Earth System Dynamics (ESD) is an international scientific journal dedicated to the publication and public discussion of studies that take an interdisciplinary perspective of the functioning of the whole Earth system and global change. The overall behaviour of the Earth system is strongly shaped by the interactions among its various component systems, such as the atmosphere, cryosphere, hydrosphere, oceans, pedosphere, lithosphere, and the inner Earth, but also by life and human activity. ESD solicits contributions that investigate these various interactions and the underlying mechanisms, ways how these can be conceptualized, modelled, and quantified, predictions of the overall system behaviour to global changes, and the impacts for its habitability, humanity, and future Earth system management by human decision making.
Carbon dioxide, while warming the Earth's surface, cools the atmosphere beyond about 15 km (the middle atmosphere). This cooling is considered a fingerprint of anthropogenic global warming, yet the physical reason behind it remains prone to misconceptions. Here we use a simple radiation model to illustrate the physical essence of stratospheric cooling, and a complex climate model to quantify how strongly different mechanisms contribute.
H. F. Goessling and S. Bathiany
A band of intense rainfall exists near the equator known as the intertropical convergence zone, which can migrate in response to climate forcings. Here, we assess such migration in response to volcanic eruptions of varying spatial structure (Northern Hemisphere, Southern Hemisphere, or an eruption fairly symmetric about the equator). We do this using model simulations of the last millennium and link results to energetic constraints and the imprint eruptions may leave behind in past records.
C. M. Colose, A. N. LeGrande, and M. Vuille
Our analysis allows us to infer maps of changing plant water-use efficiency (WUE) for 1901-2010, using atmospheric observations of temperature, humidity and CO2. Our estimated increase in global WUE is consistent with the tree-ring and eddy covariance data, but much larger than the historical WUE increases simulated by Earth System Models (ESMs). We therefore conclude that the effects of increasing CO2 on plant WUE are significantly underestimated in the latest climate projections.
S. C. Dekker, M. Groenendijk, B. B. B. Booth, C. Huntingford, and P. M. Cox
This paper analyses the behaviour of 12 tributaries of the Río Mamoré and their influence on alluvial plain dynamics. These rivers are extremely active: between 1984 and 2014, 7 of these 12 rivers underwent a total of 41 crevasses and 29 avulsions. Most of the sedimentary load of these rivers is deposited on the alluvial plains before they reach the Mamoré. Crevasses and avulsions are not controlled by ENSO cycles, but rather are the result of intrabasinal processes.
We identify six past revolutions in energy input and material cycling in Earth and human history. We find that human energy use has now reached a magnitude comparable to the biosphere, and conclude that a prospective sustainability revolution will require scaling up new solar energy technologies and the development of much more efficient material recycling systems. Our work was inspired by recognising the connections between Earth system science and industrial ecology at the "LOOPS" workshop.
T. M. Lenton, P.-P. Pichler, and H. Weisz