Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Nature Geoscience contents: April 2015 Volume 8 Number 4 pp241-327

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Nature Geoscience


April 2015 Volume 8, Issue 4

Books and Arts
News and Views

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Eruption trials   p241
The eruption of Mount Tambora in 1815 has been linked to climate change and social unrest. Such historical eruptions could serve as test cases for models used to assess future climate changes.



Icelandic volcanic emissions and climate   p243
Andrew Gettelman, Anja Schmidt & Jón Egill Kristjansson



Eruption politics   pp244 - 245
Clive Oppenheimer
The impact of a volcanic eruption depends on more than just its size. We need more interdisciplinary research to understand the global societal consequences of past and future volcanic eruptions.

The year without a summer   pp246 - 248
J. Luterbacher & C. Pfister
The 1815 eruption of Tambora caused an unusually cold summer in much of Europe in 1816. The extreme weather led to poor harvests and malnutrition, but also demonstrated the capability of humans to adapt and help others in worse conditions.

Tying down eruption risk   pp248 - 250
Stephen Self & Ralf Gertisser
200 years after the eruption of Mount Tambora, the eruption volume remains poorly known, as is true for other volcanic eruptions over past millennia. We need better records of size and occurrence if we are to predict future large eruptions more accurately.

Books and Arts


Volcanoes past and present   p251
Amy Whitchurch & Alicia Newton review Volcanism and Global Environmental Change edited by Anja Schmidt, Kirsten E. Fristad and Linda T. Elkins-Tanton

Wringing food from the world   p252
Prabhu Pingali reviews The Big Ratchet: How Humanity Thrives in the Face of Natural Crisis by Ruth DeFries

News and Views


Cryosphere: Entry beneath ice   pp253 - 254
Peter Fretwell
Ice shelves in West Antarctica have been shown to melt where warm circumpolar deep water enters a sub-shelf cavity. A bathymetric reconstruction of Totten Glacier in East Antarctica suggests that the same process may be at work there.
See also: Letter by Greenbaum et al.

Geomorphology: The wind in the hollows   pp254 - 255
J. Taylor Perron
Flowing water shapes most of Earth's canyons, obscuring the contributions of other erosional mechanisms. A comparison of adjacent canyons with and without wind shielding shows that wind can amplify canyon incision on windblown Earth and Mars.
See also: Letter by Perkins et al.

Geodynamics: Strength under pressure   pp255 - 256
Patrick Cordier
Subducting oceanic crust is sometimes observed to stagnate in the lower mantle. Laboratory experiments show that high pressures in the deep Earth may strengthen mantle rocks, increasing their viscosity and halting the sinking slabs.
See also: Letter by Marquardt & Miyagi

Planetary science: Iron fog of accretion   pp256 - 257
William W. Anderson
Pinpointing when Earth's core formed depends on the extent of metal-silicate equilibration in the mantle. Vaporization and recondensation of impacting planetesimal cores during accretion may reconcile disparate lines of evidence.
See also: Letter by Kraus et al.

Biological oceanography: Life in the deepest depths   pp258 - 259
Beth N. Orcutt
Deep abyssal clay sediments in organic-poor regions of the ocean present challenging conditions for life. Techniques for identifying cells at extremely low concentrations demonstrate that aerobic microbes are found throughout these deep clays in as much of 37% of the global ocean.
See also: Letter by D'Hondt et al.

Palaeoclimate: Maritime cooling   p259
Alicia Newton

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Clouds, circulation and climate sensitivity   pp261 - 268
Sandrine Bony, Bjorn Stevens, Dargan M. W. Frierson, Christian Jakob, Masa Kageyama et al.
Our understanding of the interactions between clouds, circulation and climate is limited. Four central research questions — now tractable through advances in models, concepts and observations — are proposed to accelerate future progress.



Impact vaporization of planetesimal cores in the late stages of planet formation   pp269 - 272
Richard G. Kraus, Seth Root, Raymond W. Lemke, Sarah T. Stewart, Stein B. Jacobsen et al.
Differentiated planetesimals may have delivered iron-rich material to Earth in giant impacts at the end of accretion. Impact experiments suggest that the planetesimals' iron cores vaporized, aiding dispersal and mixing into Earth's mantle.
See also: News and Views by Anderson

Ice nucleation by cellulose and its potential contribution to ice formation in clouds   pp273 - 277
N. Hiranuma, O. Mohler, K. Yamashita, T. Tajiri, A. Saito et al.
Some biological particles act as ice nuclei in the atmosphere, affecting clouds and precipitation. Cloud-chamber experiments demonstrate that cellulose particles can act as efficient ice-nucleating particles in supercooled clouds.

Influence of the El Niño/Southern Oscillation on tornado and hail frequency in the United States   pp278 - 283
John T. Allen, Michael K. Tippett & Adam H. Sobel
The El Niño/Southern Oscillation modulates global weather and climate. Analyses of large-scale environmental indices show that it also affects the frequency of tornado and hail events in the central United States, which may help with predictability.

Photosynthetic seasonality of global tropical forests constrained by hydroclimate   pp284 - 289
Kaiyu Guan, Ming Pan, Haibin Li, Adam Wolf, Jin Wu et al.
Droughts can cause dry-season productivity to decline in tropical forests. This decline occurs when precipitation is below 2,000 mm yr-1, resulting in insufficient subsurface water storage to maintain constant production through the dry season.

Substantial contribution of biomethylation to aquifer arsenic cycling   pp290 - 293
Scott C. Maguffin, Matthew F. Kirk, Ashley R. Daigle, Stephen R. Hinkle & Qusheng Jin
Arsenic in aquifers is transformed by biological and abiotic reactions. Field measurements and laboratory experiments suggest that the microbial methylation of arsenic contributes to subsurface arsenic cycling.

Ocean access to a cavity beneath Totten Glacier in East Antarctica   pp294 - 298
J. S. Greenbaum, D. D. Blankenship, D. A. Young, T. G. Richter, J. L. Roberts et al.
Totten Glacier has the largest thinning rate in East Antarctica. A derivation of the sea floor bathymetry reveals entrances to the ice cavity beneath the glacier that could allow deep warm water to enter and enhance basal melting.
See also: News and Views by Fretwell

Presence of oxygen and aerobic communities from sea floor to basement in deep-sea sediments   pp299 - 304
Steven D'Hondt, Fumio Inagaki, Carlos Alvarez Zarikian, Lewis J. Abrams, Nathalie Dubois et al.
The depth of oxygen penetration and microbial activity in marine sediments varies by region. Sediment cores from the South Pacific Gyre host oxygen and aerobic microbial communities to at least 75 metres below the sea floor.
See also: News and Views by Orcutt

Amplification of bedrock canyon incision by wind   pp305 - 310
Jonathan P. Perkins, Noah J. Finnegan & Shanaka L. de Silva
Water is considered the primary agent that erodes and shapes bedrock canyons. Analyses of canyon morphology in the central Andes suggest that abrasion by wind can amplify canyon incision and reshape canyons on Earth—and possibly on Mars.
See also: News and Views by Perron

Slab stagnation in the shallow lower mantle linked to an increase in mantle viscosity   pp311 - 314
Hauke Marquardt & Lowell Miyagi
Subducting slabs can stagnate in the lower mantle. High-pressure laboratory experiments show that the viscosity of a dominant mantle phase increases dramatically at shallow lower-mantle depths, which could cause the slabs to halt their descent.
See also: News and Views by Cordier



Dynamics of the intertropical convergence zone over the western Pacific during the Little Ice Age   pp315 - 320
Hong Yan, Wei Wei, Willie Soon, Zhisheng An, Weijian Zhou et al.
Precipitation patterns in the western Pacific changed at the onset of the Little Ice Age. A synthesis of precipitation reconstructions suggests that this change resulted from a contraction of the intertropical convergence zone.

Continental crust generated in oceanic arcs   pp321 - 327
Esteban Gazel, Jorden L. Hayes, Kaj Hoernle, Peter Kelemen, Erik Everson et al.
The origin of continental crust is unclear. Geochemical and geophysical analyses of the Central American land bridge show that continental crust began to form there when enriched oceanic crust created above the Galapagos plume was subducted.

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