We update the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) analysis of global surface temperature change, compare alternative analyses, and address questions about perception and reality of global warming. Satellite-observed night lights are used to identify measurement stations located in extreme darkness and adjust temperature trends of urban and periurban stations for nonclimatic factors, verifying that urban effects on analyzed global change are small. Because the GISS analysis combines available sea surface temperature records with meteorological station measurements, we test alternative choices for the ocean data, showing that global temperature change is sensitive to estimated temperature change in polar regions where observations are limited. We use simple 12 month (and n x 12) running means to improve the information content in our temperature graphs. Contrary to a popular misconception, the rate of warming has not declined. Global temperature is rising as fast in the past decade as in the prior 2 decades, despite year-to-year fluctuations associated with the El Nino-La Nina cycle of tropical ocean temperature. Record high global 12 month running mean temperature for the period with instrumental data was reached in 2010.
Our understanding of the global dust cycle is limited by a dearth of information about dust sources, especially small‐scale features which could account for a large fraction of global emissions. Here we present a global‐scale high‐resolution (0.1°) mapping of sources based on Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Deep Blue estimates of dust optical depth in conjunction with other data sets including land use. We ascribe dust sources to natural and anthropogenic (primarily agricultural) origins, calculate their respective contributions to emissions, and extensively compare these products against literature. Natural dust sources globally account for 75% of emissions; anthropogenic sources account for 25%. North Africa accounts for 55% of global dust emissions with only 8% being anthropogenic, mostly from the Sahel. Elsewhere, anthropogenic dust emissions can be much higher (75% in Australia). Hydrologic dust sources (e.g., ephemeral water bodies) account for 31% worldwide; 15% of them are natural while 85% are anthropogenic. Globally, 20% of emissions are from vegetated surfaces, primarily desert shrublands and agricultural lands. Since anthropogenic dust sources are associated with land use and ephemeral water bodies, both in turn linked to the hydrological cycle, their emissions are affected by climate variability. Such changes in dust emissions can impact climate, air quality, and human health. Improved dust emission estimates will require a better mapping of threshold wind velocities, vegetation dynamics, and surface conditions (soil moisture and land use) especially in the sensitive regions identified here, as well as improved ability to address small‐scale convective processes producing dust via cold pool (haboob) events frequent in monsoon regimes. Anthropogenic sources represent 25% of global emissions Anthropogenic sources are mostly associated with ephemeral lakes or rivers Anthropogenic dust emissions are affected by ENSO and climate variability
This review surveys the basic theories, observational methods, satellite algorithms, and land surface models for terrestrial evapotranspiration, E (or λE , i.e., latent heat flux), including a long‐term variability and trends perspective. The basic theories used to estimate E are the Monin‐Obukhov similarity theory (MOST), the Bowen ratio method, and the Penman‐Monteith equation. The latter two theoretical expressions combine MOST with surface energy balance. Estimates of E can differ substantially between these three approaches because of their use of different input data. Surface and satellite‐based measurement systems can provide accurate estimates of diurnal, daily, and annual variability of E . But their estimation of longer time variability is largely not established. A reasonable estimate of E as a global mean can be obtained from a surface water budget method, but its regional distribution is still rather uncertain. Current land surface models provide widely different ratios of the transpiration by vegetation to total E . This source of uncertainty therefore limits the capability of models to provide the sensitivities of E to precipitation deficits and land cover change. A thorough review of E from a climatic variability perspective Large uncertainties in E climatic variability Partition of total E is a key point to improve modeling and satellite retrieval
Precipitation downscaling improves the coarse resolution and poor representation of precipitation in global climate models and helps end users to assess the likely hydrological impacts of climate change. This paper integrates perspectives from meteorologists, climatologists, statisticians, and hydrologists to identify generic end user (in particular, impact modeler) needs and to discuss downscaling capabilities and gaps. End users need a reliable representation of precipitation intensities and temporal and spatial variability, as well as physical consistency, independent of region and season. In addition to presenting dynamical downscaling, we review perfect prognosis statistical downscaling, model output statistics, and weather generators, focusing on recent developments to improve the representation of space-time variability. Furthermore, evaluation techniques to assess downscaling skill are presented. Downscaling adds considerable value to projections from global climate models. Remaining gaps are uncertainties arising from sparse data; representation of extreme summer precipitation, subdaily precipitation, and full precipitation fields on fine scales; capturing changes in small-scale processes and their feedback on large scales; and errors inherited from the driving global climate model.
Understanding the influence of solar variability on the Earth's climate requires knowledge of solar variability, solar-terrestrial interactions, and the mechanisms determining the response of the Earth's climate system. We provide a summary of our current understanding in each of these three areas. Observations and mechanisms for the Sun's variability are described, including solar irradiance variations on both decadal and centennial time scales and their relation to galactic cosmic rays. Corresponding observations of variations of the Earth's climate on associated time scales are described, including variations in ozone, temperatures, winds, clouds, precipitation, and regional modes of variability such as the monsoons and the North Atlantic Oscillation. A discussion of the available solar and climate proxies is provided. Mechanisms proposed to explain these climate observations are described, including the effects of variations in solar irradiance and of charged particles. Finally, the contributions of solar variations to recent observations of global climate change are discussed.
Aerosols are a critical factor in the atmospheric hydrological cycle and radiation budget. As a major agent for clouds to form and a significant attenuator of solar radiation, aerosols affect climate in several ways. Current research suggests that aerosol effects on clouds could further extend to precipitation, both through the formation of cloud particles and by exerting persistent radiative forcing on the climate system that disturbs dynamics. However, the various mechanisms behind these effects, in particular, the ones connected to precipitation, are not yet well understood. The atmospheric and climate communities have long been working to gain a better grasp of these critical effects and hence to reduce the significant uncertainties in climate prediction resulting from such a lack of adequate knowledge. Here we review past efforts and summarize our current understanding of the effect of aerosols on convective precipitation processes from theoretical analysis of microphysics, observational evidence, and a range of numerical model simulations. In addition, the discrepancies between results simulated by models, as well as those between simulations and observations, are presented. Specifically, this paper addresses the following topics: (1) fundamental theories of aerosol effects on microphysics and precipitation processes, (2) observational evidence of the effect of aerosols on precipitation processes, (3) signatures of the aerosol impact on precipitation from large‐scale analyses, (4) results from cloud‐resolving model simulations, and (5) results from large‐scale numerical model simulations. Finally, several future research directions for gaining a better understanding of aerosol‐cloud‐precipitation interactions are suggested. Fundamental theories of the effects of aerosols on cloud microphysical processes Observations and modeling of aerosol effects on precipitation and weather Issues and uncertainties in studying aerosol effects on precipitation
In environmental magnetism, rock and mineral magnetic techniques are used to investigate the formation, transportation, deposition, and postdepositional alterations of magnetic minerals under the influences of a wide range of environmental processes. All materials respond in some way to an applied magnetic field, and iron-bearing minerals are sensitive to a range of environmental processes, which makes magnetic measurements extremely useful for detecting signals associated with environmental processes. Environmental magnetism has grown considerably since the mid 1970s and now contributes to research in the geosciences and in branches of physics, chemistry, and biology and environmental science, including research on climate change, pollution, iron biomineralization, and depositional and diagenetic processes in sediments to name a few applications. Magnetic parameters are used to routinely scan sediments, but interpretation is often difficult and requires understanding of the underlying physics and chemistry. Thorough examination of magnetic properties and of the environmental processes that give rise to the measured magnetic signal is needed to avoid ambiguities, complexities, and limitations to interpretations. In this review, we evaluate environmental magnetic parameters based on theory and empirical results. We describe how ambiguities can be resolved by use of combined techniques and demonstrate the power of environmental magnetism in enabling quantitative environmental interpretations. We also review recent developments that demonstrate the mutual benefit of environmental magnetism from close collaborations with biology, chemistry, and physics. Finally, we discuss directions in which environmental magnetism is likely to develop in the future.
Salt marshes are delicate landforms at the boundary between the sea and land. These ecosystems support a diverse biota that modifies the erosive characteristics of the substrate and mediates sediment transport processes. Here we present a broad overview of recent numerical models that quantify the formation and evolution of salt marshes under different physical and ecological drivers. In particular, we focus on the coupling between geomorphological and ecological processes and on how these feedbacks are included in predictive models of landform evolution. We describe in detail models that simulate fluxes of water, organic matter, and sediments in salt marshes. The interplay between biological and morphological processes often produces a distinct scarp between salt marshes and tidal flats. Numerical models can capture the dynamics of this boundary and the progradation or regression of the marsh in time. Tidal channels are also key features of the marsh landscape, flooding and draining the marsh platform and providing a source of sediments and nutrients to the marsh ecosystem. In recent years, several numerical models have been developed to describe the morphogenesis and long-term dynamics of salt marsh channels. Finally, salt marshes are highly sensitive to the effects of long-term climatic change. We therefore discuss in detail how numerical models have been used to determine salt marsh survival under different scenarios of sea level rise.
The contrast between the point‐scale nature of current ground‐based soil moisture instrumentation and the ground resolution (typically >10 2 km 2 ) of satellites used to retrieve soil moisture poses a significant challenge for the validation of data products from current and upcoming soil moisture satellite missions. Given typical levels of observed spatial variability in soil moisture fields, this mismatch confounds mission validation goals by introducing significant sampling uncertainty in footprint‐scale soil moisture estimates obtained from sparse ground‐based observations. During validation activities based on comparisons between ground observations and satellite retrievals, this sampling error can be misattributed to retrieval uncertainty and spuriously degrade the perceived accuracy of satellite soil moisture products. This review paper describes the magnitude of the soil moisture upscaling problem and measurement density requirements for ground‐based soil moisture networks. Since many large‐scale networks do not meet these requirements, it also summarizes a number of existing soil moisture upscaling strategies which may reduce the detrimental impact of spatial sampling errors on the reliability of satellite soil moisture validation using spatially sparse ground‐based observations. Satellite soil moisture retrievals are obtained at coarse spatial resolutions It is difficult to validate them using point‐scale ground observations Credible soil moisture upscaling strategies exist to address the problem
Precipitation over and near mountains is not caused by topography but, rather, occurs when storms of a type that can occur anywhere (deep convection, fronts, tropical cyclones) form near or move over complex terrain. Deep convective systems occurring near mountains are affected by channeling of airflow near mountains, capping of moist boundary layers by flow subsiding from higher terrain, and triggering to break the cap when low-level flow encounters hills near the bases of major mountain ranges. Mesoscale convective systems are triggered by nocturnal downslope flows and by diurnally triggered disturbances propagating away from mountain ranges. The stratiform regions of mesoscale convective systems are enhanced by upslope flow when they move over mountains. In frontal cloud systems, the poleward flow of warm-sector air ahead of the system may rise easily over terrain, and a maximum of precipitating cloud occurs over the first rise of terrain, and rainfall is maximum on ridges and minimum in valleys. If the low-level air ahead of the system is stable, blocking or damming occurs. Shear between a blocked layer and unblocked moist air above favors turbulent overturning, which can accelerate precipitation fallout. In tropical cyclones, the tangential winds encountering a mountain range produce a gravity wave response and greatly enhanced upslope flow. Depending on the height of the mountain, the maximum rain may occur on either the windward or leeward side. When the capped boundary layer of the eye of a tropical cyclone passes over a mountain, the cap may be broken with intense convection resulting.
The most important sources of atmospheric moisture at the global scale are herein identified, both oceanic and terrestrial, and a characterization is made of how continental regions are influenced by water from different moisture source regions. The methods used to establish source-sink relationships of atmospheric water vapor are reviewed, and the advantages and caveats associated with each technique are discussed. The methods described include analytical and box models, numerical water vapor tracers, and physical water vapor tracers (isotopes). In particular, consideration is given to the wide range of recently developed Lagrangian techniques suitable both for evaluating the origin of water that falls during extreme precipitation events and for establishing climatologies of moisture source-sink relationships. As far as oceanic sources are concerned, the important role of the subtropical northern Atlantic Ocean provides moisture for precipitation to the largest continental area, extending from Mexico to parts of Eurasia, and even to the South American continent during the Northern Hemisphere winter. In contrast, the influence of the southern Indian Ocean and North Pacific Ocean sources extends only over smaller continental areas. The South Pacific and the Indian Ocean represent the principal source of moisture for both Australia and Indonesia. Some landmasses only receive moisture from the evaporation that occurs in the same hemisphere (e.g., northern Europe and eastern North America), while others receive moisture from both hemispheres with large seasonal variations (e.g., northern South America). The monsoonal regimes in India, tropical Africa, and North America are provided with moisture from a large number of regions, highlighting the complexities of the global patterns of precipitation. Some very important contributions are also seen from relatively small areas of ocean, such as the Mediterranean Basin (important for Europe and North Africa) and the Red Sea, which provides water for a large area between the Gulf of Guinea and Indochina (summer) and between the African Great Lakes and Asia (winter). The geographical regions of Eurasia, North and South America, and Africa, and also the internationally important basins of the Mississippi, Amazon, Congo, and Yangtze Rivers, are also considered, as is the importance of terrestrial sources in monsoonal regimes. The role of atmospheric rivers, and particularly their relationship with extreme events, is discussed. Droughts can be caused by the reduced supply of water vapor from oceanic moisture source regions. Some of the implications of climate change for the hydrological cycle are also reviewed, including changes in water vapor concentrations, precipitation, soil moisture, and aridity. It is important to achieve a combined diagnosis of moisture sources using all available information, including stable water isotope measurements. A summary is given of the major research questions that remain unanswered, including (1) the lack of a full understanding of how moisture sources influence precipitation isotopes; (2) the stationarity of moisture sources over long periods; (3) the way in which possible changes in intensity (where evaporation exceeds precipitation to a greater of lesser degree), and the locations of the sources, (could) affect the distribution of continental precipitation in a changing climate; and (4) the role played by the main modes of climate variability, such as the North Atlantic Oscillation or the El NiñoSouthern Oscillation, in the variability of the moisture source regions, as well as a full evaluation of the moisture transported by low-level jets and atmospheric rivers.
Methane gas hydrates, crystalline inclusion compounds formed from methane and water, are found in marine continental margin and permafrost sediments worldwide. This article reviews the current understanding of phenomena involved in gas hydrate formation and the physical properties of hydrate-bearing sediments. Formation phenomena include pore-scale habit, solubility, spatial variability, and host sediment aggregate properties. Physical properties include thermal properties, permeability, electrical conductivity and permittivity, small-strain elastic P and S wave velocities, shear strength, and volume changes resulting from hydrate dissociation. The magnitudes and interdependencies of these properties are critically important for predicting and quantifying macroscale responses of hydrate-bearing sediments to changes in mechanical, thermal, or chemical boundary conditions. These predictions are vital for mitigating borehole, local, and regional slope stability hazards; optimizing recovery techniques for extracting methane from hydrate-bearing sediments or sequestering carbon dioxide in gas hydrate; and evaluating the role of gas hydrate in the global carbon cycle.
Knowledge of the size- and composition-dependent production flux of primary sea spray aerosol (SSA) particles and its dependence on environmental variables is required for modeling cloud microphysical properties and aerosol radiative influences, interpreting measurements of particulate matter in coastal areas and its relation to air quality, and evaluating rates of uptake and reactions of gases in sea spray drops. This review examines recent research pertinent to SSA production flux, which deals mainly with production of particles with r(80) (equilibrium radius at 80% relative humidity) less than 1 mu m and as small as 0.01 mu m. Production of sea spray particles and its dependence on controlling factors has been investigated in laboratory studies that have examined the dependences on water temperature, salinity, and the presence of organics and in field measurements with micrometeorological techniques that use newly developed fast optical particle sizers. Extensive measurements show that water-insoluble organic matter contributes substantially to the composition of SSA particles with r(80) < 0.25 mu m and, in locations with high biological activity, can be the dominant constituent. Order-of-magnitude variation remains in estimates of the size-dependent production flux per white area, the quantity central to formulations of the production flux based on the whitecap method. This variation indicates that the production flux may depend on quantities such as the volume flux of air bubbles to the surface that are not accounted for in current models. Variation in estimates of the whitecap fraction as a function of wind speed contributes additional, comparable uncertainty to production flux estimates.
Oscillations in stress, such as those created by earthquakes, can increase permeability and fluid mobility in geologic media. In natural systems, strain amplitudes as small as 10 −6 can increase discharge in streams and springs, change the water level in wells, and enhance production from petroleum reservoirs. Enhanced permeability typically recovers to prestimulated values over a period of months to years. Mechanisms that can change permeability at such small stresses include unblocking pores, either by breaking up permeability‐limiting colloidal deposits or by mobilizing droplets and bubbles trapped in pores by capillary forces. The recovery time over which permeability returns to the prestimulated value is governed by the time to reblock pores, or for geochemical processes to seal pores. Monitoring permeability in geothermal systems where there is abundant seismicity, and the response of flow to local and regional earthquakes, would help test some of the proposed mechanisms and identify controls on permeability and its evolution. Distant earthquakes affect hydrological processes Time varying stresses can change fluid mobility by dislodging particles and bubbles Monitoring geothermal systems with abundant seismicity may yield new insights
Greigite (Fe3S4) is an authigenic ferrimagnetic mineral that grows as a precursor to pyrite during early diagenetic sedimentary sulfate reduction. It can also grow at any time when dissolved iron and sulfide are available during diagenesis. Greigite is important in paleomagnetic, environmental, biological, biogeochemical, tectonic, and industrial processes. Much recent progress has been made in understanding its magnetic properties. Greigite is an inverse spinel and a collinear ferrimagnet with antiferromagnetic coupling between iron in octahedral and tetrahedral sites. The crystallographic c axis is the easy axis of magnetization, with magnetic properties dominated by magnetocrystalline anisotropy. Robust empirical estimates of the saturation magnetization, anisotropy constant, and exchange constant for greigite have been obtained recently for the first time, and the first robust estimate of the low-field magnetic susceptibility is reported here. The Curie temperature of greigite remains unknown but must exceed 350 degrees C. Greigite lacks a low-temperature magnetic transition. On the basis of preliminary micromagnetic modeling, the size range for stable single domain behavior is 17-200 nm for cubic crystals and 17-500 nm for octahedral crystals. Gradual variation in magnetic properties is observed through the pseudo-single-domain size range. We systematically document the known magnetic properties of greigite (at high, ambient, and low temperatures and with alternating and direct fields) and illustrate how grain size variations affect magnetic properties. Recognition of this range of magnetic properties will aid identification and constrain interpretation of magnetic signals carried by greigite, which is increasingly proving to be environmentally important and responsible for complex paleomagnetic records, including widespread remagnetizations.
Water vapor is not only Earth's dominant greenhouse gas. Through the release of latent heat when it condenses, it also plays an active role in dynamic processes that shape the global circulation of the atmosphere and thus climate. Here we present an overview of how latent heat release affects atmosphere dynamics in a broad range of climates, ranging from extremely cold to extremely warm. Contrary to widely held beliefs, atmospheric circulation statistics can change nonmonotonically with global-mean surface temperature, in part because of dynamic effects of water vapor. For example, the strengths of the tropical Hadley circulation and of zonally asymmetric tropical circulations, as well as the kinetic energy of extratropical baroclinic eddies, can be lower than they presently are both in much warmer climates and in much colder climates. We discuss how latent heat release is implicated in such circulation changes, particularly through its effect on the atmospheric static stability, and we illustrate the circulation changes through simulations with an idealized general circulation model. This allows us to explore a continuum of climates, to constrain macroscopic laws governing this climatic continuum, and to place past and possible future climate changes in a broader context.
Atmospheric mineral dust has recently become an important research field in Earth system science because of its impacts on radiation, clouds, atmospheric dynamics and chemistry, air quality, and biogeochemical cycles. Studying and modeling dust emission and transport over the world's largest source region, the Sahara, is particularly challenging because of the complex meteorology and a very sparse observational network. Recent advances in satellite retrievals together with ground-and aircraft-based field campaigns have fostered our understanding of the spatiotemporal variability of the dust aerosol and its atmospheric drivers. We now have a more complete picture of the key processes in the atmosphere associated with dust emission. These cover a range of scales from (1) synoptic scale cyclones in the northern sector of the Sahara, harmattan surges and African easterly waves, through (2) low-level jets and cold pools of mesoscale convective systems (particularly over the Sahel), to (3) microscale dust devils and dusty plumes, each with its own pronounced diurnal and seasonal characteristics. This paper summarizes recent progress on monitoring and analyzing the dust distribution over the Sahara and discusses implications for numerical modeling. Among the key challenges for the future are a better quantification of the relative importance of single processes and a more realistic representation of the effects of the smaller-scale meteorological features in dust models. In particular, moist convection has been recognized as a major limitation to our understanding because of the inability of satellites to observe dust under clouds and the difficulties of numerical models to capture convective organization.
The extratropical upper troposphere and lower stratosphere (Ex-UTLS) is a transition region between the stratosphere and the troposphere. The Ex-UTLS includes the tropopause, a strong static stability gradient and dynamic barrier to transport. The barrier is reflected in tracer profiles. This region exhibits complex dynamical, radiative, and chemical characteristics that place stringent spatial and temporal requirements on observing and modeling systems. The Ex-UTLS couples the stratosphere to the troposphere through chemical constituent transport (of, e. g., ozone), by dynamically linking the stratospheric circulation with tropospheric wave patterns, and via radiative processes tied to optically thick clouds and clear-sky gradients of radiatively active gases. A comprehensive picture of the Ex-UTLS is presented that brings together different definitions of the tropopause, focusing on observed dynamical and chemical structure and their coupling. This integral view recognizes that thermal gradients and dynamic barriers are necessarily linked, that these barriers inhibit mixing and give rise to specific trace gas distributions, and that there are radiative feed-backs that help maintain this structure. The impacts of 21st century anthropogenic changes to the atmosphere due to ozone recovery and climate change will be felt in the Ex-UTLS, and recent simulations of these effects are summarized and placed in context.
Poised at the interface of rivers, ocean, atmosphere and dense human settlement, estuaries are driven by a large array of natural and anthropogenic forces. San Francisco Bay exemplifies the fast-paced change occurring in many of the world's estuaries, bays, and inland seas in response to these diverse forces. We use observations from this particularly well-studied estuary to illustrate responses to six drivers that are common agents of change where land and sea meet: water consumption and diversion, human modification of sediment supply, introduction of nonnative species, sewage input, environmental policy, and climate shifts. In San Francisco Bay, responses to these drivers include, respectively, shifts in the timing and extent of freshwater inflow and salinity intrusion, decreasing turbidity, restructuring of plankton communities, nutrient enrichment, elimination of hypoxia and reduced metal contamination of biota, and food web changes that decrease resistance of the estuary to nutrient pollution. Detection of these changes and discovery of their causes through environmental monitoring have been essential for establishing and measuring outcomes of environmental policies that aim to maintain high water quality and sustain services provided by estuarine-coastal ecosystems. The many time scales of variability and the multiplicity of interacting drivers place heavy demands on estuarine monitoring programs, but the San Francisco Bay case study illustrates why the imperative for monitoring has never been greater.
We review and synthesize the geologic record that constrains the sources of sea level rise and freshwater discharge to the global oceans associated with retreat of ice sheets during the last deglaciation. The Last Glacial Maximum (2619 ka) was terminated by a rapid 510 m sea level rise at 19.019.5 ka, sourced largely from Northern Hemisphere ice sheet retreat in response to high northern latitude insolation forcing. Sea level rise of 820 m from 19 to 14.5 ka can be attributed to continued retreat of the Laurentide and Eurasian Ice Sheets, with an additional freshwater forcing of uncertain amount delivered by Heinrich event 1. The source of the abrupt acceleration in sea level rise at 14.6 ka (meltwater pulse 1A, 1415 m) includes contributions of 6.510 m from Northern Hemisphere ice sheets, of which 27 m represents an excess contribution above that derived from ongoing ice sheet retreat. Widespread retreat of Antarctic ice sheets began at 14.015.0 ka, which, together with geophysical modeling of far-field sea level records, suggests an Antarctic contribution to this meltwater pulse as well. The cause of the subsequent Younger Dryas cold event can be attributed to eastward freshwater runoff from the Lake Agassiz basin to the St. Lawrence estuary that agrees with existing Lake Agassiz outlet radiocarbon dates. Much of the early Holocene sea level rise can be explained by Laurentide and Scandinavian Ice Sheet retreat, with collapse of Laurentide ice over Hudson Bay and drainage of Lake Agassiz basin runoff at 8.48.2 ka to the Labrador Sea causing the 8.2 ka event.