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Talking Point articles

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High-energy focus: bringing disciplines together

There’s more to high-energy particles than clouds and cosmic rays, says Giles Harrison of the University of Reading, UK.

Towards typologies of urban climate and global environmental change

We need an understanding of which kind of cities can contribute what kind of measures to mitigate and adapt to global environmental change, says Felix Creutzig.

The Arctic matters: extreme weather responds to diminished Arctic Sea ice

The short answer to whether the disappearance of multi-year Arctic sea ice will make extreme weather events more frequent is yes....and no, according to Jennifer Francis.

Industrial concessions, fires and air pollution in Equatorial Asia

There's a compelling justification to prevent reclassification of logging concessions into oil palm or timber concessions after logging, say Dominick Spracklen et al.

Oil palm deserves government attention in Brazil

José R Moreira and José Goldemberg analyse biodiesel production from oil palm plantations as one possible way to mitigate climate change while providing cost effective results.

Use of models and observations in event attribution

Gabriele Hegerl gives her take on an important step towards improving the reliability of event attribution results.

Prioritizing urban sustainability solutions: coordinated approaches must incorporate scale-dependent built environment induced effects

Contemporary and future design of settlements demands cooperative participation between planners, architects, and relevant stakeholders, with the urban and global climate community, say Matei Georgescu et al.

Research follow-up: assessing groundwater beneath Africa

Alan MacDonald and colleagues published their map of African groundwater resources in Environmental Research Letters three years ago; since then there’s been much progress, including the commencement of the UPGro (Unlocking the Potential of Groundwater for the Poor) programme

Grazing in Arctic peatlands – an unknown agent in the global carbon budget

Falk et al's recent finding highlights the potential of grazers to alter ecosystem processes in Arctic peatlands and so to act as a major player in the global carbon budget, according to Sari Stark and Henni Ylänne

US agricultural policy, land use change, and biofuels: are we driving our way to the next dust bowl?

Recently documented cropland expansion suggests the need to reform national policies in the wake of an emerging era of US agriculture characterized by rapid land cover/land use change, says Christopher Wright.

Civil aviation, air pollution and human health

Whilst aircraft emissions are often considered as dominant near runways, there are a number of other sources and processes related to aviation that still need to be accounted for, say Roy M Harrison, Mauro Masiol and Sotiris Vardoulakis

A new drought tipping point for conifer mortality

Thomas Kolb examines the link between the standardized precipitation–evapotranspiration index (SPEI) and annual tree ring growth in semi-arid forests.

The time lag between a carbon dioxide emission and maximum warming increases with the size of the emission

Kirsten Zickfeld and Tyler Herrington discuss the implications of their finding that the time lag between a carbon dioxide emission pulse and the maximum warming increases for larger pulses.

Baseline data on forest loss and associated uncertainty: advances in national forest monitoring

Johanne Pelletier and Scott Goetz assess efforts to improve Peru's national forest monitoring system, as required by REDD+

Energy efficiency standards and innovation

If efficiency standards are, in fact, responsible for accelerated price effects, a number of interesting implications arise, says Geoff Morrison

Thunder and lightning—what determines where and when thunderstorms occur?

Michael J Rycroft examines possible mechanisms behind Owens et al's finding that there's more lightning over the UK when the magnetic field in interplanetary space points towards the Sun rather than away from it.

Adaptation strategies to climate change in the Arctic: a global patchwork of reactive community-scale initiatives

Tatiana V Loboda highlights the need for long-term strategic planning in adaptation policies spanning international boundaries and including all population groups

Robust relationship between yields and nitrogen inputs indicates three ways to reduce nitrogen pollution

Understanding the decline in nitrogen-use efficiency with increasing nitrogen inputs helps us understand the dilemma between increased agricultural production and nitrogen pollution, according to Benjamin Leon Bodirsky and Christoph Müller

A regional look at HANPP: human consumption is increasing, NPP is not

Steven Running reckons the regional trend in analysis of human appropriation of net primary production (HANPP) can quantify increasing vulnerability of the local populations to any shortfall in NPP as demand approaches supply, providing an early warning system

A growing commitment to future CO2 emissions

H Damon Matthews reckons we should account for the greenhouse-gas emissions committed to by exploring new fossil-fuel reserves, as well as those associated with building fossil-fuel energy plants