Environmental sciences

  • Article |

    Preliminary modelling of airborne microplastics suggests that they may be exerting a minor cooling influence on the present-day atmosphere, and continued production could have increasing effects on the climate system in future.

    • Laura E. Revell
    • , Peter Kuma
    •  & Sally Gaw
  • Article |

    Mercury deposition pathways from the atmosphere to the ocean remain uncertain, but mercury stable isotope measurements from the Atlantic and Mediterranean show that ocean uptake of gaseous elemental mercury is more important than previously thought.

    • Martin Jiskra
    • , Lars-Eric Heimbürger-Boavida
    •  & Jeroen E. Sonke
  • Article |

    The amount of carbon dioxide released by the Australian wildfires of 2019–2020 is uncertain, but is estimated here using satellite observations of carbon monoxide to be more than twice the amount suggested by fire inventories.

    • Ivar R. van der Velde
    • , Guido R. van der Werf
    •  & Ilse Aben
  • Article |

    A range of environmental stressors are estimated for farmed and wild capture blue foods, including bivalves, seaweed, crustaceans and finfish, with the potential to inform more sustainable diets.

    • Jessica A. Gephart
    • , Patrik J. G. Henriksson
    •  & Max Troell
  • Article |

    A revised date for the Laacher See eruption using measurements of subfossil trees shifts the chronology of European varved lakes relative to the Greenland ice core record, synchronizing the onset of the Younger Dryas across the North Atlantic–European sector.

    • Frederick Reinig
    • , Lukas Wacker
    •  & Ulf Büntgen
  • Article |

    Large forest fires in Alaska and the Northwest Territories can ‘overwinter’ and then reignite in the following fire season, contributing up to one-third of the burned area in individual years.

    • Rebecca C. Scholten
    • , Randi Jandt
    •  & Sander Veraverbeke
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Geospatial variation in the micronutrient composition (calcium, iron, selenium and zinc) of staple cereal grains is nutritionally important at subnational scales in Ethiopia and Malawi; these data could be used to improve surveillance of micronutrient deficiencies in the region.

    • D. Gashu
    • , P. C. Nalivata
    •  & M. R. Broadley
  • Review Article |

    The volume of global aquaculture production has tripled since 2000 with positive trends in environmental performance, but the sector faces mounting challenges including pathogen management, pollution, climate change, and increasing dependence on land-based resource systems.

    • Rosamond L. Naylor
    • , Ronald W. Hardy
    •  & Max Troell
  • Article |

    Using a globally coordinated strategic conservation framework to plan an increase in ocean protection through marine protected areas can yield benefits for biodiversity, food provisioning and carbon storage.

    • Enric Sala
    • , Juan Mayorga
    •  & Jane Lubchenco
  • Article |

    Atmospheric concentration measurements at remote sites around the world reveal an accelerated decline in the global mean CFC-11 concentration during 2018 and 2019, reversing recent trends and building confidence in the timely recovery of the stratospheric ozone layer.

    • Stephen A. Montzka
    • , Geoffrey S. Dutton
    •  & Christina Theodoridi
  • Article |

    Observations and air-quality modelling reveal that the sources of particulate matter and oxidative potential in Europe are different, implying that reducing mass concentrations of particulate matter alone may not reduce oxidative potential.

    • Kaspar R. Daellenbach
    • , Gaëlle Uzu
    •  & André S. H. Prévôt
  • Article |

    To promote the recovery of the currently declining global trends in terrestrial biodiversity, increases in both the extent of land under conservation management and the sustainability of the global food system from farm to fork are required.

    • David Leclère
    • , Michael Obersteiner
    •  & Lucy Young
  • Article |

    Modelled supply curves show that, with policy reform and technological innovation, the production of food from the sea may increase sustainably, perhaps supplying 25% of the increase in demand for meat products by 2050.

    • Christopher Costello
    • , Ling Cao
    •  & Jane Lubchenco
  • Article |

    Fine-scale satellite data are used to quantify forest harvest rates in 26 European countries, finding an increase in harvested forest area of 49% and an increase in biomass loss of 69% between 2011–2015 and 2016–2018.

    • Guido Ceccherini
    • , Gregory Duveiller
    •  & Alessandro Cescatti
  • Article |

    This analysis of the exchange of air pollution amongst the contiguous United States finds that, on average, around half of the early deaths caused by a state’s air pollution occurs outside that state, with different contributions by different emission sectors and chemical species.

    • Irene C. Dedoussi
    • , Sebastian D. Eastham
    •  & Steven R. H. Barrett
  • Article |

    Anoxygenic photosynthetic microorganisms can biomineralize manganese oxides without molecular oxygen being present and without high-potential photosynthetic reaction centres, which sheds doubt on proposed dates for the origins of oxygenic photosynthetic metabolism.

    • Mirna Daye
    • , Vanja Klepac-Ceraj
    •  & Tanja Bosak
  • Perspective |

    This Perspective examines the global production ecosystem through the lenses of connectivity, diversity and feedback, and proposes measures that will increase its stability and sustainability.

    • M. Nyström
    • , J.-B. Jouffray
    •  & C. Folke
  • Letter |

    Estimates for when critical environmental streamflow limits will be reached—with potentially devastating economic and environmental effects—are obtained using a global model that links groundwater pumping with the groundwater flow to rivers.

    • Inge E. M. de Graaf
    • , Tom Gleeson
    •  & Marc F. P. Bierkens
  • Letter |

    Estimates of spatial patterns of nitrogen discharge into water bodies across China between 1955 and 2014 show that current discharge rates are almost three times the acceptable threshold, and ways to restore a clean water environment are suggested.

    • ChaoQing Yu
    • , Xiao Huang
    •  & James Taylor
  • Article |

    Adding reactive gases such as isoprene to mixtures lowers the production of secondary organic aerosol in the atmosphere, thus reducing the atmospheric particulate burden, with implications for human health and climate.

    • Gordon McFiggans
    • , Thomas F. Mentel
    •  & Astrid Kiendler-Scharr
  • Letter |

    Satellite observations reveal over 200 ammonia hotspots associated with agricultural and industrial point sources, which emit much larger quantities of ammonia to the atmosphere than previously thought.

    • Martin Van Damme
    • , Lieven Clarisse
    •  & Pierre-François Coheur
  • Article |

    A global model finds that the environmental impacts of the food system could increase by 60–90% by 2050, and that dietary changes, improvements in technologies and management, and reductions in food loss and waste will all be needed to mitigate these impacts.

    • Marco Springmann
    • , Michael Clark
    •  & Walter Willett
  • Letter |

    A global modelling approach shows that in response to rises in global sea level, gains of up to 60% in coastal wetland areas are possible, if appropriate coastal management solutions are developed to help support wetland resilience.

    • Mark Schuerch
    • , Tom Spencer
    •  & Sally Brown
  • Letter |

    Satellite data for the period 1982–2016 reveal changes in land use and land cover at global and regional scales that reflect patterns of land change indicative of a human-dominated Earth system.

    • Xiao-Peng Song
    • , Matthew C. Hansen
    •  & John R. Townshend
  • Perspective |

    The future of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean by 2070 is described under two scenarios, one in which action is taken to limit greenhouse gas emissions, and one in which no action is taken.

    • S. R. Rintoul
    • , S. L. Chown
    •  & J. C. Xavier