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Selection: with tag global-scale [at least 200 articles] 


Satellites reveal contrasting responses of regional climate to the widespread greening of Earth

Science (25 May 2017), eaal1727,


[The vegetation-climate loop] Just as terrestrial plant biomass is growing in response to increasing atmospheric CO2, climate change, and other anthropogenic influences, so is climate affected by those variations in vegetation. Forzieri et al. used satellite observations to analyze how changes in leaf area index (LAI), a measure of vegetation density, have influenced the terrestrial energy balance and local climates over the past several decades. An increase in LAI has helped to warm boreal zones through a reduction of surface albedo and ...


SoilGrids250m: Global gridded soil information based on machine learning

PLOS ONE, Vol. 12, No. 2. (16 February 2017), e0169748,


This paper describes the technical development and accuracy assessment of the most recent and improved version of the SoilGrids system at 250m resolution (June 2016 update). SoilGrids provides global predictions for standard numeric soil properties (organic carbon, bulk density, Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC), pH, soil texture fractions and coarse fragments) at seven standard depths (0, 5, 15, 30, 60, 100 and 200 cm), in addition to predictions of depth to bedrock and distribution of soil classes based on the World Reference ...


A gridded global data set of soil, intact regolith, and sedimentary deposit thicknesses for regional and global land surface modeling

Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems, Vol. 8, No. 1. (March 2016), pp. 41-65,


Earth's terrestrial near-subsurface environment can be divided into relatively porous layers of soil, intact regolith, and sedimentary deposits above unweathered bedrock. Variations in the thicknesses of these layers control the hydrologic and biogeochemical responses of landscapes. Currently, Earth System Models approximate the thickness of these relatively permeable layers above bedrock as uniform globally, despite the fact that their thicknesses vary systematically with topography, climate, and geology. To meet the need for more realistic input data for models, we developed a high-resolution ...


SoilGrids1km - Global soil information based on automated mapping

PLOS ONE, Vol. 9, No. 8. (29 August 2014), e105992,


Soils are widely recognized as a non-renewable natural resource and as biophysical carbon sinks. As such, there is a growing requirement for global soil information. Although several global soil information systems already exist, these tend to suffer from inconsistencies and limited spatial detail. We present SoilGrids1km â a global 3D soil information system at 1 km resolution â containing spatial predictions for a selection of soil properties (at six standard depths): soil organic carbon (g kgâ1), soil pH, sand, silt and ...


WorldClim 2: new 1-km spatial resolution climate surfaces for global land areas

International Journal of Climatology (15 May 2017),


We created a new dataset of spatially interpolated monthly climate data for global land areas at a very high spatial resolution (approximately 1 km2). We included monthly temperature (minimum, maximum and average), precipitation, solar radiation, vapour pressure and wind speed, aggregated across a target temporal range of 1970–2000, using data from between 9000 and 60 000 weather stations. Weather station data were interpolated using thin-plate splines with covariates including elevation, distance to the coast and three satellite-derived covariates: maximum and minimum land surface ...


An ecoregion-based approach to protecting half the terrestrial realm

BioScience (14 April 2017),


We assess progress toward the protection of 50% of the terrestrial biosphere to address the species-extinction crisis and conserve a global ecological heritage for future generations. Using a map of Earth's 846 terrestrial ecoregions, we show that 98 ecoregions (12%) exceed Half Protected; 313 ecoregions (37%) fall short of Half Protected but have sufficient unaltered habitat remaining to reach the target; and 207 ecoregions (24%) are in peril, where an average of only 4% of natural habitat remains. We propose a ...


A global map of roadless areas and their conservation status

Science, Vol. 354, No. 6318. (16 December 2016), pp. 1423-1427,


[Too many roads] Roads have done much to help humanity spread across the planet and maintain global movement and trade. However, roads also damage wild areas and rapidly contribute to habitat degradation and species loss. Ibisch et al. cataloged the world's roads. Though most of the world is not covered by roads, it is fragmented by them, with only 7% of land patches created by roads being greater than 100 km2. Furthermore, environmental protection of roadless areas is insufficient, which could lead ...


A multi-model assessment of the co-benefits of climate mitigation for global air quality

Environmental Research Letters, Vol. 11, No. 12. (01 December 2016), 124013,


We present a model comparison study that combines multiple integrated assessment models with a reduced-form global air quality model to assess the potential co-benefits of global climate mitigation policies in relation to the World Health Organization (WHO) goals on air quality and health. We include in our assessment, a range of alternative assumptions on the implementation of current and planned pollution control policies. The resulting air pollution emission ranges significantly extend those in the Representative Concentration Pathways. Climate mitigation policies complement ...


Annex III: glossary

In Climate Change 2013: the physical science basis - Contribution of Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2013), pp. 1447-1465


[Excerpt] This glossary defines some specific terms as the Lead Authors intend them to be interpreted in the context of this report. Red, italicized words indicate that the term is defined in the Glossary. [\n] [...] ...


No saturation in the accumulation of alien species worldwide

Nature Communications, Vol. 8 (15 February 2017), 14435,


Although research on human-mediated exchanges of species has substantially intensified during the last centuries, we know surprisingly little about temporal dynamics of alien species accumulations across regions and taxa. Using a novel database of 45,813 first records of 16,926 established alien species, we show that the annual rate of first records worldwide has increased during the last 200 years, with 37% of all first records reported most recently (1970–2014). Inter-continental and inter-taxonomic variation can be largely attributed to the diaspora of ...


Forest resilience and tipping points at different spatio-temporal scales: approaches and challenges

Journal of Ecology, Vol. 103, No. 1. (January 2015), pp. 5-15,


[::] Anthropogenic global change compromises forest resilience, with profound impacts to ecosystem functions and services. This synthesis paper reflects on the current understanding of forest resilience and potential tipping points under environmental change and explores challenges to assessing responses using experiments, observations and models. [::] Forests are changing over a wide range of spatio-temporal scales, but it is often unclear whether these changes reduce resilience or represent a tipping point. Tipping points may arise from interactions across scales, as processes such as ...


Communication: science censorship is a global issue

Nature, Vol. 542, No. 7640. (08 February 2017), pp. 165-165,


[Excerpt] [...] Regrettably, suppression of public scientific information is already the norm, or is being attempted, in many countries [...]. We fear that such gagging orders could encourage senior bureaucrats to use funding as a tool with which to rein in academic freedoms. [...] The response of scientists to this type of coercion has been to share scientific information widely and openly using such legal means as social media to defend facts and transparency [...] ...


Ecological responses to recent climate change

Nature, Vol. 416 (2002), pp. 389-395,


There is now ample evidence of the ecological impacts of recent climate change, from polar terrestrial to tropical marine environments. The responses of both flora and fauna span an array of ecosystems and organizational hierarchies, from the species to the community levels. Despite continued uncertainty as to community and ecosystem trajectories under global change, our review exposes a coherent pattern of ecological change across systems. Although we are only at an early stage in the projected trends of global warming, ecological ...


Global Forest Resources Assessment 2015 (Desk Reference)



This document is one of three main publications of the Global Forest Resources Assessment 2015 (FRA 2015). It contains data for most of the quantitative and Boolean variables collected through FRA 2015. For a set of summary analyses the reader is encouraged to see the publication How are the world ́s forests changing? It provides a picture of the current state of the world's forest resources and of the main changes that have occurred over the last 25 years. The third publication ...


A new global burned area product for climate assessment of fire impacts

Global Ecology and Biogeography, Vol. 25, No. 5. (May 2016), pp. 619-629,


[Aim] This paper presents a new global burned area (BA) product developed within the framework of the European Space Agency's Climate Change Initiative (CCI) programme, along with a first assessment of its potentials for atmospheric and carbon cycle modelling. [Innovation] Methods are presented for generating a new global BA product, along with a comparison with existing BA products, in terms of BA extension, fire size and shapes and emissions derived from biomass burnings. [Main conclusions] Three years of the global BA product were ...


Climate-induced forest dieback: an escalating global phenomenon?

Unasylva, Vol. 60, No. 231-232. (2009), pp. 43-49


Forests, which today cover 30 percent of the world’s land surface (FAO, 2006), are being rapidly and directly transformed in many areas by the impacts of expanding human populations and economies. Less evident are the pervasive effects of ongoing climatic changes on the condition and status of forests around the world. Recent examples of drought and heat-related forest stress and dieback (defined here as tree mortality noticeably above usual mortality levels) are being documented from all forested continents, making it possible ...


Constraints on global fire activity vary across a resource gradient

Ecology, Vol. 92, No. 1. (2011), pp. 121-132,


We provide an empirical, global test of the varying constraints hypothesis, which predicts systematic heterogeneity in the relative importance of biomass resources to burn and atmospheric conditions suitable to burning (weather/climate) across a spatial gradient of long-term resource availability. Analyses were based on relationships between monthly global wildfire activity, soil moisture, and mid-tropospheric circulation data from 2001 to 2007, synthesized across a gradient of long-term averages in resources (net primary productivity), annual temperature, and terrestrial biome.We demonstrate support for the varying ...


Climate Change 2007: the physical science basis - Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change



[Excerpt: Preface] This Working Group I contribution to the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) provides a comprehensive assessment of the physical science of climate change and continues to broaden the view of that science, following on from previous Working Group I assessments. The results presented here are based on the extensive scientific literature that has become available since completion of the IPCC’s Third Assessment Report, together with expanded data sets, new analyses, and more sophisticated climate modelling capabilities. [\n] This report has been prepared in accordance with rules and procedures ...


The global methane budget 2000–2012

Earth System Science Data, Vol. 8, No. 2. (12 December 2016), pp. 697-751,


The global methane (CH4) budget is becoming an increasingly important component for managing realistic pathways to mitigate climate change. This relevance, due to a shorter atmospheric lifetime and a stronger warming potential than carbon dioxide, is challenged by the still unexplained changes of atmospheric CH4 over the past decade. Emissions and concentrations of CH4 are continuing to increase, making CH4 the second most important human-induced greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide. Two major difficulties in reducing uncertainties come from the large variety ...


GISCO - The Geographic Information System of the COmmission



[Excerpt] [What is GISCO?] Within Eurostat, GISCO is responsible for meeting the European Commission's geographical information needs at 3 levels: the European Union, its member countries, and its regions. [What does GISCO do?] In addition to creating statistical and other thematic maps, GISCO manages a database of geographical information, and provides related services to the Commission. Its database contains core geographical data covering the whole of Europe, such as administrative boundaries, and thematic geospatial information, such as population grid data. Some ...


Meeting the Sustainable Development Goals leads to lower world population growth

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 113, No. 50. (13 December 2016), pp. 14294-14299,


[Significance] The future of world population growth matters for future human well-being and interactions with the natural environment. We show the extent to which world population growth could be reduced by fully implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) whose health and education targets have direct and indirect consequences on future mortality and fertility trends. Although this assessment is consistent with the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways scenarios used in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change context, it is inconsistent with the prediction range of ...


The human dimension of fire regimes on Earth

Journal of Biogeography, Vol. 38, No. 12. (2011), pp. 2223-2236,


Humans and their ancestors are unique in being a fire-making species, but ‘natural’ (i.e. independent of humans) fires have an ancient, geological history on Earth. Natural fires have influenced biological evolution and global biogeochemical cycles, making fire integral to the functioning of some biomes. Globally, debate rages about the impact on ecosystems of prehistoric human-set fires, with views ranging from catastrophic to negligible. Understanding of the diversity of human fire regimes on Earth in the past, present and future remains rudimentary. ...


Analysis of daily, monthly, and annual burned area using the fourth-generation global fire emissions database (GFED4)

Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, Vol. 118, No. 1. (2013), pp. 317-328,


We describe the fourth generation of the Global Fire Emissions Database (GFED4) burned area data set, which provides global monthly burned area at 0.25°  spatial resolution from mid-1995 through the present and daily burned area for the time series extending back to August 2000. We produced the full data set by combining 500 m MODIS burned area maps with active fire data from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Visible and Infrared Scanner (VIRS) and the Along-Track Scanning Radiometer (ATSR) family of ...


Driving forces of global wildfires over the past millennium and the forthcoming century

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 107, No. 45. (09 November 2010), pp. 19167-19170,


Recent bursts in the incidence of large wildfires worldwide have raised concerns about the influence climate change and humans might have on future fire activity. Comparatively little is known, however, about the relative importance of these factors in shaping global fire history. Here we use fire and climate modeling, combined with land cover and population estimates, to gain a better understanding of the forces driving global fire trends. Our model successfully reproduces global fire activity record over the last millennium and ...


Darcy's law predicts widespread forest mortality under climate warming

Nature Climate Change, Vol. 5, No. 7. (18 May 2015), pp. 669-672,


Nature Climate Change | Letter Print Share/bookmark Darcy's law predicts widespread forest mortality under climate warming Nathan G. McDowell & Craig D. Allen Affiliations Contributions Corresponding author Nature Climate Change 5, 669–672 (2015) Received 23 July 2014 Accepted 07 April ...


Magnitude of extreme heat waves in present climate and their projection in a warming world

J. Geophys. Res. Atmos., Vol. 119, No. 22. (27 November 2014), pp. 12,500-12,512,


An extreme heat wave occurred in Russia in the summer of 2010. It had serious impacts on humans and natural ecosystems, it was the strongest recorded globally in recent decades and exceeded in amplitude and spatial extent the previous hottest European summer in 2003. Earlier studies have not succeeded in comparing the magnitude of heat waves across continents and in time. This study introduces a new Heat Wave Magnitude Index that can be compared over space and time. The index is ...


Climate, CO2 and human population impacts on global wildfire emissions

Biogeosciences, Vol. 13, No. 1. (15 January 2016), pp. 267-282,


Wildfires are by far the largest contributor to global biomass burning and constitute a large global source of atmospheric traces gases and aerosols. Such emissions have a considerable impact on air quality and constitute a major health hazard. Biomass burning also influences the radiative balance of the atmosphere and is thus not only of societal, but also of significant scientific interest. There is a common perception that climate change will lead to an increase in emissions as hot and dry weather ...


Relationships between human population density and burned area at continental and global scales

PLoS ONE, Vol. 8, No. 12. (16 December 2013), e81188,


We explore the large spatial variation in the relationship between population density and burned area, using continental-scale Geographically Weighted Regression (GWR) based on 13 years of satellite-derived burned area maps from the global fire emissions database (GFED) and the human population density from the gridded population of the world (GPW 2005). Significant relationships are observed over 51.5% of the global land area, and the area affected varies from continent to continent: population density has a significant impact on fire over most ...


Global and regional analysis of climate and human drivers of wildfire

Science of The Total Environment, Vol. 409, No. 18. (August 2011), pp. 3472-3481,


Identifying and quantifying the statistical relationships between climate and anthropogenic drivers of fire is important for global biophysical modelling of wildfire and other Earth system processes. This study used regression tree and random forest analysis on global data for various climatic and human variables to establish their relative importance. The main interactions found at the global scale also apply regionally: greatest wildfire burned area is associated with high temperature (> 28 °C), intermediate annual rainfall (350–1100 mm), and prolonged dry periods (which varies by ...


Defining pyromes and global syndromes of fire regimes

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 110, No. 16. (16 April 2013), pp. 6442-6447,


Fire is a ubiquitous component of the Earth system that is poorly understood. To date, a global-scale understanding of fire is largely limited to the annual extent of burning as detected by satellites. This is problematic because fire is multidimensional, and focus on a single metric belies its complexity and importance within the Earth system. To address this, we identified five key characteristics of fire regimes—size, frequency, intensity, season, and extent—and combined new and existing global datasets to represent each. We ...


Climatologies at high resolution for the earth's land surface areas

(21 Sep 2016)


High resolution information of climatic conditions is essential to many application in environmental sciences. Here we present the CHELSA algorithm to downscale temperature and precipitation estimates from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecast (ECMWF) climatic reanalysis interim (ERA-Interim) to a high resolution of 30 arc sec. The algorithm for temperature is based on a statistical downscaling of atmospheric temperature from the ERA-Interim climatic reanalysis. The precipitation algorithm incorporates orographic predictors such as wind fields, valley exposition, and boundary layer height, ...


CHELSA climatologies at high resolution for the earth's land surface areas (Version 1.1)



CHELSA_v1.1 ( is a high resolution (30 arc sec, ~1 km) climate data set for the earth land surface areas. It includes monthly and annual mean temperature and precipitation patterns as well as derived bioclimatic and interannual parameters for the time period 1979-2013. CHELSA_v1.1 is based on a quasi-mechanistical statistical downscaling of the ERA interim global circulation model ( with a GPCC ( and GHCN ( bias correction. ...


The sensitivity of global wildfires to simulated past, present, and future lightning frequency

Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, Vol. 119, No. 3. (March 2014), pp. 312-322,


In this study, components of the Max Planck Institute Earth System Model were used to explore how changes in lightning induced by climate change alter wildfire activity. To investigate how climate change alters global flash frequency, simulations with the atmospheric general circulation model ECHAM6 were performed for the time periods preindustrial, present-day, and three future scenarios. The effect of changes in lightning activity on fire occurrence was derived from simulations with the land surface vegetation model JSBACH. Global cloud-to-ground lightning activity ...


Positive biodiversity-productivity relationship predominant in global forests

Science, Vol. 354, No. 6309. (14 October 2016), aaf8957,


[Abstract] The biodiversity-productivity relationship (BPR) is foundational to our understanding of the global extinction crisis and its impacts on ecosystem functioning. Understanding BPR is critical for the accurate valuation and effective conservation of biodiversity. Using ground-sourced data from 777,126 permanent plots, spanning 44 countries and most terrestrial biomes, we reveal a globally consistent positive concave-down BPR, showing that continued biodiversity loss would result in an accelerating decline in forest productivity worldwide. The value of biodiversity in maintaining commercial forest productivity alone—US$166 billion ...


Allowable CO2 emissions based on regional and impact-related climate targets

Nature, Vol. 529, No. 7587. (20 January 2016), pp. 477-483,


Targets for reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide are related to regional changes in climate extremes rather than to changes in global mean temperature, in order to convey their urgency better to individual countries. ...


An Anthropocene map of genetic diversity

Science, Vol. 353, No. 6307. (29 September 2016), pp. 1532-1535,


The Anthropocene is witnessing a loss of biodiversity, with well-documented declines in the diversity of ecosystems and species. For intraspecific genetic diversity, however, we lack even basic knowledge on its global distribution. We georeferenced 92,801 mitochondrial sequences for >4500 species of terrestrial mammals and amphibians, and found that genetic diversity is 27% higher in the tropics than in nontropical regions. Overall, habitats that are more affected by humans hold less genetic diversity than wilder regions, although results for mammals are sensitive ...


The maximum climate ambition needs a firm research backing

Nature, Vol. 537, No. 7622. (28 September 2016), pp. 585-586,


We need to know what the 1.5 °C warming target will involve — even if we don’t reach it. [Excerpt] [...] The 2015 Paris climate agreement commits governments to keeping average global surface temperatures to between 1.5 °C and 2 °C above the preindustrial level. But warming has already passed the 1-degree mark, and some estimates suggest that even if current commitments are fully implemented, they would allow temperatures to rise nearly 3 °C. If the 2-degree goal seems implausible, given current politics, 1.5 °C is ...


Global trends in satellite-based emergency mapping

Science, Vol. 353, No. 6296. (14 July 2016), pp. 247-252,


Over the past 15 years, scientists and disaster responders have increasingly used satellite-based Earth observations for global rapid assessment of disaster situations. We review global trends in satellite rapid response and emergency mapping from 2000 to 2014, analyzing more than 1000 incidents in which satellite monitoring was used for assessing major disaster situations. We provide a synthesis of spatial patterns and temporal trends in global satellite emergency mapping efforts and show that satellite-based emergency mapping is most intensively deployed in Asia ...


Global fire size distribution is driven by human impact and climate

Global Ecology and Biogeography, Vol. 24, No. 1. (January 2015), pp. 77-86,


[Aim] In order to understand fire's impacts on vegetation dynamics, it is crucial that the distribution of fire sizes be known. We approached this distribution using a power-law distribution, which derives from self-organized criticality theory (SOC). We compute the global spatial variation in the power-law exponent and determine the main factors that explain its spatial distribution. [Location] Global, at 2° grid resolution. [Methods] We use satellite-derived MODIS burned-area data (MCD45) to obtain global individual fire size data for 2002–2010, grouped together for each 2° grid. A ...


A global review of remote sensing of live fuel moisture content for fire danger assessment: moving towards operational products

Remote Sensing of Environment, Vol. 136 (September 2013), pp. 455-468,


[Highlights] [::] We review satellite LFMC products and their operational use for fire assessment. [::] The literature is dominated by statistical and physical model-based methods. [::] Statistical methods are site-specific. [::] The parameterization of physical models is complex. [::] Challenges: quantifying estimation errors and linking LFMC to fire behavior/risk. [Abstract] One of the primary variables affecting ignition and spread of wildfire is fuel moisture content (FMC). Live FMC (LFMC) is responsive to long term climate and plant adaptations to drought, requiring remote sensing for monitoring of spatial and ...


Recent advances and remaining uncertainties in resolving past and future climate effects on global fire activity

Current Climate Change Reports, Vol. 2, No. 1. (2016), pp. 1-14,


Fire is an integral component of the Earth system that will critically affect how terrestrial carbon budgets and living systems respond to climate change. Paleo and observational records document robust positive relationships between fire activity and aridity in many parts of the world on interannual to millennial timescales. Observed increases in fire activity and aridity in many areas over the past several decades motivate curiosity as to the degree to which anthropogenic climate change will alter global fire regimes and subsequently ...


The state of the world's forest genetic resources



[Excerpt: Executive summary] Forests and trees enhance and protect landscapes, ecosystems and production systems. They provide goods and services which are essential to the survival and well-being of all humanity. Forest genetic resources (FGR) are the heritable materials maintained within and among tree and other woody plant species that are of actual or potential economic, environmental, scientific or societal value. FGR are essential for the adaptation and evolutionary processes of forests and trees as well as for improving their productivity. [\n] The world’s current population of 7.2 billion ...


Ecology: more is less

Nature, Vol. 537, No. 7618. (31 August 2016), pp. 42-42,


[Excerpt] Plants compete for the same resources, such as nutrients, light and water. Because these resources are often limited, the coexistence of plant species requires the creation of trade-offs in resource use. In this issue, Harpole et al. report that increasing a limited nutrient in grassland can eliminate these potential trade-offs, reducing overall species diversity (W. S. Harpole et al. Nature 537, 93–96; 2016). [\n] The authors considered 45 grassland sites across 6 continents, and measured species diversity in response to various ...


The International Plant Sentinel Network: a tool for regional and national plant protection organizations

EPPO Bulletin, Vol. 46, No. 1. (April 2016), pp. 156-162,


[Excerpt:Introduction] A 2011 global survey of botanic gardens and arboreta, which included 204 respondents from 146 institutes, revealed that the botanic garden community has the potential to play a significant role in safeguarding plant health. However, responding institutes cited a lack of available training, resources and coordination to support any such work (Kramer & Hird 2011). Since its launch in November 2013, the International Plant Sentinel Network (IPSN) has been working to provide this support and illustrate the usefulness of such a ...


A climate-based model to predict potential treeline position around the globe

Alpine Botany, Vol. 124, No. 1. (2014), pp. 1-12,


In situ temperature measurements revealed that the position of the high-elevation treeline is associated with a minimum seasonal mean air temperature within a temperature-defined minimum season length across latitudes. Here, we build upon this experience and present the results of a global statistical analysis and a predictive model for low temperature treeline positions. We identified 376 natural treelines from satellite images across the globe, and searched for their closest climatic proxies using a climate database. The analysis included a snow and ...


A horizon scan of global conservation issues for 2016

Trends in Ecology & Evolution, Vol. 31, No. 1. (January 2016), pp. 44-53,


This paper presents the results of our seventh annual horizon scan, in which we aimed to identify issues that could have substantial effects on global biological diversity in the future, but are not currently widely well known or understood within the conservation community. Fifteen issues were identified by a team that included researchers, practitioners, professional horizon scanners, and journalists. The topics include use of managed bees as transporters of biological control agents, artificial superintelligence, electric pulse trawling, testosterone in the aquatic ...


Sixteen years of change in the global terrestrial human footprint and implications for biodiversity conservation

Nature Communications, Vol. 7 (23 August 2016), 12558,


Human pressures on the environment are changing spatially and temporally, with profound implications for the planet’s biodiversity and human economies. Here we use recently available data on infrastructure, land cover and human access into natural areas to construct a globally standardized measure of the cumulative human footprint on the terrestrial environment at 1 km2 resolution from 1993 to 2009. We note that while the human population has increased by 23% and the world economy has grown 153%, the human footprint has increased by just 9%. Still, 75% ...


Define the Anthropocene in terms of the whole Earth

Nature, Vol. 536, No. 7616. (17 August 2016), pp. 251-251,


Researchers must consider human impacts on entire Earth systems and not get trapped in discipline-specific definitions, says Clive Hamilton. [Excerpt] The Anthropocene was conceived by Earth-system scientists to capture the very recent rupture in Earth’s history arising from the impact of human activity on the Earth system as a whole. Read that again. Take special note of the phrases ‘very recent rupture’ and ‘the Earth system as a whole’. Understanding the Anthropocene, and what humanity now confronts, depends on a firm grasp of ...


The potential predictability of fire danger provided by numerical weather prediction

Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology (5 August 2016),


A global fire danger rating system driven by atmospheric model forcing has been developed with the aim of providing early warning information to civil protection authorities. The daily predictions of fire danger conditions are based on the US Forest Service National Fire Danger Rating System (NFDRS), the Canadian forest service Fire Weather Index Rating System (FWI) and the Australian McArthur (MARK-5) rating systems. Weather forcings are provided in real time by the European Centre for Medium range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) forecasting ...


Estimating watershed degradation over the last century and its impact on water-treatment costs for the world’s large cities

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 113, No. 32. (09 August 2016), pp. 9117-9122,


[Significance] Urban water-treatment costs depend on the water quality at the city’s source, which in turn depends on the land use in the source watersheds. Here, we show that globally urban source watershed degradation is widespread, with 9 in 10 cities losing significant amounts of natural land cover in their source watersheds to agriculture and development. This watershed degradation has impacted the cost of water treatment for about one in three large cities globally, increasing those costs by about half. This increase ...

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