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Now showing 1 - 10 of 23
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    Drought losses in China might double between the 1.5 °C and 2.0 °C warming
    (Washington, DC : NAS, 2018) Su, Buda; Huang, Jinlong; Fischer, Thomas; Wang, Yanjun; Kundzewicz, Zbigniew W.; Zhai, Jianqing; Sun, Hemin; Wang, Anqian; Zeng, Xiaofan; Wang, Guojie; Tao, Hui; Gemmer, Marco; Li, Xiucang; Jiang, Tong
    We project drought losses in China under global temperature increase of 1.5 °C and 2.0 °C, based on the Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI) and the Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI), a cluster analysis method, and “intensity-loss rate” function. In contrast to earlier studies, to project the drought losses, we predict the regional gross domestic product under shared socioeconomic pathways instead of using a static socioeconomic scenario. We identify increasing precipitation and evapotranspiration pattern for the 1.5 °C and 2.0 °C global warming above the preindustrial at 2020–2039 and 2040–2059, respectively. With increasing drought intensity and areal coverage across China, drought losses will soar. The estimated loss in a sustainable development pathway at the 1.5 °C warming level increases 10-fold in comparison with the reference period 1986–2005 and nearly threefold relative to the interval 2006–2015. However, limiting the temperature increase to 1.5 °C can reduce the annual drought losses in China by several tens of billions of US dollars, compared with the 2.0 °C warming.
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    Reply to Smith et al.: Social tipping dynamics in a world constrained by conflicting interests
    (Washington, DC : National Acad. of Sciences, 2020) Otto, Ilona M.; Donges, Jonathan F.; Lucht, Wolfgang; Schellnhuber, Hans Joachim
    [No abstract available]
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    Strong impact of wildfires on the abundance and aging of black carbon in the lowermost stratosphere
    (Washington, DC : NAS, 2018) Ditas, Jeannine; Ma, Nan; Zhang, Yuxuan; Assmann, Denise; Neumaier, Marco; Riede, Hella; Karu, Einar; Williams, Jonathan; Scharffe, Dieter; Wang, Qiaoqiao; Saturno, Jorge; Schwarz, Joshua P.; Katich, Joseph M.; McMeeking, Gavin R.; Zahn, Andreas; Hermann, Markus; Brenninkmeijer, Carl A. M.; Andreae, Meinrat O.; Pöschl, Ulrich; Su, Hang; Cheng, Yafang
    Wildfires inject large amounts of black carbon (BC) particles into the atmosphere, which can reach the lowermost stratosphere (LMS) and cause strong radiative forcing. During a 14-month period of observations on board a passenger aircraft flying between Europe and North America, we found frequent and widespread biomass burning (BB) plumes, influencing 16 of 160 flight hours in the LMS. The average BC mass concentrations in these plumes (∼140 ng·m−3, standard temperature and pressure) were over 20 times higher than the background concentration (∼6 ng·m−3) with more than 100-fold enhanced peak values (up to ∼720 ng·m−3). In the LMS, nearly all BC particles were covered with a thick coating. The average mass equivalent diameter of the BC particle cores was ∼120 nm with a mean coating thickness of ∼150 nm in the BB plume and ∼90 nm with a coating of ∼125 nm in the background. In a BB plume that was encountered twice, we also found a high diameter growth rate of ∼1 nm·h−1 due to the BC particle coatings. The observed high concentrations and thick coatings of BC particles demonstrate that wildfires can induce strong local heating in the LMS and may have a significant influence on the regional radiative forcing of climate.
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    Exploring functional pairing between surface glycoconjugates and human galectins using programmable glycodendrimersomes
    (Washington, DC : National Acad. of Sciences, 2018) Xiao, Qi; Ludwig, Anna-Kristin; Romanò, Cecilia; Buzzacchera, Irene; Sherman, Samuel E.; Vetro, Maria; Vértesy, Sabine; Kaltner, Herbert; Reed, Ellen H.; Möller, Martin; Wilson, Christopher J.; Hammer, Daniel A.; Oscarson, Stefan; Klein, Michael L.; Gabius, Hans-Joachim; Percec, Virgil
    Precise translation of glycan-encoded information into cellular activity depends critically on highly specific functional pairing between glycans and their human lectin counter receptors. Sulfoglycolipids, such as sulfatides, are important glycolipid components of the biological membranes found in the nervous and immune systems. The optimal molecular and spatial design aspects of sulfated and nonsulfated glycans with high specificity for lectin-mediated bridging are unknown. To elucidate how different molecular and spatial aspects combine to ensure the high specificity of lectin-mediated bridging, a bottom-up toolbox is devised. To this end, negatively surface-charged glycodendrimersomes (GDSs), of different nanoscale dimensions, containing sulfo-lactose groups are self-assembled in buffer from a synthetic sulfatide mimic: Janus glycodendrimer (JGD) containing a 3′-O-sulfo-lactose headgroup. Also prepared for comparative analysis are GDSs with nonsulfated lactose, a common epitope of human membranes. These self-assembled GDSs are employed in aggregation assays with 15 galectins, comprising disease-related human galectins, and other natural and engineered variants from four families, having homodimeric, heterodimeric, and chimera architectures. There are pronounced differences in aggregation capacity between human homodimeric and heterodimeric galectins, and also with respect to their responsiveness to the charge of carbohydrate-derived ligand. Assays reveal strong differential impact of ligand surface charge and density, as well as lectin concentration and structure, on the extent of surface cross-linking. These findings demonstrate how synthetic JGD-headgroup tailoring teamed with protein engineering and network assays can help explain how molecular matchmaking operates in the cellular context of glycan and lectin complexity.
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    Social tipping dynamics for stabilizing Earth's climate by 2050
    (2020) Otto, Ilona M.; Donges, Jonathan F.; Cremades, Roger; Bhowmik, Avit; Hewitt, Richard J.; Lucht, Wolfgang; Rockström, Johan; Allerberger, Franziska; McCaffrey, Mark; Doe, Sylvanus S.P.; Lenferna, Alex; Morán, Nerea; van Vuuren, Detlef P.; Schellnhuber, Hans Joachim
    Safely achieving the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement requires a worldwide transformation to carbon-neutral societies within the next 30 y. Accelerated technological progress and policy implementations are required to deliver emissions reductions at rates sufficiently fast to avoid crossing dangerous tipping points in the Earth's climate system. Here, we discuss and evaluate the potential of social tipping interventions (STIs) that can activate contagious processes of rapidly spreading technologies, behaviors, social norms, and structural reorganization within their functional domains that we refer to as social tipping elements (STEs). STEs are subdomains of the planetary socioeconomic system where the required disruptive change may take place and lead to a sufficiently fast reduction in anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. The results are based on online expert elicitation, a subsequent expert workshop, and a literature review. The STIs that could trigger the tipping of STE subsystems include 1) removing fossil-fuel subsidies and incentivizing decentralized energy generation (STE1, energy production and storage systems), 2) building carbon-neutral cities (STE2, human settlements), 3) divesting from assets linked to fossil fuels (STE3, financial markets), 4) revealing the moral implications of fossil fuels (STE4, norms and value systems), 5) strengthening climate education and engagement (STE5, education system), and 6) disclosing information on greenhouse gas emissions (STE6, information feedbacks). Our research reveals important areas of focus for larger-scale empirical and modeling efforts to better understand the potentials of harnessing social tipping dynamics for climate change mitigation.
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    Emergent inequality and business cycles in a simple behavioral macroeconomic model
    (Washington, DC : National Acad. of Sciences, 2021) Asano, Yuki M.; Kolb, Jakob J.; Heitzig, Jobst; Farmer, J. Doyne
    Standard macroeconomic models assume that households are rational in the sense that they are perfect utility maximizers and explain economic dynamics in terms of shocks that drive the economy away from the steady state. Here we build on a standard macroeconomic model in which a single rational representative household makes a savings decision of how much to consume or invest. In our model, households are myopic boundedly rational heterogeneous agents embedded in a social network. From time to time each household updates its savings rate by copying the savings rate of its neighbor with the highest consumption. If the updating time is short, the economy is stuck in a poverty trap, but for longer updating times economic output approaches its optimal value, and we observe a critical transition to an economy with irregular endogenous oscillations in economic output, resembling a business cycle. In this regime households divide into two groups: poor households with low savings rates and rich households with high savings rates. Thus, inequality and economic dynamics both occur spontaneously as a consequence of imperfect household decision-making. Adding a few “rational” agents with a fixed savings rate equal to the long-term optimum allows us to match business cycle timescales. Our work here supports an alternative program of research that substitutes utility maximization for behaviorally grounded decision-making.
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    A polyyne toxin produced by an antagonistic bacterium blinds and lyses a Chlamydomonad alga
    (Washington, DC : National Acad. of Sciences, 2021) Hotter, Vivien; Zopf, David; Kim, Hak Joong; Silge, Anja; Schmitt, Michael; Aiyar, Prasad; Fleck, Johanna; Matthäus, Christian; Hniopek, Julian; Yan, Qing; Loper, Joyce; Sasso, Severin; Hertweck, Christian; Popp, Jürgen; Mittag, Maria
    Algae are key contributors to global carbon fixation and form the basis of many food webs. In nature, their growth is often supported or suppressed by microorganisms. The bacterium Pseudomonas protegens Pf-5 arrests the growth of the green unicellular alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, deflagellates the alga by the cyclic lipopeptide orfamide A, and alters its morphology [P. Aiyar et al., Nat. Commun. 8, 1756 (2017)]. Using a combination of Raman microspectroscopy, genome mining, and mutational analysis, we discovered a polyyne toxin, protegencin, which is secreted by P. protegens, penetrates the algal cells, and causes destruction of the carotenoids of their primitive visual system, the eyespot. Together with secreted orfamide A, protegencin thus prevents the phototactic behavior of C. reinhardtii. A mutant of P. protegens deficient in protegencin production does not affect growth or eyespot carotenoids of C. reinhardtii. Protegencin acts in a direct and destructive way by lysing and killing the algal cells. The toxic effect of protegencin is also observed in an eyeless mutant and with the colony-forming Chlorophyte alga Gonium pectorale. These data reveal a two-pronged molecular strategy involving a cyclic lipopeptide and a conjugated tetrayne used by bacteria to attack select Chlamydomonad algae. In conjunction with the bloom-forming activity of several chlorophytes and the presence of the protegencin gene cluster in over 50 different Pseudomonas genomes [A. J. Mullins et al., bioRxiv [Preprint] (2021). (Accessed 17 April 2021)], these data are highly relevant to ecological interactions between Chlorophyte algae and Pseudomonadales bacteria.
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    Communicating sentiment and outlook reverses inaction against collective risks
    (Washington, DC : National Acad. of Sciences, 2020) Wang, Zhen; Jusup, Marko; Guo, Hao; Shi, Lei; Geček, Sunčana; Anand, Madhur; Perc, Matjaž; Bauch, Chris T.; Kurths, Jürgen; Boccaletti, Stefano; Schellnhuber, Hans Joachim
    Collective risks permeate society, triggering social dilemmas in which working toward a common goal is impeded by selfish interests. One such dilemma is mitigating runaway climate change. To study the social aspects of climate-change mitigation, we organized an experimental game and asked volunteer groups of three different sizes to invest toward a common mitigation goal. If investments reached a preset target, volunteers would avoid all consequences and convert their remaining capital into monetary payouts. In the opposite case, however, volunteers would lose all their capital with 50% probability. The dilemma was, therefore, whether to invest one's own capital or wait for others to step in. We find that communicating sentiment and outlook helps to resolve the dilemma by a fundamental shift in investment patterns. Groups in which communication is allowed invest persistently and hardly ever give up, even when their current investment deficits are substantial. The improved investment patterns are robust to group size, although larger groups are harder to coordinate, as evidenced by their overall lower success frequencies. A clustering algorithm reveals three behavioral types and shows that communication reduces the abundance of the free-riding type. Climate-change mitigation, however, is achieved mainly by cooperator and altruist types stepping up and increasing contributions as the failure looms. Meanwhile, contributions from free riders remain flat throughout the game. This reveals that the mechanisms behind avoiding collective risks depend on an interaction between behavioral type, communication, and timing.
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    Marine wild-capture fisheries after nuclear war
    (2020) Scherrer, Kim J.N.; Harrison, Cheryl S.; Heneghan, Ryan F.; Galbraith, Eric; Bardeen, Charles G.; Coupe, Joshua; Jägermeyr, Jonas; Lovenduski, Nicole S.; Luna, August; Robock, Alan; Stevens, Jessica; Stevenson, Samantha; Toon, Owen B.; Xia, Lili
    Nuclear war, beyond its devastating direct impacts, is expected to cause global climatic perturbations through injections of soot into the upper atmosphere. Reduced temperature and sunlight could drive unprecedented reductions in agricultural production, endangering global food security. However, the effects of nuclear war on marine wild-capture fisheries, which significantly contribute to the global animal protein and micronutrient supply, remain unexplored. We simulate the climatic effects of six war scenarios on fish biomass and catch globally, using a state-of-the-art Earth system model and global process-based fisheries model. We also simulate how either rapidly increased fish demand (driven by food shortages) or decreased ability to fish (due to infrastructure disruptions), would affect global catches, and test the benefits of strong prewar fisheries management. We find a decade-long negative climatic impact that intensifies with soot emissions, with global biomass and catch falling by up to 18 ± 3% and 29 ± 7% after a US-Russia war under business-as-usual fishing-similar in magnitude to the end-of-century declines under unmitigated global warming. When war occurs in an overfished state, increasing demand increases short-term (1 to 2 y) catch by at most ∼30% followed by precipitous declines of up to ∼70%, thus offsetting only a minor fraction of agricultural losses. However, effective prewar management that rebuilds fish biomass could ensure a short-term catch buffer large enough to replace ∼43 ± 35% of today's global animal protein production. This buffering function in the event of a global food emergency adds to the many previously known economic and ecological benefits of effective and precautionary fisheries management.
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    Reply to Bhowmik et al.: Democratic climate action and studying extreme climate risks are not in tension
    (Washington, DC : National Acad. of Sciences, 2022) Kemp, Luke; Xu, Chi; Depledge, Joanna; Ebi, Kristie L.; Gibbins, Goodwin; Kohler, Timothy A.; Rockström, Johan; Scheffer, Marten; Schellnhuber, Hans Joachim; Steffen, Will; Lenton, Timothy M.
    [no abstract available]