 1972 – 2017

The Long-Term Trend of Upper-Air Temperature in China Derived from Microwave Sounding Data and Its Comparison with Radiosonde Observations

Increasing occurrence of extreme cold surges in North China during the recent global warming slowdown and the possible linkage to the extreme pressure rises over Siberia

Temporal variability of seasonal warming rates in China

Nonstationary relationship between sea ice over Kara‐Laptev Seas during August‐September and Ural blocking in the following winter

Asymmetric trends of extreme temperature over the Loess Plateau during 1998‐2018

Instrumentation & observational methods of climate & global warming

A linear model to derive melt pond depth on Arctic sea ice from hyperspectral data (open access)

Present-day radiative effect from radiation-absorbing aerosols in snow (open access)

Modeling & simulation of global warming & global warming effects

Scenarios of Twenty-First Century Mean Sea Level Rise at Tide-Gauge Stations Across Canada (open access)

Human-induced changes to the global ocean water masses and their time of emergence

Increasing threat of coastal groundwater hazards from sea-level rise in California

Effective radiative forcing and adjustments in CMIP6 models (open access)

Diverging responses of high-latitude CO2 and CH4 emissions in idealized climate change scenarios (open access)

Projected changes in the annual range of precipitation under stabilized 1.5°C and 2.0°C warming futures (open access)

The Upper Tail of Precipitation in Convection‐Permitting Regional Climate Models and Their Utility in Nonstationary Rainfall and Flood Frequency Analysis (open access)

Analysis of Compound Climate Extremes and Exposed Population in Africa under two different Emission Scenarios (open access)

Irreversibility of Marine Climate Change Impacts under Carbon Dioxide Removal

Robust longitudinally‐variable responses of the ITCZ to a myriad of climate forcings

Isolating the Evolving Contributions of Anthropogenic Aerosols and Greenhouse Gases: A New CESM1 Large Ensemble Community Resource (open access)

Projected End-of-Century Changes in the South American Monsoon in the CESM Large Ensemble

Seasonal Dependency of Tropical Precipitation Change under Global Warming

Are the Transient and Equilibrium Climate Change Patterns Similar in Response to Increased CO 2 ?

Long term trends of mesopheric ice layers: A model study

Future Projections of Winter Cold Surge Paths over East Asia from CMIP6 Models

Climate model advancement

Robust observational constraint of uncertain aerosol processes and emissions in a climate model and the effect on aerosol radiative forcing (open access)

Past long-term summer warming over western Europe in new generation climate models: role of large-scale atmospheric circulation

Statistical emulation of a perturbed basal melt ensemble of an ice sheet model to better quantify Antarctic sea level rise uncertainties (open access)

Optimal Estimation of Stochastic Energy Balance Model Parameters

Dynamical downscaling simulation of the East Asian summer monsoon in a regional Climate‐Weather Research and Forecasting model

An idealized protocol to assess the nesting procedure in regional climate modelling

Cryosphere & climate change

Review Article: Earth’s ice imbalance (open access)

Distributed summer air temperatures across mountain glaciers: climatic sensitivity and glacier size (open access)

Applying artificial snowfall to reduce the melting of the Muz Taw Glacier, Sawir Mountains (open access)

Long-term variation of sea ice and its response to thermodynamic factors in the Northwest Passage of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago (open access)

Greenland climate simulations show high Eemian surface melt (open access)

Less climatic resilience in the arctic

Biology & global warming

Inflection point in climatic suitability of insect pest species in Europe suggests non‐linear responses to climate change

Climatic changes and the fate of mountain herbivores (open access)

Correction to: Regional variability in the response of alpine treelines to climate change (open access)

Ocean acidification reduces growth and grazing impact of Antarctic heterotrophic nanoflagellates (open access)

Climate-driven changes in the composition of New World plant communities

Dendroclimatology of sugar maple (Acer saccharum): Climate-growth response in a late-successional species

Continental‐scale tree‐ring‐based projection of Douglas‐fir growth: Testing the limits of space‐for‐time substitution

The combined effects of climate change and river fragmentation on the distribution of Andean Amazon fishes

Research challenges and opportunities for using big data in global change biology

Climatic breadth of calling behaviour in two widespread Neotropical frogs: Insights from humidity extremes

Modeling eelgrass spatial response to nutrient abatement measures in a changing climate (open access)

The role of gastropod shell composition and microstructure in resisting dissolution caused by ocean acidification

Survived but not safe: Marine heatwave hinders metabolism in two gastropod survivors

Focus on recent, present and future Arctic and boreal productivity and biomass changes

Climate manipulations differentially affect plant population dynamics within versus beyond northern range limits

Cool as a moose: How can browsing counteract climate warming effects across boreal forest ecosystems?

A changing climate is snuffing out post‐fire recovery in montane forests

Tree growth sensitivity to climate is temporally variable

GHG sources & sinks, flux

Historical CO2 emissions from land use and land cover change and their uncertainty (open access)

Diel variability of methane emissions from lakes (open access)

Labile carbon limits late winter microbial activity near Arctic treeline (open access)

Decadal‐scale Recovery of Carbon Stocks After Wildfires Throughout the Boreal Forests

Using a natural experiment to foresee the fate of boreal carbon stores

Total ecosystem carbon stocks at the marine‐terrestrial interface: Blue carbon of the Pacific Northwest Coast, United States

Net landscape carbon balance of a tropical savanna: Relative importance of fire and aquatic export in offsetting terrestrial production

Asymmetric response of soil methane uptake rate to land degradation and restoration: Data synthesis

CO2 removal science & engineering

Small‐scale capillary heterogeneity linked to rapid plume migration during CO2 storage

Irreversibility of Marine Climate Change Impacts under Carbon Dioxide Removal

Geoengineering climate

Anticipatory governance of solar geoengineering: conflicting visions of the future and their links to governance proposals

Climate change communications & cognition

Global Warming Risk Perceptions in India

Agronomy & climate change

Adaptation in U.S. Corn Belt increases resistance to soil carbon loss with climate change (open access)

Climate change and environmental impacts on and adaptation strategies for production in wheat-rice rotations in southern China

A case study of climate-smart management in foxtail millet (Setaria italica) production under future climate change in Lishu county of Jilin, China

The climate-induced alteration of future geographic distribution of aflatoxin in peanut crops and its adaptation options

Economics & finance of climate change & mitigation

Making sense of the politics in the climate change loss & damage debate

A near-term to net zero alternative to the social cost of carbon for setting carbon prices (open access)

A sectoral approach allows an artful merger of climate and trade policy (open access)

Economic and social constraints on reforestation for climate mitigation in Southeast Asia

The financial impact of fossil fuel divestment (open access)

Climate change mitigation & adaptation public policy research

Research priorities for supporting subnational climate policies

Exploring requirements for sustainable energy supply planning with regard to climate resilience of Southeast Asian islands

Climate change adaptation

An agent-based model for community flood adaptation under uncertain sea-level rise

Searching for Grouped Patterns of Heterogeneity in the Climate–Migration Link

Humans dealing with our global warming

A demographic approach to understanding the effects of climate on population growth

Contributions of scale: what we stand to gain from Indigenous and local inclusion in climate and health monitoring and surveillance systems

A decision support tool for climate-informed and socioeconomic urban design


Between a bog and a hard place: a global review of climate change effects on coastal freshwater wetlands (open access)

Book Review: Beyond Global Warming: How Numerical Models Revealed the Secrets of Climate Change

Determining the most accurate program for the Mann-Kendall method in detecting climate mutation

At scale, renewable natural gas systems could be climate intensive: the influence of methane feedstock and leakage rates

Informed opinion & nudges

Review Article: Earth’s ice imbalance (open access)

Less climatic resilience in the arctic

RCP8.5 tracks cumulative CO2 emissions (open access)


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 against a small marginal cost. 

Economists of a scientific bent may someday help scientific publishers bring science to their business activities as reflected in rational à la carte article disclosure fees. Meanwhile there are several possible paths to equality of information access short of paying an objectively and crushingly large fee for the unveiling of a single article:

  • Unpaywall offers a browser extension for Chrome 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
  • If you’re interested in an article and it is not listed here as “open access,” be sure to check the link anyway. Due to time constraints open access articles are identified by us via  imperfect machine analysis. Compared with Unpaywall statistics we successfully  identify roughly 2/3rds of open access articles. There’s definitely gold left in the ground. 

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.

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 about 1/4 of RSS output makes the cut.


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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