Reviews & Analysis

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  • Unrest episodes observed in basaltic systems indicate magma influx rates may be key to generating long-term eruption forecasts. The findings predict that, if a critical flow rate is surpassed, a volcano will erupt within a year.

    • Tushar Mittal
    News & Views
  • In a simulation with a state-of-the-art climate model, obstruction of the ocean gateways in the Canadian archipelago due to ice-sheet growth reroutes currents and alters North Atlantic Ocean conditions, permitting glacial inception in Scandinavia. This mechanism could help to explain periods of rapid ice-sheet growth in Earth’s history.

    Research Briefing
  • The surface of the asteroid Bennu is so weakly bonded that rockslide avalanches are easily triggered by small body impacts, and boulders fractured due to diurnal heating and cooling are readily dislodged. The result is a surface under continuous renewal.

    • Masahiko Arakawa
    News & Views
  • This study shows that by stabilizing the soil, biological soil crusts reduce global atmospheric dust emissions by 60%, corresponding to ~700 Tg of dust per year. According to models of biocrust cover loss, this effect will be reduced in the future, leading to increases in not only dust emissions but also global radiative cooling.

    Research Briefing
  • Tree restoration is a popular approach to mitigating climate change, but its hydrological impacts are often overlooked. Tree restoration increases evaporation, as well as increasing downwind precipitation due to enhanced moisture recycling. Our study shows that these combined effects can affect regions’ wetness or dryness, streamflow and water availability.

    Research Briefing
  • Flood basalts are connected to Earth’s most extreme environmental crises, yet warming is sometimes observed before surface eruptions. Modelling reveals that a complex buildup of basalt intrusions into the crust releases enough CO2 to cause this pre-eruptive warming.

    • Jennifer Kasbohm
    News & Views
  • A synthesis of recent work on marine carbon export fluxes finds that many processes that are key to understanding the effects of a warming climate on ocean carbon cycling are missing from current climate models.

    • Stephanie A. Henson
    • Charlotte Laufkötter
    • Emma L. Cavan
  • Continuous and discoverable observations of water potential could vastly improve understanding of biophysical processes throughout the soil–plant–atmosphere continuum and are achievable thanks to recent technological advances.

    • Kimberly A. Novick
    • Darren L. Ficklin
    • Jeffrey D. Wood
  • Subduction zone formation may be both horizontally and then vertically driven, according to a 4D evolution model of the Puysegur margin, New Zealand. This suggests that the current endmember classification of subduction initiation must be expanded.

    • Fabio Crameri
    News & Views
  • Agricultural nitrogen legacies are delaying improvements to water quality. Comprehensive management strategies that address legacy issues are needed to ensure better environmental outcomes.

    • Nandita B. Basu
    • Kimberly J. Van Meter
    • Søren Bøye Olsen
  • The structure of the overriding plate may control bending and water ingress into the subducting plate based on an exceptional 3D velocity model of the Nankai subduction zone.

    • Donna J. Shillington
    News & Views
  • Climate change mitigation strategies based on biochar generation—and its application to agricultural soils—can effectively sequester carbon, although biogeochemical and economic trade-offs must be considered.

    • Johannes Lehmann
    • Annette Cowie
    • Thea Whitman
    Review Article
  • Storm surge barriers can protect against coastal flooding. Observations from the Venice Lagoon in Italy show that the operation of these types of barriers must be carefully tuned to avoid inhibiting sedimentation and compromising marsh resilience to sea-level rise.

    • Nicoletta Leonardi
    News & Views
  • Evaporative loss of sulfur from molten planetesimals can explain the sub-chondritic sulfur isotope composition of the bulk silicate mantle, suggesting an important role for planetesimal evaporation in establishing Earth’s volatile budget.

    • Yuan Li
    News & Views
  • The fate of sedimentary carbon in rivers is determined by a combination of mineral protection and transit time. Along the fluvial journey from headwaters to sea, biogeochemical transformations control whether carbon is buried or returned to the atmosphere as CO2.

    • William Ford
    • James Fox
    News & Views