AGU Advances

A cross-disciplinary, gold open-access journal publishing full length, high-impact research articles across all of the Earth and space sciences. Submit your research.

Volume 1 Issue 3 | October 2020


The last few months have been difficult for many. With dedicated reviewers and AGU staff working from home, AGU Advances has been able to continue publishing important results. Papers in this, our third issue, mainly address aspects of the climate issues that confront us now, dealing with policy (Shearer et al.), potential feedbacks between a warmed and higher CO2 world on carbon storage (Hanson et al.), how clouds affect the tropical radiation budget (Bony et al.), while a commentary provides a framework for examining aerosol climate sensitivity (Bender).

For a deep time perspective on climate change, new clumped isotope methods demonstrate temperature swings in the Neoproterozoic (Mackey et al.; Macdonald). Papers with novel observations of ocean surface temperature change in the wake of hurricanes and tracking solar storms provide potential for improving weather (Sanabia & Jayne) and space weather predictions (Barnard et al.). In this digest, we also highlight the importance of understanding wildfires, with an Editor’s Pick by Don Wuebbles and with a call for papers about Fire in the Earth System in a new AGU special collection.

Regardless of the topic for research published in AGU Advances, we aim to make the content as accessible and wide-reaching as possible. To that end, we’ve added a new paper type to the enhancements we do (including Editors’ Highlights, plain-language summaries, and press releases): brief jargon-free Viewpoints articles (<1,000 words). Viewpoints accompany original research articles and offer perspective and context for the non-specialist and field expert alike. You can read our first one in this issue, highlighting the work of Mackey et al. that examines the climate swings in the era of the Snowball Earth. We hope you enjoy this and future Viewpoints! —Susan Trumbore


Effects of Particles on Climate Remain Unsettled

Major advances have been made in the understanding of the physics and chemistry of particles, but major uncertainties remain in determining their radiative forcing effects on climate. Bender


Soil Carbon May Not Remain Bogged Down in a Warmer World

Carbon was lost from an experimentally warmed boreal peatland much faster than it took to accumulate. Elevated CO2 had little effect on stored carbon, requiring re-evaluation of model assumptions. Hanson et al.

Can We Observe How Cloud Clustering Affects the Radiation Budget?

Satellite observational analysis confirms that lower-atmospheric stability and cloud clustering are major factors modulating the tropical radiation budget as had been suggested by modeling studies. Bony et al.

Committed U.S. Power Emissions Incompatible with Paris Agreement

Without a significant reduction in usage, committed emissions from coal and gas plants in the United States are already incompatible with the country’s pledges under the Paris climate agreement. Shearer et al.

Measuring Paleoclimate During a Deep-Time Deep Freeze

New application of clumped-isotope thermometry to 700-Myr rocks documents large climate swings related to Snowball Earth glaciation and offers better understanding of an earlier Earth system. Mackey et al.; Viewpoint by Macdonald

What the Upper Ocean Looks Like During a Hurricane and Why It Matters

High-resolution measurements reveal the structure of the upper ocean under a hurricane and its feedback on storm intensity. Sanabia & Jayne

Ensemble Modeling of Coronal Mass Ejection Arrival at 1 AU

Heliospheric imaging data can be used in ensemble modelling of CME arrival time at Earth to improve space weather forecasts, treating the solar wind as a 1-D incompressible hydrodynamic flow. Barnard et al.


Earthquake Swarms

Advances in identifying and precisely locating very small earthquakes are leading to a more complete understanding of the subsurface connectivity of faults and the role that fluids play in changing stability. Ross et al. [2020] apply these techniques to explain enigmatic earthquake swarms. —Tom Parsons

Planetary Geophysics

Shallow boreholes and sounding on the Moon have revealed a complex near-surface structure, but the shallow structure of Mars is essentially unknown. Kenda et al. [2020] use the InSight seismometer to measure how the surface deforms in response to localized changes in atmospheric pressure, and deduce the structure of the top few decameters. —Francis Nimmo

Tectonics & Erosion

Debate rages over how tectonics and erosion interact in actively deforming mountains, with the Namche Barwa massif in the Eastern Himalayan Syntaxis at the center of this controversy. Govin et al. [2020] combine thermokinematic modeling and detrital thermochronology to resolve the timing of this exhumation and argue for efficient coupling between surface and solid-Earth processes. —Peter Zeitler


Record wildfires have occurred recently in California, Oregon and Washington, and last January we learned of wildfires in Australia. What hasn’t received the same publicity are the large number of wildfires occurring this summer in the peatlands surrounding the Arctic circle. Witze [2020] highlights these wildfires and their importance in releasing record levels of carbon dioxide from the carbon that has been stored for many centuries and in some cases, millennia. —Don Wuebbles

Featured AGU Special Collection

Call for Papers: Fire in the Earth System

This collection, spanning 10 AGU journals, will bring together new research on physical and biogeochemical processes associated with landscape fires, implications for human and ecosystem health, effects on water resources and critical infrastructure, fires in the wildland-urban interface, the use of prescribed fire and other mitigation strategies, and modeling efforts to characterize potential future fire regimes in a changing world.

View AGU Advances archives