Reviews of Geophysics

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Observation-based and modelling studies have identified the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East (EMME) region as a prominent climate change hotspot. While several initiatives have addressed the impacts of climate change in parts of the EMME, here we present an updated assessment, covering a wide range of timescales, phenomena and future pathways. Our assessment is based on a revised analysis of recent observations and projections and an extensive overview of the recent scientific literature on the causes and effects of regional climate change. Greenhouse gas emissions in the EMME are growing rapidly, surpassing those of the European Union, hence contributing significantly to climate change. Over the past half-century and especially during recent decades, the EMME has warmed significantly faster than other inhabited regions. At the same time, changes in the hydrological cycle have become evident. The observed recent temperature increase of about 0.45°C per decade is projected to continue, although strong global greenhouse gas emission reductions could moderate this trend. In addition to projected changes in mean climate conditions, we call attention to extreme weather events with potentially disruptive societal impacts. These include the strongly increasing severity and duration of heatwaves, droughts and dust storms, as well as torrential rain events that can trigger flash floods. Our review is complemented by a discussion of atmospheric pollution and land-use change in the region, including urbanization, desertification and forest fires. Finally, we identify sectors that may be critically affected and formulate adaptation and research recommendations towards greater resilience of the EMME to climate change.
 
Article
Global seismographic networks emerged during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, facilitated by seminal international developments in theory, technology, instrumentation, and data exchange. The mid- to late-20th century saw the creation of the World-Wide Standardized Seismographic Network (WWSSN; 1961) and International Deployment of Accelerometers (IDA; 1976), which advanced global geographic coverage as seismometer bandwidth increased greatly allowing for the recording of the Earth’s principal seismic spectrum. The modern era of global observations and rapid data access began during the 1980s, and notably included the inception of the GEOSCOPE initiative (1982) and Global Seismographic Network (GSN; 1988). Through continual improvements, GEOSCOPE and the GSN have realized near-real time recording of ground motion with state-of-art data quality, dynamic range, and timing precision to encompass 180 seismic stations, many in very remote locations. Data from global seismographic networks are increasingly integrated with other geophysical data (e.g., space geodesy, infrasound and interferometric synthetic aperture radar; InSAR). Globally distributed seismic data are critical to resolving crust, mantle, and core structure; illuminating features of the plate tectonic and mantle convection system; rapid characterization of earthquakes; identification of potential tsunamis; global nuclear test verification; and provide sensitive proxies for environmental changes. As the global geosciences community continue to advance understanding of Earth structure and processes controlling elastic wave propagation, global seismographic network infrastructure offers a springboard to realize increasingly multi-instrument geophysical observatories. Here, we review the historical, scientific, and monitoring heritage of global seismographic networks, summarize key discoveries, and discuss future associated opportunities for Earth science.
 
Article
Recent wildfire outbreaks around the world have prompted concern that climate change is increasing fire incidence, threatening human livelihood and biodiversity, and perpetuating climate change. Here, we review current understanding of the impacts of climate change on fire weather (weather conditions conducive to the ignition and spread of wildfires) and the consequences for regional fire activity as mediated by a range of other bioclimatic factors (including vegetation biogeography, productivity and lightning) and human factors (including ignition, suppression, and land use). Through supplemental analyses, we present a stocktake of regional trends in fire weather and burned area (BA) during recent decades, and we examine how fire activity relates to its bioclimatic and human drivers. Fire weather controls the annual timing of fires in most world regions and also drives inter‐annual variability in BA in the Mediterranean, the Pacific US and high latitude forests. Increases in the frequency and extremity of fire weather have been globally pervasive due to climate change during 1979–2019, meaning that landscapes are primed to burn more frequently. Correspondingly, increases in BA of ∼50% or higher have been seen in some extratropical forest ecoregions including in the Pacific US and high‐latitude forests during 2001–2019, though interannual variability remains large in these regions. Nonetheless, other bioclimatic and human factors can override the relationship between BA and fire weather. For example, BA in savannahs relates more strongly to patterns of fuel production or to the fragmentation of naturally fire‐prone landscapes by agriculture. Similarly, BA trends in tropical forests relate more strongly to deforestation rates and forest degradation than to changing fire weather. Overall, BA has reduced by 27% globally in the past two decades, due in large part to a decline in BA in African savannahs. According to climate models, the prevalence and extremity of fire weather has already emerged beyond its pre‐industrial variability in the Mediterranean due to climate change, and emergence will become increasingly widespread at additional levels of warming. Moreover, several of the major wildfires experienced in recent years, including the Australian bushfires of 2019/2020, have occurred amidst fire weather conditions that were considerably more likely due to climate change. Current fire models incompletely reproduce the observed spatial patterns of BA based on their existing representations of the relationships between fire and its bioclimatic and human controls, and historical trends in BA also vary considerably across models. Advances in the observation of fire and understanding of its controlling factors are supporting the addition or optimization of a range of processes in models. Overall, climate change is exerting a pervasive upwards pressure on fire globally by increasing the frequency and intensity of fire weather, and this upwards pressure will escalate with each increment of global warming. Improvements to fire models and a better understanding of the interactions between climate, climate extremes, humans and fire are required to predict future fire activity and to mitigate against its consequences.
 
Article
Convergent plate boundaries are key sites for continental crustal formation and recycling. Quantifying the evolution of crustal thickness and paleoelevation along ancient convergent margins represents a major goal in orogenic system analyses. Chemical and in some cases isotopic compositions of igneous rocks formed in modern supra‐subduction arcs and collisional belts are sensitive to Moho depths at the location of magmatism, implying that igneous suites from fossil orogens carry information about crustal thickness from the time they formed. Several whole‐rock chemical parameters correlate with crustal thickness, some of which were calibrated to serve as “mohometers,” that is, quantitative proxies of paleo‐Moho depths. Based on mineral‐melt partition coefficients, this concept has been extended to detrital zircons, such that combined chemical and geochronological information extracted from these minerals allows us to reconstruct the crustal thickness evolution using the detrital archive. We discuss here the mohometric potential of a variety of chemical and isotopic parameters and show that their combined usage improves paleocrustal thickness estimates. Using a MATLAB® app developed for the underlying computations, we present examples from the modern and the deeper time geologic record to illustrate the promises and pitfalls of the technique. Since arcs are in isostatic equilibrium, mohometers are useful in reconstructing orogenic paleoelevation as well. Our analysis suggests that many global‐scale correlations between magma composition and crustal thickness used in mohometry originate in the sub‐arc mantle; additional effects resulting from intracrustal igneous differentiation depend on the compatible or incompatible behavior of the involved parameters.
 
Article
Bank retreat plays a fundamental role in fluvial and estuarine dynamics. It affects the cross-sectional evolution of channels, provides a source of sediment, and modulates the diversity of habitats. Understanding and predicting the geomorphological response of fluvial/tidal channels to external driving forces underpins the robust management of water courses and the protection of wetlands. Here we review bank retreat with respect to mechanisms, observations, and modelling, covering both rivers and (previously neglected) tidal channels. Our review encompasses both experimental and in situ observations of failure mechanisms and bank retreat rates, modeling approaches and numerical methods to simulate bank erosion. We identify that external forces, despite their distinct characteristics, may have similar effects on bank stability in both river and tidal channels, leading to the same failure mode. We review existing data and empirical functions for bank retreat rate across a range of spatial and temporal scales, and highlight the necessity to account for both hydraulic and geotechnical controls. Based on time scale considerations, we propose a new hierarchy of modelling styles that accounts for bank retreat, leading to clear recommendations for enhancing existing modelling approaches. Finally, we discuss systematically the feedbacks between bank retreat and morphodynamics, and suggest that to move this agenda forward will require a better understanding of multifactor-driven bank erosion across a range of temporal scales, with particular attention to the differences (and similarities) between riverine and estuarine environments, and the role of feedbacks exerted by the collapsed bank soil.
 
Article
The discipline of seismology is based on observations of ground motion that are inherently undersampled in space and time. Our basic understanding of earthquake processes and our ability to resolve 4D Earth structure are fundamentally limited by data volume. Today, Big Data Seismology is an emergent revolution involving the use of large, data‐dense inquiries that is providing new opportunities to make fundamental advances in these areas. This article reviews recent scientific advances enabled by Big Data Seismology through the context of three major drivers: the development of new data‐dense sensor systems, improvements in computing, and the development of new types of techniques and algorithms. Each driver is explored in the context of both global and exploration seismology, alongside collaborative opportunities that combine the features of long‐duration data collections (common to global seismology) with dense networks of sensors (common to exploration seismology). The review explores some of the unique challenges and opportunities that Big Data Seismology presents, drawing on parallels from other fields facing similar issues. Finally, recent scientific findings enabled by dense seismic data sets are discussed, and we assess the opportunities for significant advances made possible with Big Data Seismology. This review is designed to be a primer for seismologists who are interested in getting up‐to‐speed with how the Big Data revolution is advancing the field of seismology.
 
Article
Glaciers play a crucial role in the Earth System: they are important water suppliers to lower‐lying areas during hot and dry periods, and they are major contributors to the observed present‐day sea‐level rise. Glaciers can also act as a source of natural hazards and have a major touristic value. Given their societal importance, there is large scientific interest in better understanding and accurately simulating the temporal evolution of glaciers, both in the past and in the future. Here, we give an overview of the state of the art of simulating the evolution of individual glaciers over decadal to centennial time scales with ice‐dynamical models. We hereby highlight recent advances in the field and emphasize how these go hand‐in‐hand with an increasing availability of on‐site and remotely sensed observations. We also focus on the gap between simplified studies that use parameterizations, typically used for regional and global projections, and detailed assessments for individual glaciers, and explain how recent advances now allow including ice dynamics when modeling glaciers at larger spatial scales. Finally, we provide concrete recommendations concerning the steps and factors to be considered when modeling the evolution of glaciers. We suggest paying particular attention to the model initialization, analyzing how related uncertainties in model input influence the modeled glacier evolution and strongly recommend evaluating the simulated glacier evolution against independent data.
 
Article
Atmospheric ice‐nucleating particles (INPs) play a critical role in cloud freezing processes, with important implications for precipitation formation and cloud radiative properties, and thus for weather and climate. Additionally, INP emissions respond to changes in the Earth System and climate, for example, desertification, agricultural practices, and fires, and therefore may introduce climate feedbacks that are still poorly understood. As knowledge of the nature and origins of INPs has advanced, regional and global weather, climate, and Earth system models have increasingly begun to link cloud ice processes to model‐simulated aerosol abundance and types. While these recent advances are exciting, coupling cloud processes to simulated aerosol also makes cloud physics simulations increasingly susceptible to uncertainties in simulation of INPs, which are still poorly constrained by observations. Advancing the predictability of INP abundance with reasonable spatiotemporal resolution will require an increased focus on research that bridges the measurement and modeling communities. This review summarizes the current state of knowledge and identifies critical knowledge gaps from both observational and modeling perspectives. In particular, we emphasize needs in two key areas: (a) observational closure between aerosol and INP quantities and (b) skillful simulation of INPs within existing weather and climate models. We discuss the state of knowledge on various INP particle types and briefly discuss the challenges faced in understanding the cloud impacts of INPs with present‐day models. Finally, we identify priority research directions for both observations and models to improve understanding of INPs and their interactions with the Earth System.
 
Journal Impact Factor and rank in Geochemistry and Geophysics category during the past 5 years (data from Journal Citation Reports).
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Reviews of Geophysics is the top‐rated journal in Geochemistry and Geophysics (ISI Web of Knowledge category) reflecting the many excellent contributions we received. It is an important milestone achieved with the reviewers' investment of time and effort. Their expertise ensures that the papers published in this journal meet the standards that the research community expects. We sincerely appreciate the time the reviewers spent reading and commenting on manuscripts, and we are very grateful for their willingness and readiness to serve in this role.
 
Article
Fossil fuel combustion, land use change and other human activities have increased the atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) abundance by about 50% since the beginning of the industrial age. The atmospheric CO2 growth rates would have been much larger if natural sinks in the land biosphere and ocean had not removed over half of this anthropogenic CO2. As these CO2 emissions grew, uptake by the ocean increased in response to increases in atmospheric CO2 partial pressure (pCO2). On land, gross primary production also increased, but the dynamics of other key aspects of the land carbon cycle varied regionally. Over the past three decades, CO2 uptake by intact tropical humid forests declined, but these changes are offset by increased uptake across mid‐ and high‐latitudes. While there have been substantial improvements in our ability to study the carbon cycle, measurement and modeling gaps still limit our understanding of the processes driving its evolution. Continued ship‐based observations combined with expanded deployments of autonomous platforms are needed to quantify ocean‐atmosphere fluxes and interior ocean carbon storage on policy‐relevant spatial and temporal scales. There is also an urgent need for more comprehensive measurements of stocks, fluxes and atmospheric CO2 in humid tropical forests and across the Arctic and boreal regions, which are experiencing rapid change. Here, we review our understanding of the atmosphere, ocean, and land carbon cycles and their interactions, identify emerging measurement and modeling capabilities and gaps and the need for a sustainable, operational framework to ensure a scientific basis for carbon management.
 
Article
Because quartz veins are common in fault zones exhumed from earthquake nucleation temperatures (150°C–350°C), quartz cementation may be an important mechanism of strength recovery between earthquakes. This interpretation requires that cementation occurs within a single interseismic period. We review slip‐related processes that have been argued to allow rapid quartz precipitation in faults, including: advection of silica‐saturated fluids, coseismic pore‐fluid pressure drops, frictional heating, dissolution‐precipitation creep, precipitation of amorphous phases, and variations in fluid and mineral‐surface chemistry. We assess the rate and magnitude of quartz growth that may result from each of the examined mechanisms. We find limitations to the kinetics and mass balance of silica precipitation that emphasize two end‐member regimes. First, the mechanisms we explore, given current kinetic constraints, cannot explain mesoscale fault‐fracture vein networks developing, even incrementally, on interseismic timescales. On the other hand, some mechanisms appear capable, isolated or in combination, of cementing micrometer‐to‐millimeter thick principal slip surfaces in days to years. This does not explain extensive vein networks in fault damage zones, but allows the involvement of quartz cements in fault healing. These end‐members lead us to hypothesize that high flux scenarios, although more important for voluminous hydrothermal mineralization, may be of subsidiary importance to local, diffusive mass transport in low fluid‐flux faults when discussing the mechanical implications of quartz cements. A renewed emphasis on the controls on quartz cementation rates in fault zones will, however, be integral to developing a more complete understanding of strength recovery following earthquake rupture.
 
Article
Quantitative predictions of natural and induced phenomena in fractured rock is one of the great challenges in the Earth and Energy Sciences with far‐reaching economic and environmental impacts. Fractures occupy a very small volume of a subsurface formation but often dominate fluid flow, solute transport and mechanical deformation behavior. They play a central role in CO2 sequestration, nuclear waste disposal, hydrogen storage, geothermal energy production, nuclear nonproliferation, and hydrocarbon extraction. These applications require predictions of fracture‐dependent quantities of interest such as CO2 leakage rate, hydrocarbon production, radionuclide plume migration, and seismicity; to be useful, these predictions must account for uncertainty inherent in subsurface systems. Here, we review recent advances in fractured rock research covering field‐ and laboratory‐scale experimentation, numerical simulations, and uncertainty quantification. We discuss how these have greatly improved the fundamental understanding of fractures and one's ability to predict flow and transport in fractured systems. Dedicated field sites provide quantitative measurements of fracture flow that can be used to identify dominant coupled processes and to validate models. Laboratory‐scale experiments fill critical knowledge gaps by providing direct observations and measurements of fracture geometry and flow under controlled conditions that cannot be obtained in the field. Physics‐based simulation of flow and transport provide a bridge in understanding between controlled simple laboratory experiments and the massively complex field‐scale fracture systems. Finally, we review the use of machine learning‐based emulators to rapidly investigate different fracture property scenarios and accelerate physics‐based models by orders of magnitude to enable uncertainty quantification and near real‐time analysis.
 
Article
Salt marshes are highly productive intertidal wetlands providing important ecological services for maintaining coastal biodiversity, buffering against oceanic storms, and acting as efficient carbon sinks. However, about half of these wetlands have been lost globally due to human activities and climate change. Inundated periodically by tidal water, salt marshes are subjected to strong surface water and groundwater interactions, which affect marsh plant growth and biogeochemical exchange with coastal water. This paper reviews the state of knowledge and current approaches to quantifying marsh surface water and groundwater interactions with a focus on porewater flow and associated soil conditions in connection with plant zonation as well as carbon, nutrient, and greenhouse gas fluxes. Porewater flow and solute transport in salt marshes are primarily driven by tides with moderate regulation by rainfall, evapotranspiration and sea level rise. Tidal fluctuations play a key role in plant zonation through alteration of soil aeration and salt transport, and drive the export of significant fluxes of carbon and nutrients to coastal water. Despite recent progress, major knowledge gaps remain. Previous studies focused on flows in creek-perpendicular marsh sections and overlooked multi-scale 3D behaviors. Understanding of marsh ecological-hydrological links under combined influences of different forcing factors and boundary disturbances is lacking. Variations of surface water and groundwater temperatures affect porewater flow, soil conditions and biogeochemical exchanges, but the extent and underlying mechanisms remain unknown. We need to fill these knowledge gaps to advance understanding of salt marshes and thus enhance our ability to protect and restore them.
 
Article
Radiocarbon is an extremely useful carbon cycle tracer and radiometric dating tool. Here, we review the main principles and challenges involved in the use of radiocarbon in paleoceanography. First, we present a conceptual framework in which there are three possible uses of a radiocarbon measurement: (a) to obtain a calendar age interval, or a fossil entity's age; (b) to obtain an estimate of a carbon reservoir's past radiocarbon activity; or (c) to compare the relative radiocarbon activities of two contemporary carbon reservoirs. We discuss the analysis of marine fossil material, the generation of an atmospheric reference curve, and the interpretation of marine radiocarbon “ventilation metrics” in relation to this reference curve. It is emphasized that marine radiocarbon integrates the influences of: changing radiocarbon production; air‐sea gas exchange effects at the sea surface; transport times within the ocean interior; and the mixing of water parcels with different transit times from the sea surface, and different sea‐surface sources. These controls are what make radiocarbon such a powerful paleoceanographic tracer, though the difficulty of disentangling them is what makes marine radiocarbon dating and tracer studies so challenging. We discuss the implementation of radiocarbon in numerical models, and explore the theory linking ocean‐atmosphere partitioning of radiocarbon and CO2. Finally, we review existing records of marine radiocarbon variability over the last ∼25,000 years, which highlight the influence of ocean‐atmosphere carbon exchange on past atmospheric CO2 and climate, and point to emerging opportunities for resolving the global radiocarbon‐ and carbon budgets over the last glacial cycle.
 
Article
Quantifying rates of climate change in mountain regions is of considerable interest, not least because mountains are viewed as climate “hotspots” where change can anticipate or amplify what is occurring elsewhere. Accelerating mountain climate change has extensive environmental impacts, including depletion of snow/ice reserves, critical for the world’s water supply. Whilst the concept of elevation-dependent warming (EDW), whereby warming rates are stratified by elevation, is widely accepted, no consistent EDW profile at the global scale has been identified. Past assessments have also neglected elevation-dependent changes in precipitation. In this comprehensive analysis, both in situ station temperature and precipitation data from mountain regions, and global gridded datasets (observations, reanalyses and model hindcasts) are employed to examine the elevation dependency of temperature and precipitation changes since 1900. In situ observations in paired studies (using adjacent stations) show a tendency towards enhanced warming at higher elevations. However, when all mountain/lowland studies are pooled into two groups, no systematic difference in high vs. low elevation group warming rates is found. Precipitation changes based on station data are inconsistent with no systematic contrast between mountain and lowland precipitation trends. Gridded datasets (CRU, GISTEMP, GPCC, ERA5, CMIP5) show increased warming rates at higher elevations in some regions, but on a global scale there is no universal amplification of warming in mountains. Increases in mountain precipitation are weaker than for low elevations worldwide, meaning reduced elevation-dependency of precipitation, especially in mid-latitudes. Agreement on elevation-dependent changes between gridded datasets is weak for temperature but stronger for precipitation.
 
Article
Forests cover nearly a third of the Earth's land area and exchange mass, momentum, and energy with the atmosphere. Most studies of these exchanges, particularly using numerical models, consider forests whose structure has been heavily simplified. In many landscapes, these simplifications are unrealistic. Inhomogeneous landscapes and unsteady weather conditions generate fluid dynamical features that cause observations to be inaccurately interpreted, biased, or over‐generalized. In Part I, we discuss experimental, theoretical, and numerical progress in the understanding of turbulent exchange over realistic forests. Scalar transport does not necessarily follow the flow in realistic settings, meaning scalar quantities are rarely at equilibrium around patchy forests, and significant scalar fluxes may form in the lee of forested hills. Gaps and patchiness generate significant spatial fluxes that current models and observations neglect. Atmospheric instability increases the distance over which fluxes adjust at forest edges. In deciduous forests, the effects of patchiness differ between seasons; counter intuitively, eddies reach further into leafy canopies (because they are rougher aerodynamically). Air parcel residence times are likely much lower in patchy forests than homogeneous ones, especially around edges. In Part II, we set out practical ways to make numerical models of forest‐atmosphere more realistic, including by accounting for reconfiguration and realistic canopy structure and beginning to include more chemical and physical processes in turbulence resolving models. Future challenges include: (a) customizing numerical models to real study sites, (b) connecting space and time scales, and (c) incorporating a greater range of weather conditions in numerical models.
 
Article
Hematite is a canted antiferromagnet with reddish color that occurs widely on Earth and Mars. Identification and quantification of hematite is conveniently achieved through its magnetic and color properties. Hematite characteristics and content are indispensable ingredients in studies of the iron cycle, paleoenvironmental evolution, paleogeographic reconstructions, and comparative planetology (e.g., Mars). However, the existing magnetic and color reflectance property framework for hematite is based largely on stoichiometric hematite and tends to neglect the effects of cation substitution, which occurs widely in natural hematite and influences the physical properties of hematite. Thus, magnetic parameters for stoichiometric hematite are insufficient for complete analysis of many natural hematite occurrences and can lead to ambiguous geological interpretations. Remagnetization, which occurs pervasively in red beds, is another ticklish problem involving hematite. Understanding red bed remagnetization requires investigation of hematite's formation and remanence recording mechanisms. We elaborate on the influence of cation substitution on the magnetic and color spectral properties of hematite, and on identifying hematite and quantifying its content in soils and sediments. Studies of remagnetization mechanisms are discussed, and we summarize methods to discriminate between primary and secondary remanences carried by hematite in natural samples to aid primary remanence extraction in partially remagnetized red beds. Although there remain unknown properties and unresolved issues that require future work, recognition of the properties of cation‐substituted hematite and remagnetization mechanisms for hematite will aid identification and interpretation of the magnetic signals that it carries, which is environmentally important and responsible for magnetic signals on Earth and Mars.
 
Article
Poleward ocean heat transport is a key process in the earth system. We detail and review the northward Atlantic Water (AW) flow, Arctic Ocean heat transport, and heat loss to the atmosphere since 1900 in relation to sea ice cover. Our synthesis is largely based on a sea ice‐ocean model forced by a reanalysis atmosphere (1900–2018) corroborated by a comprehensive hydrographic database (1950–), AW inflow observations (1996–), and other long‐term time series of sea ice extent (1900–), glacier retreat (1984–), and Barents Sea hydrography (1900–). The Arctic Ocean, including the Nordic and Barents Seas, has warmed since the 1970s. This warming is congruent with increased ocean heat transport and sea ice loss and has contributed to the retreat of marine‐terminating glaciers on Greenland. Heat loss to the atmosphere is largest in the Nordic Seas (60% of total) with large variability linked to the frequency of Cold Air Outbreaks and cyclones in the region, but there is no long‐term statistically significant trend. Heat loss from the Barents Sea (∼30%) and Arctic seas farther north (∼10%) is overall smaller, but exhibit large positive trends. The AW inflow, total heat loss to the atmosphere, and dense outflow have all increased since 1900. These are consistently related through theoretical scaling, but the AW inflow increase is also wind‐driven. The Arctic Ocean CO2 uptake has increased by ∼30% over the last century—consistent with Arctic sea ice loss allowing stronger air‐sea interaction and is ∼8% of the global uptake.
 
Article
Among the great diversity of atmospheric circulation patterns observed throughout the solar system, polar vortices stand out as a nearly ubiquitous planetary‐scale phenomenon. In recent years, there have been significant advances in the observation of planetary polar vortices, culminating in the fascinating discovery of Jupiter's polar vortex clusters during the Juno mission. Alongside these observational advances has been a major effort to understand polar vortex dynamics using theory, idealized and comprehensive numerical models, and laboratory experiments. Here, we review our current knowledge of planetary polar vortices, highlighting both the diversity of their structures, as well as fundamental dynamical similarities. We propose a new convention of vortex classification, which adequately captures all those observed in our solar system, and demonstrates the key role of polar vortices in the global circulation, transport, and climate of all planets. We discuss where knowledge gaps remain, and the observational, experimental, and theoretical advances needed to address them. In particular, as the diversity of both solar system and exoplanetary data increases exponentially, there is now a unique opportunity to unify our understanding of polar vortices under a single dynamical framework.
 
Article
As the largest river basin on Earth, the Amazon is of major importance to the world's climate and water resources. Over the past decades, advances in satellite-based remote sensing (RS) have brought our understanding of its terrestrial water cycle and the associated hydrological processes to a new era. Here, we review major studies and the various techniques using satellite RS in the Amazon. We show how RS played a major role in supporting new research and key findings regarding the Amazon water cycle, and how the region became a laboratory for groundbreaking investigations of new satellite retrievals and analyses. At the basin-scale, the understanding of several hydrological processes was only possible with the advent of RS observations, such as the characterization of "rainfall hotspots" in the Andes-Amazon transition, evapotranspiration rates, and variations of surface waters and groundwater storage. These results strongly contribute to the recent advances of hydrological models and to our new understanding of the Amazon water budget and aquatic environments. In the context of upcoming hydrology-oriented satellite missions, which will offer the opportunity for new synergies and new observations with finer space-time resolution, this review aims to guide future research agenda towards an integrated monitoring and understanding of the Amazon water from space. Integrated multidisciplinary studies, fostered by international collaborations, set up future directions to tackle the great challenges the Amazon is currently facing, from climate change to increased anthropogenic pressure.
 
Article
Tropical hydroclimatic events, characterized by extreme regional rainfall anomalies, were a recurrent feature of marine isotope stages 2–4 and involved some of the most abrupt and dramatic climatic changes in the late Quaternary. These anomalies were pervasive throughout the tropics and resulted from the southward displacement of the Hadley circulation and the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) and its associated convective rainfall, modulated by regional factors. Lake sediments, stalagmites, and offshore marine sediments that integrate inland continental conditions provide a comprehensive record of these changes over the past ∼70,000 yr. Vast areas experienced severe drought while other areas recorded greatly increased rainfall. Within the uncertainties of dating, these tropical rainfall anomalies occurred very close in time (±10²–10³ yr) to the deposition of North Atlantic ice‐rafted debris (IRD) that defines Heinrich events (HEs). The IRD record is a good proxy for the amount and distribution of additional freshwater forcing which was necessary to bring about a drastic reduction in the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) strength during each HE. As a consequence of this reduction in AMOC and an abrupt expansion in the area of sea‐ice, cooling of the North Atlantic and adjacent continents took place, with a rapid atmospheric response involving the southward displacement of the ITCZ and associated rainfall belts. The climatic consequences of this large‐scale change in the Hadley circulation, modulated by regional factors, is clearly recorded throughout the tropics as a series of abrupt and extreme hydroclimatic events. Some of the physical mechanisms that may have played a role in those changes are discussed.
 
Article
Many continental paleoclimate records from the inter-tropical zone show that there were occasional abrupt changes in rainfall across the region that we call “Tropical Hydroclimatic Events.” These extraordinary climate changes occurred throughout the tropics, with excessive rainfall in some areas, while at the same time other regions experienced severe drought. These events resulted from large outflows of freshwater into the North Atlantic. The sudden freshening of the subpolar North Atlantic led to a slow-down or cessation in deepwater formation: the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). This led to a rapid reduction in the northward flux of heat by the ocean in the poleward flowing Gulf Stream current, which in turn led to a reorganization of the atmospheric general circulation, modifying the climate in various parts of the world. The consequences of the large and sudden flux of freshwater to the North Atlantic leading to a collapse of the AMOC caused major rain belts across the tropics to shift southward, but this large-scale atmospheric response had different regional consequences. We provide an overview of these sudden changes in tropical climates around the world and considers some of the physical mechanisms that may have played a role in those changes.
 
Article
The continental crust is unique to the Earth in the solar system, and controversies remain regarding its origin, accretion and reworking of continents. The plate tectonics theory has been significantly challenged in explaining the origin of Archean (especially pre-3.0 Ga) continents as they rarely preserve hallmarks of plate tectonics. In contrast, growing evidence emerges to support oceanic plateau models that better explain characteristics of Archean continents, including the bimodal volcanics and nearly coeval emplacement of tonalite-trondjhemite-granodiorite (TTG) rocks, presence of ∼1600°C komatiites and dominant dome structures, and lack of ultra-high-pressure rocks, paired metamorphic belts and ophiolites. On the other hand, the theory of plate tectonics has been successfully applied to interpret the accretion of continents along subduction zones since the late Archean (3.0–2.5 Ga). During subduction processes, the new mafic crust is generated at the base of continents through partial melting of mantle wedge with the addition of H2O-dominant fluids from subducted oceanic slabs and partial melting of the juvenile mafic crust results in the generation of new felsic crusts. This eventually leads to the outgrowth of continents. Subduction processes also cause softening, thinning, and recycling of continental lithosphere due to the vigorous infiltration of volatile-rich fluids and melts, especially along weak belts/layers, leading to widespread continental reworking and even craton destruction. Reworking of continents also occurs in continental interiors due to either plate boundary processes or plume-lithosphere interactions. The effects of plumes have proven to be less significant and cause lower degrees of lithospheric modification than subduction-induced craton destruction.
 
Literature review on reanalysis in different Earth system compartments. Results are based on keyword search in https://apps.webofknowledge.com on February 26, 2021. Panel (a) shows publication growth rate of individual science domains from 2013 to 2019, relative to the year 2013. Highest growth rates occurred for hydrological research (139%, 316 publications in 2019, keywords “hydro × and reanalysis”), and ecosystem research (130%, 325 publications in 2019, keywords “(ecosystem OR carbon OR vegetation OR biodiversity OR soil) AND reanalysis”). Rates outperform those of total publication output (30%, not shown) and that of “reanalysis” alone (48%, not shown). Panel (b) shows publications associated to “reanalysis” and the “Web of Science Categories”, respectively.
Concept of existing reanalysis approaches relative to earth system compartments and physical (water and energy) and biogeochemical ecosystem cycles (water, energy, nutrients, and carbon). Reanalyzes at process level beyond individual compartments is weak, hence remains a scientific challenge.
Flow chart on creation and valorization of an Earth system reanalysis product, model‐data‐fusion scheme, uncertainty propagation, and time‐step iterative data assimilation.
Essential Variables were developed for Climate (ECVs), Biodiversity (EBVs), Ocean (EOVs), and Geodiversity (EGVs). Essential Ecosystem Variables (EEVs) for observation and modeling of ecosystems remain to be defined from the perspective of ecosystem reanalysis. Once the EEVs are agreed upon in a brought consensus, the EEVs will be a subset of these four domains bridging the biotic‐abiotic variable space which remains a key challenge.
(a) Conceptual diagram of the forest gap model LINKAGES. Each top cylinder represents the inputs to the model, and gray boxes represent a subroutine within the model. (b) The stacked bar plot shows the posterior mean of species‐level estimated biomass from tree rings collected at the Harvard Forest Lyford Plot. (c) Total aboveground biomass distribution for the dominant species red oak (Quercus rubra) simulated by three LINKAGES runs are shown in this time series with different amounts of data constraint, demonstrating the usefulness of reanalysis on improving predictions from LINKAGES. (d) The relative contribution of each type of variance to total aboveground biomass variance. Hashed areas are the relative variances that can be attributed to the covariance with initial conditions. Over time initial condition uncertainty covariance together with meteorological uncertainty (purple) accounted for a larger proportion of total variance while initially process uncertainty dominates. Total variance over time is shown as black line with the scale on the right hand y‐axis.
Article
A reanalysis is a physically consistent set of optimally merged simulated model states and historical observational data, using data assimilation. High computational costs for modelled processes and assimilation algorithms has led to Earth system specific reanalysis products for the atmosphere, the ocean and the land separately. Recent developments include the advanced uncertainty quantification and the generation of biogeochemical reanalysis for land and ocean. Here, we review atmospheric and oceanic reanalyses, and more in detail biogeochemical ocean and terrestrial reanalyses. In particular, we identify land surface, hydrologic and carbon cycle reanalyses which are nowadays produced in targeted projects for very specific purposes. Although a future joint reanalysis of land surface, hydrologic and carbon processes represents an analysis of important ecosystem variables, biotic ecosystem variables are assimilated only to a very limited extent. Continuous data sets of ecosystem variables are needed to explore biotic-abiotic interactions and the response of ecosystems to global change. Based on the review of existing achievements, we identify five major steps required to develop terrestrial ecosystem reanalysis to deliver continuous data streams on ecosystem dynamics. Key Points: • Reanalyses provide decades-long model-data-driven harmonized and continuous data sets for new scientific discoveries • Novel global scale reanalyses quantify the biogeochemical ocean cycle, terrestrial carbon cycle, land surface and hydrologic processes • New observation technology and modeling capabilities allow in the near future production of advanced terrestrial ecosystem reanalysis.
 
Article
The aims of this review are to: (i) describe and interpret structures in valley glaciers in relation to strain history; and (ii) to explore how these structures inform our understanding of the kinematics of large ice masses, and a wide range of other aspects of glaciology. Structures in glaciers give insight as to how ice deforms at the macroscopic and larger scale. Structures also provide information concerning the deformation history of ice masses over centuries and millennia. From a geological perspective, glaciers can be considered to be models of rock deformation, but with rates of change that are measurable on a human time-scale. However, structural assemblages in glaciers are commonly complex, and unravelling them to determine the deformation history is challenging; it thus requires the approach of the structural geologist. A wide range of structures are present in valley glaciers: (i) primary structures include sedimentary stratification and various veins; (ii) secondary structures that are the result of brittle and ductile deformation include crevasses, faults, crevasse traces, foliation, folds, and boudinage structures. Some of these structures, notably crevasses, relate well to measured strain-rates, but to explain ductile structures analysis of cumulative strain is required. Some structures occur in all glaciers irrespective of size, and they are therefore recognizable in ice streams and ice shelves. Structural approaches have wide (but as yet under-developed potential) application to other sub-disciplines of glaciology, notably glacier hydrology, debris entrainment and transfer, landform development, microbiological investigations, and in the interpretation of glacier-like features on Mars.
 
Article
Ionospheric ions (mainly H⁺, He⁺, and O⁺) escape from the ionosphere and populate the Earth's magnetosphere. Their thermal energies are usually low when they first escape the ionosphere, typically a few electron volt to tens of electron volt, but they are energized in their journey through the magnetosphere. The ionospheric population is variable, and it makes significant contributions to the magnetospheric mass density in key regions where magnetic reconnection is at work. Solar wind—magnetosphere coupling occurs primarily via magnetic reconnection, a key plasma process that enables transfer of mass and energy into the near‐Earth space environment. Reconnection leads to the triggering of magnetospheric storms, auroras, energetic particle precipitation and a host of other magnetospheric phenomena. Several works in the last decades have attempted to statistically quantify the amount of ionospheric plasma supplied to the magnetosphere, including the two key regions where magnetic reconnection occurs: the dayside magnetopause and the magnetotail. Recent in situ observations by the Magnetospheric Multiscale spacecraft and associated modeling have advanced our current understanding of how ionospheric ions alter the magnetic reconnection process, including its onset and efficiency. This article compiles the current understanding of the ionospheric plasma supply to the magnetosphere. It reviews both the quantification of these sources and their effects on the process of magnetic reconnection. It also provides a global description of how the ionospheric ion contribution modifies the way the solar wind couples to the Earth's magnetosphere and how these ions modify the global dynamics of the near‐Earth space environment.
 
Article
Recently deep learning (DL), as a new data-driven technique compared to conventional approaches, has attracted increasing attention in geophysical community, resulting in many opportunities and challenges. DL was proven to have the potential to predict complex system states accurately and relieve the “curse of dimensionality” in large temporal and spatial geophysical applications. We address the basic concepts, state-of-the-art literature, and future trends by reviewing DL approaches in various geosciences scenarios. Exploration geophysics, earthquakes, and remote sensing are the main focuses. More applications, including Earth structure, water resources, atmospheric science, and space science, are also reviewed. Additionally, the difficulties of applying DL in the geophysical community are discussed. The trends of DL in geophysics in recent years are analyzed. Several promising directions are provided for future research involving DL in geophysics, such as unsupervised learning, transfer learning, multimodal DL, federated learning, uncertainty estimation, and active learning. A coding tutorial and a summary of tips for rapidly exploring DL are presented for beginners and interested readers of geophysics.
 
Article
The Mid‐Pleistocene Transition (MPT), where the Pleistocene glacial cycles changed from 41 to ∼100 kyr periodicity, is one of the most intriguing unsolved issues in the field of paleoclimatology. Over the course of over four decades of research, several different physical mechanisms have been proposed to explain the MPT, involving non‐linear feedbacks between ice sheets and the global climate, the solid Earth, ocean circulation, and the carbon cycle. Here, we review these different mechanisms, comparing how each of them relates to the others, and to the currently available observational evidence. Based on this discussion, we identify the most important gaps in our current understanding of the MPT. We discuss how new model experiments, which focus on the quantitative differences between the different physical mechanisms, could help fill these gaps. The results of those experiments could help interpret available proxy evidence, as well as new evidence that is expected to become available.
 
Article
The 2011 Mw 9.0 Tohoku-oki earthquake is one of the world's best-recorded ruptures. In the aftermath of this devastating event, it is important to learn from the complete record. We describe the state of knowledge of the megathrust earthquake generation process before the earthquake, and what has been learned in the decade since the historic event. Prior to 2011, there were a number of studies suggesting the potential of a great megathrust earthquake in NE Japan from geodesy, geology, seismology, geomorphology, and paleoseismology, but results from each field were not enough to enable a consensus assessment of the hazard. A transient unfastening of interplate coupling and increased seismicity were recognized before the earthquake, but did not lead to alerts. Since the mainshock, follow-up studies have (1) documented that the rupture occurred in an area with a large interplate slip deficit, (2) established large near-trench coseismic slip, (3) examined structural anomalies and fault-zone materials correlated with the coseismic slip, (4) clarified the historical and paleoseismic recurrence of M∼9 earthquakes, and (5) identified various kinds of possible precursors. The studies have also illuminated the heterogeneous distribution of coseismic rupture, aftershocks, slow earthquakes and aseismic afterslip, and the enduring viscoelastic response, which together make up the complex megathrust earthquake cycle. Given these scientific advances, the enhanced seismic hazard of an impending great earthquake can now be more accurately established, although we do not believe such an event could be predicted with confidence.
 
Article
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)’s Operation IceBridge (OIB) was a 13‐year (2009–2021) airborne mission to survey land and sea ice across the Arctic, Antarctic, and Alaska. Here, we review OIB’s goals, instruments, campaigns, key scientific results, and implications for future investigations of the cryosphere. OIB’s primary goal was to use airborne laser altimetry to bridge the gap in fine‐resolution elevation measurements of ice from space between the conclusion of NASA’s Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat; 2003–2009) and its follow‐on, ICESat‐2 (launched 2018). Additional scientific requirements were intended to contextualize observed elevation changes using a multisensor suite of radar sounders, gravimeters, magnetometers, and cameras. Using 15 different aircraft, OIB conducted 968 science flights, of which 42% were repeat surveys of land ice, 42% were surveys of previously unmapped terrain across the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, Arctic ice caps, and Alaskan glaciers, and 16% were surveys of sea ice. The combination of an expansive instrument suite and breadth of surveys enabled numerous fundamental advances in our understanding of the Earth’s cryosphere. For land ice, OIB dramatically improved knowledge of interannual outlet‐glacier variability, ice‐sheet, and outlet‐glacier thicknesses, snowfall rates on ice sheets, fjord and sub‐ice‐shelf bathymetry, and ice‐sheet hydrology. Unanticipated discoveries included a reliable method for constraining the thickness within difficult‐to‐sound incised troughs beneath ice sheets, the extent of the firn aquifer within the Greenland Ice Sheet, the vulnerability of many Greenland and Antarctic outlet glaciers to ocean‐driven melting at their grounding zones, and the dominance of surface‐melt‐driven mass loss of Alaskan glaciers. For sea ice, OIB significantly advanced our understanding of spatiotemporal variability in sea ice freeboard and its snow cover, especially through combined analysis of fine‐resolution altimetry, visible imagery, and snow radar measurements of the overlying snow thickness. Such analyses led to the unanticipated discovery of an interdecadal decrease in snow thickness on Arctic sea ice and numerous opportunities to validate sea ice freeboards from satellite radar altimetry. While many of its data sets have yet to be fully explored, OIB’s scientific legacy has already demonstrated the value of sustained investment in reliable airborne platforms, airborne instrument development, interagency and international collaboration, and open and rapid data access to advance our understanding of Earth’s remote polar regions and their role in the Earth system.
 
Article
Polar stratospheric clouds (PSCs) play important roles in stratospheric ozone depletion during winter and spring at high latitudes (e.g., the Antarctic ozone hole). PSC particles provide sites for heterogeneous reactions that convert stable chlorine reservoir species to radicals that destroy ozone catalytically. PSCs also prolong ozone depletion by delaying chlorine deactivation through the removal of gas-phase HNO3 and H2O by sedimentation of large nitric acid trihydrate (NAT) and ice particles. Contemporary observations by the spaceborne instruments Michelson Interferometer for Passive Atmospheric Sounding (MIPAS), Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS), and Cloud-Aerosol Lidar with Orthogonal Polarization (CALIOP) have provided an unprecedented polar vortex-wide climatological view of PSC occurrence and composition in both hemispheres. These data have spurred advances in our understanding of PSC formation and related dynamical processes, especially the firm evidence of widespread heterogeneous nucleation of both NAT and ice PSC particles, perhaps on nuclei of meteoritic origin. Heterogeneous chlorine activation appears to be well understood. Reaction coefficients on/in liquid droplets have been measured accurately, and while uncertainties remain for reactions on solid NAT and ice particles, they are considered relatively unimportant since under most conditions chlorine activation occurs on/in liquid droplets. There have been notable advances in the ability of chemical transport and chemistry-climate models to reproduce PSC temporal/spatial distributions and composition observed from space. Continued spaceborne PSC observations will facilitate further improvements in the representation of PSC processes in global models and enable more accurate projections of the evolution of polar ozone and the global ozone layer as climate changes.
 
Article
The Wind spacecraft, launched on November 1, 1994, is a critical element in NASA's Heliophysics System Observatory (HSO) -- a fleet of spacecraft created to understand the dynamics of the sun-Earth system. The combination of its longevity (>25 years in service), its diverse complement of instrumentation, and high resolution and accurate measurements has led to it becoming the "standard candle" of solar wind measurements. Wind has over 55 selectable public data products with over ~1100 total data variables (including OMNI data products) on SPDF/CDAWeb alone. These data have led to paradigm shifting results in studies of statistical solar wind trends, magnetic reconnection, large-scale solar wind structures, kinetic physics, electromagnetic turbulence, the Van Allen radiation belts, coronal mass ejection topology, interplanetary and interstellar dust, the lunar wake, solar radio bursts, solar energetic particles, and extreme astrophysical phenomena such as gamma-ray bursts. This review introduces the mission and instrument suites then discusses examples of the contributions by Wind to these scientific topics that emphasize its importance to both the fields of heliophysics and astrophysics.
 
Article
Floodplains perform diverse functions, including attenuation of fluxes of water, solutes, and particulate material. Critical details of floodplain storage including magnitude, duration, and spatial distribution are strongly influenced by floodplain biogeochemical processes and biotic communities. Floodplain storage of diverse materials can be conceptualized in the form of a budget that quantifies inputs, outputs, and storage within the floodplain control volume. The floodplain control volume is here defined as bounded on the inner edges by the banks of the active channel(s), on the outer edges by the limit of periodic flooding and the deposition of fluvially transported sediment, on the underside by the extent of hyporheic exchange flows and the floodplain aquifer, and on the upper side by the upper elevation of living vegetation. Fluxes within the floodplain control volume can also change the location, characteristics, and residence time of material in storage. Fluxes, residence time, and quantities of material stored in floodplains can be measured directly; inferred from diverse types of remotely sensed data; or quantitatively estimated using numerical models. Human activities can modify floodplain storage by: hydrologically and/or geomorphically disconnecting channels and floodplains; altering fluxes of water and sediment to the river corridor; and obliterating floodplains through alluvial mining or urbanization. Floodplain restoration can focus on enlarging the functional floodplain, reconnecting the channel and floodplain, restoring natural regimes of water, sediment, and/or large wood, or enhancing the spatial heterogeneity of the channel and floodplain. Each form of floodplain restoration can increase floodplain storage and resilience to disturbances.
 
Article
Annually laminated speleothems have the potential to provide information on high-frequency climate variability and, simultaneously, provide good chronological constraints. However, there are distinct types of speleothem annual laminae, from physical to chemical, and a common mechanism that links their formation has yet to be found. Here, we analyzed annually laminated stalagmites from 23 caves and 6 continents with the aim to find if there are common mechanisms underlying their development. Annually laminated stalagmites are least common in arid and semiarid climates, and most common in regions with a seasonality of precipitation. At a global scale, we observe faster growth rates with increasing mean annual temperature and decreasing latitude. Changepoints in average growth rates are infrequent and age-depth relationships demonstrate that growth rates can be approximated to be constant. In general, annually laminated stalagmites are characterized by centennial-scale stability in calcite precipitation due to a sufficiently large and well-mixed water source, a time series spectrum showing first-order autoregression due to mixing of stored water and annual recharged water, and an inter-annual flickering of growth acceleration, bringing growth rates back to the long-term mean. Climate forcing of growth rate variations is observed where a multi-year climate signal is strong enough to be the dominant control on calcite growth rate variability, such that it retains a climate imprint after smoothing of this signal by mixing of stored water. In contrast, long-term constant growth rate of laminated stalagmites adds further robustness to their unparalleled capacity to improve accuracy of chronology building.
 
Article
Traditional, mainstream definitions of drought describe it as deficit in water-related variables or water-dependent activities (e.g., precipitation, soil moisture, surface and groundwater storage, and irrigation) due to natural variabilities that are out of the control of local decision-makers. Here, we argue that within coupled human-water systems, drought must be defined and understood as a process as opposed to a product to help better frame and describe the complex and interrelated dynamics of both natural and human-induced changes that define anthropogenic drought as a compound multidimensional and multiscale phenomenon, governed by the combination of natural water variability, climate change, human decisions and activities, and altered micro-climate conditions due to changes in land and water management. This definition considers the full spectrum of dynamic feedbacks and processes (e.g., land-atmosphere interactions and water and energy balance) within human-nature systems that drive the development of anthropogenic drought. This process magnifies the water supply demand gap and can lead to water bankruptcy, which will become more rampant around the globe in the coming decades due to continuously growing water demands under compounding effects of climate change and global environmental degradation. This challenge has de facto implications for both short-term and long-term water resources planning and management, water governance, and policymaking. Herein, after a brief overview of the anthropogenic drought concept and its examples, we discuss existing research gaps and opportunities for better understanding, modeling, and management of this phenomenon.
 
Journal Impact Factor and rank in category during the past 10 years (data from Journal Citation Reports).
Article
Plain Language Summary On behalf of the authors and readers of Reviews of Geophysics (RoG), the American Geophysical Union (AGU), and the broader scientific community, the editors wish to wholeheartedly thank those who reviewed manuscripts for RoG in 2020.
 
Article
Sudden stratospheric warmings (SSWs) are impressive fluid dynamical events in which large and rapid temperature increases in the winter polar stratosphere (∼10–50 km) are associated with a complete reversal of the climatological wintertime westerly winds. SSWs are caused by the breaking of planetary‐scale waves that propagate upwards from the troposphere. During an SSW, the polar vortex breaks down, accompanied by rapid descent and warming of air in polar latitudes, mirrored by ascent and cooling above the warming. The rapid warming and descent of the polar air column affect tropospheric weather, shifting jet streams, storm tracks, and the Northern Annular Mode, making cold air outbreaks over North America and Eurasia more likely. SSWs affect the atmosphere above the stratosphere, producing widespread effects on atmospheric chemistry, temperatures, winds, neutral (nonionized) particles and electron densities, and electric fields. These effects span both hemispheres. Given their crucial role in the whole atmosphere, SSWs are also seen as a key process to analyze in climate change studies and subseasonal to seasonal prediction. This work reviews the current knowledge on the most important aspects of SSWs, from the historical background to dynamical processes, modeling, chemistry, and impact on other atmospheric layers.
 
Article
First reported in the 1960s, offshore freshened groundwater (OFG) has now been documented in most continental margins around the world. In this review we compile a database documenting OFG occurrences and analyze it to establish the general characteristics and controlling factors. We also assess methods used to map and characterize OFG, identify major knowledge gaps, and propose strategies to address them. OFG has a global volume of 1 × 106 km3; it predominantly occurs within 55 km of the coast and down to a water depth of 100 m. OFG is mainly hosted within siliciclastic aquifers on passive margins and recharged by meteoric water during Pleistocene sea level lowstands. Key factors influencing OFG distribution are topography‐driven flow, salinization via haline convection, permeability contrasts, and the continuity/connectivity of permeable and confining strata. Geochemical and stable isotope measurements of pore waters from boreholes have provided insights into OFG emplacement mechanisms, while recent advances in seismic reflection profiling, electromagnetic surveying, and numerical models have improved our understanding of OFG geometry and controls. Key knowledge gaps, such as the extent and function of OFG, and the timing of their emplacement, can be addressed by the application of isotopic age tracers, joint inversion of electromagnetic and seismic reflection data, and development of three‐dimensional hydrological models. We show that such advances, combined with site‐specific modeling, are necessary to assess the potential use of OFG as an unconventional source of water and its role in sub‐seafloor geomicrobiology.
 
Article
Hydroclimatic changes associated with global warming over the past 50 years have been documented widely, but physical landscape responses are poorly understood thus far. Detecting sedimentary and geomorphic signals of modern climate change presents challenges owing to short record lengths, difficulty resolving signals in stochastic natural systems, influences of land use and tectonic activity, long-lasting effects of individual extreme events, and variable connectivity in sediment-routing systems. We review existing literature to investigate the nature and extent of sedimentary and geomorphic responses to modern climate change, focusing on the western United States, a region with generally high relief and high sediment yield likely to be sensitive to climatic forcing. Based on fundamental geomorphic theory and empirical evidence from other regions, we anticipate climate-driven changes to slope stability, watershed sediment yields, fluvial morphology, and aeolian sediment mobilization in the western United States. We find evidence for recent climate-driven changes to slope stability and increased aeolian dune and dust activity, whereas changes in sediment yields and fluvial morphology have been linked more commonly to nonclimatic drivers thus far. Detecting effects of climate change will require better understanding how landscape response scales with disturbance, how lag times and hysteresis operate within sedimentary systems, and how to distinguish the relative influence and feedbacks of superimposed disturbances. The ability to constrain geomorphic and sedimentary response to rapidly progressing climate change has widespread implications for human health and safety, infrastructure, water security, economics, and ecosystem resilience.
 
Article
Earth's tropical and subtropical rainbands, such as Intertropical Convergence Zones (ITCZs) and monsoons, are complex systems, governed by both large-scale constraints on the atmospheric general circulation and regional interactions with continents and orography, and coupled to the ocean. Monsoons have historically been considered as regional large-scale sea breeze circulations, driven by land-sea contrast. More recently, a perspective has emerged of a Global Monsoon, a global-scale solstitial mode that dominates the annual variation of tropical and subtropical precipitation. This results from the seasonal variation of the global tropical atmospheric overturning and migration of the associated convergence zone. Regional subsystems are embedded in this global monsoon, localized by surface boundary conditions. Parallel with this, much theoretical progress has been made on the fundamental dynamics of the seasonal Hadley cells and convergence zones via the use of hierarchical modeling approaches, including aquaplanets. Here we review the theoretical progress made, and explore the extent to which these advances can help synthesize theory with observations to better understand differing characteristics of regional monsoons and their responses to certain forcings. After summarizing the dynamical and energetic balances that distinguish an ITCZ from a monsoon, we show that this theoretical framework provides strong support for the migrating convergence zone picture and allows constraints on the circulation to be identified via the momentum and energy budgets. Limitations of current theories are discussed, including the need for a better understanding of the influence of zonal asymmetries and transients on the large-scale tropical circulation.
 
Article
The consequences that engineered nanomaterials (ENM) may cause in the environment have been under investigation for more than 15 years. Hundreds of Millions Euro/$ have been invested into safety issues of ENMs and much progress has been made in the understanding of their fate and effects in the environment. After an initial phase of “observing the effects”, research has shifted towards elucidating the mechanisms of fate and ecotoxicological effects. This also included a stronger focus on exposure issues and the development of analytical methods and computational models to predict exposure. First environmental risk assessments for ENM were performed and much progress has been achieved on the way to nano‐ and material‐specific assessments. The release of ENM from products and their transformation in technical and natural compartments profoundly affect the form in which the ENM are present in the environment. A crucial aspect in all areas is if there are truly nanospecific issues of the novel added functionalities of ENM that are different from dissolved metals, larger particles or natural particles. This review outlines progress in understanding the environmental dimensions of ENMs and areas that merit further investigation: To what extent are ENMs different from their natural counterparts and how ‘long’ do we need to track them in natural and technical systems? A major challenge will be in developing methods for studying particle‐mediated processes and their effects on ecosystems and organisms in a more general sense, going beyond just ENM, e.g. to natural nanoparticles, microplastics and extracellular vesicles.
 
Article
As iron‐bearing minerals – ferrimagnetic minerals in particular – are sensitive to stress, temperature and presence of fluids in fault zones, their magnetic properties provide valuable insights into physical and chemical processes affecting fault rocks. Here, we review the advances made in magnetic studies of fault rocks in the past three decades. We provide a synthesis of the mechanisms that account for the magnetic changes in fault rocks and insights gained from magnetic research. We also integrate non‐magnetic approaches in the evaluation of the magnetic properties of fault rocks. Magnetic analysis unveils microscopic processes operating in the fault zones such as frictional heating, energy dissipation, and fluid percolation that are otherwise difficult to constrain. This makes magnetic properties suited as a “strain indicator”, a “geothermometer”, and a “fluid tracer” in fault zones. However, a full understanding of faulting‐induced magnetic changes has not been accomplished yet. Future research should focus on detailed magnetic property analysis of fault zones including magnetic microscanning and magnetic fabric analysis. To calibrate the observations on natural fault zones, laboratory experiments should be carried out that enable to extract the exact physicochemical conditions that led to a certain magnetic signature. Potential avenues could include (1) magnetic investigations on natural and synthetic fault rocks after friction experiments; (2) laboratory simulation of fault fluid percolation; (3) paleomagnetic analysis of post‐kinematic remanence components associated with faulting processes; and (4) synergy of interdisciplinary approaches in mineral‐magnetic studies. This would help to place our understanding of the microphysics of faulting on a much stronger footing.
 
Space‐timescales of the hazard types covered. These scales are related to the event's spatial extent (or footprint) and its duration. For earthquakes the spatial scale shown is the range within which severe impacts occur for significant events. Colors code the maturity of impact forecasting systems from “development in infancy” (red) through “prototype systems exist” (yellow) to “operational systems implemented” (blue). The assignment to a certain maturity class is based on our synthesis (section 3.1).
The concept of early warning (EW) and its placement in time with respect to the actual occurrence of the event, exemplified for earthquakes, windstorms, and droughts. In the case of earthquakes, even very short lead times, up to 60 s after the occurrence of the event (dark flash), still allow to automatically trigger real‐time mitigation measures, such as emergency braking of high‐speed trains, before the most potentially dangerous earthquake waves reach a given location (light flash). For earthquakes also Operational Earthquake Forecasting (OEF) is indicated. Windstorms can be forecasted with lead times from a couple of hours to several days. The lead times of droughts are even longer, in the range of one to several months.
Definition of impact forecasting used in this review: Impact forecasting extends the traditional hazard forecast by including information on exposure and/or vulnerability, translating the physical hazard characteristics into socioeconomic consequences.
Weather impact matrix and color key for the U.K. National Severe Weather Warning Service (from Neal et al., 2014). Green signifies weather with no significant impact on peoples' day‐to‐day activities. Yellow signifies “be aware” and stay up to date with the latest forecast, and amber signifies “be prepared” to take action. Red signals “take action” to mitigate impacts.
Receiver Operating Characteristics (ROC) curves, quantifying the skill of the impact forecast models. (a) ROC curve for agricultural drought impact models, with countries shown as uniquely colored curves. Sensitivity, or the fraction of correctly predicted impacts, is plotted against the specificity (1 minus the “false‐alarm rate”, i.e., the fraction of correctly identified nonimpact months; Stagge et al., 2015; Figure 2). (b) Mortality for the 2003 heat wave scenario (Lowe et al., 2016; Figure 4), using a probabilistic mortality model driven by forecast apparent temperature data at lead times ranging from 1 day to 3 months. The ROC curve for the mortality model driven by observed apparent temperature data is shown for reference (black curve). The better skill of the latter shows the importance of reliable heat wave forecasts. For more information, the reader is referred to the source publications.
Article
Forecasting and early warning systems are important investments to protect lives, properties, and livelihood. While early warning systems are frequently used to predict the magnitude, location, and timing of potentially damaging events, these systems rarely provide impact estimates, such as the expected amount and distribution of physical damage, human consequences, disruption of services, or financial loss. Complementing early warning systems with impact forecasts has a twofold advantage: It would provide decision makers with richer information to take informed decisions about emergency measures and focus the attention of different disciplines on a common target. This would allow capitalizing on synergies between different disciplines and boosting the development of multihazard early warning systems. This review discusses the state of the art in impact forecasting for a wide range of natural hazards. We outline the added value of impact-based warnings compared to hazard forecasting for the emergency phase, indicate challenges and pitfalls, and synthesize the review results across hazard types most relevant for Europe.
 
Article
The Antarctic Ice Sheet (AIS) is out of equilibrium with the current anthropogenic‐enhanced climate forcing. Paleo‐environmental records and ice sheet models reveal that the AIS has been tightly coupled to the climate system during the past, and indicate the potential for accelerated and sustained Antarctic ice mass loss into the future. Modern observations by contrast suggest that the AIS has only just started to respond to climate change in recent decades. The maximum projected sea level contribution from Antarctica to 2100 has increased significantly since the IPCC 5th Assessment Report, although estimates continue to evolve with new observational and theoretical advances. This review brings together recent literature highlighting the progress made on the known processes and feedbacks that influence the stability of the AIS. Reducing the uncertainty in the magnitude and timing of the future sea‐level response to AIS change requires a multi‐disciplinary approach that integrates knowledge of the interactions between the ice sheet, solid Earth, atmosphere, and ocean systems, and across timescales of days to millennia. We start by reviewing the processes affecting AIS mass change, from atmospheric and oceanic processes acting on short timescales (days‐decades), through to ice processes acting on intermediate timescales (decades‐centuries) and the response to solid Earth interactions over longer timescales (decades‐millennia). We then review the evidence of AIS changes from the Pliocene to the present, and consider the projections of global sea‐level rise, and their consequences. We highlight priority research areas required to improve our understanding of the processes and feedbacks governing AIS change.
 
Article
We assess evidence relevant to Earth's equilibrium climate sensitivity per doubling of atmospheric CO2, characterized by an effective sensitivity S . This evidence includes feedback process understanding, the historical climate record, and the paleoclimate record. An S value lower than 2 K is difficult to reconcile with any of the three lines of evidence. The amount of cooling during the Last Glacial Maximum provides strong evidence against values of S greater than 4.5 K. Other lines of evidence in combination also show that this is relatively unlikely. We use a Bayesian approach to produce a probability density (PDF) for S given all the evidence, including tests of robustness to difficult‐to‐quantify uncertainties and different priors. The 66% range is 2.6‐3.9 K for our Baseline calculation, and remains within 2.3‐4.5 K under the robustness tests; corresponding 5‐95% ranges are 2.3‐4.7 K, bounded by 2.0‐5.7 K (although such high‐confidence ranges should be regarded more cautiously). This indicates a stronger constraint on S than reported in past assessments, by lifting the low end of the range. This narrowing occurs because the three lines of evidence agree and are judged to be largely independent, and because of greater confidence in understanding feedback processes and in combining evidence. We identify promising avenues for further narrowing the range in S , in particular using comprehensive models and process understanding to address limitations in the traditional forcing‐feedback paradigm for interpreting past changes.
 
Article
Work Breakdown of Seismic Facies Clustering and Sequence Stratigraphy in the Carbonate Reservoirs have several key tasks. especially, Data Gathering and QC, Data gathering and review, Database preparation in different software, Data QC and finding missing items, Seismic and Well Data Enhancement, Well logs editing, 3D seismic data conditioning (pre-and post-stack), Post-stack seismic data enhancement, Processing velocity conditioning, Fault and horizons interpretation QC/revise, Post-stack inversion (deterministic and stochastic), Pre-stack inversion (deterministic and stochastic) /Sensitivity Analysis, Elastic properties generation, Reporting & Deliverables, Code facies definition, Petro-elastic analysis, Definition of code facies, Comparison with already defined rock types, Scaling up analysis, Attributes Analysis, Pre-stack attribute analysis, Structural and stratigraphic attributes analysis, Geological Study, Basic geology study, Structural analysis and review of its potential effects on facies variation, Stratigraphic interpretation (well and seismic), Seismic Facies Clustering on Reservoir, Evaluation of unsupervised and supervised facies classification methods, Geo-body extraction and geomorphology interpretation, Integration by Sequence Stratigraphy interpretation.
 
Article
Jets and plumes have been the focus of quantitative investigations since the mid‐1950s. These investigations intensified following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, in which thousands of tons of oil and natural gas were released into the Gulf of Mexico. This review focuses on plume dynamics that apply to both single‐phase and multiphase liquid‐in‐liquid and liquid plus gas into liquid plumes, including bubble and droplet formation, and heat and mass transfer. Broadly, our work highlights several previously unknown or overlooked aspects of multiphase flow in the deep oceans. Upstream of the jet release, multiphase hydraulics can significantly affect the turbulence, for instance, through churn flow that enhances the turbulence in the free jet, affecting the conditions where bubbles and droplets are formed. Droplet formation was a major focus recently, with experiments covering a range of scales and flow rates of oil and gas at low and high pressure. Detailed observations of droplet formation at the jet‐water boundary reveal the formation of compound droplets, which are emulsions of oil and water with implications for mass conservation and mass transfer. At the plume scale, integral models have been adapted to include the complex thermodynamics and chemistry of oil and gas plumes. In parallel, significant advances were made in numerical simulations of multiphase plumes through large eddy simulations by treating the oil and gas either a continuous or discrete phase. Through this work, a vivid picture of the complex droplet, chemical, and hydrodynamic behavior of multiphase plumes in the ocean is emerging.
 
Article
Human activity has led to increased atmospheric concentrations of many gases, including halocarbons, and may lead to emissions of many more gases. Many of these gases are, on a per molecule basis, powerful greenhouse gases, although at present-day concentrations their climate effect is in the so-called weak limit (i.e., their effect scales linearly with concentration). We published a comprehensive review of the radiative efficiencies (RE) and global warming potentials (GWP) for around 200 such compounds in 2013 (Hodnebrog et al., 2013, https://doi.org/10.1002/rog.20013). Here we present updated RE and GWP values for compounds where experimental infrared absorption spectra are available. Updated numbers are based on a revised "Pinnock curve", which gives RE as a function of wave number, and now also accounts for stratospheric temperature adjustment (Shine & Myhre, 2020, https://doi.org/10.1029/2019MS001951). Further updates include the implementation of around 500 absorption spectra additional to those in the 2013 review and new atmospheric lifetimes from the literature (mainly from WMO (2019)). In total, values for 60 of the compounds previously assessed are based on additional absorption spectra, and 42 compounds have REs which differ by >10% from our previous assessment. New RE calculations are presented for more than 400 compounds in addition to the previously assessed compounds, and GWP calculations are presented for a total of around 250 compounds. Present-day radiative forcing due to halocarbons and other weak absorbers is 0.38 [0.33-0.43] W m-2, compared to 0.36 [0.32-0.40] W m-2 in IPCC AR5 (Myhre et al., 2013, https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781107415324.018), which is about 18% of the current CO2 forcing.
 
Top-cited authors
Robert Houze
  • University of Washington Seattle
Stephen Warren
  • University of Washington Seattle
Bryan L. Isacks
  • Cornell University
Geert Lenderink
  • Koninklijk Nederlands Meteorologisch Instituut
Seth Westra
  • University of Adelaide