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 4 | January 2021


AGU Advances launched officially with its first issue in the first quarter of 2020. This year we have seen steady increases in submissions (162 in 2020), and have published a total of 30 papers on topics reaching from the mantle to Saturn, with a good example of the breadth of interesting science in this month’s digest. We look forward to continuing to grow in 2021.

We welcome two new editors to the AGU Advances editorial board. Alberto Montanari from the University of Bologna joined this fall and adds his expertise in hydrology, having just stepped down from his duties as President of the European Geosciences Union (EGU). David Schimel joins in January and will bring broad understanding of ecosystem modeling and remote sensing. He heads the Carbon Cycle and Ecosystems Group at NASA/JPL and has been the long-time editor in chief of the Ecological Society of America journal, Ecological Applications. —Susan Trumbore


Citizen Scientists Observe Mysterious Green Streaks Below STEVE

Citizen scientists provided images of sub-auroral STEVE (Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancements) showing fine-scale green features with narrow streaks propagating poleward toward STEVE. Semeter et al.; Viewpoint by Grandin

Earthquake Hazard Hanging in the Balance

Earthquake hazard calculations for California’s coast are refined with a view of precariously balanced rocks that would have fallen if the largest predicted shaking happened in the past 20,000 years. Rood et al.

More Clustered Clouds Amplify Tropical Rainfall Extremes

Both satellite observations and model simulations reveal that more aggregated convection amplifies the increase in extreme rainfall events on a year-to-year basis. Dai & Soden

Frequency Dependent Plates

Rocks stretch, break, and flow, depending on how and under which conditions they are loaded. A new formulation to better capture Earth’s rheology is explored in the context of plate thickness. Lau, Holtzman, & Havlin

Groove is in the Fault

Rock sliding experiments on meter scales show groove patterns which are controlled by normal stress. This may help better understand earthquake source conditions from exhumed faults. Brodsky, McLaskey, & Ke

High Climatic Response of High-Latitude Forests

The seasonal amplitude of atmospheric CO2 is increasing, partly due to boreal forest responses to warming. Photosynthesis and expansion of boreal forests are shown here to be temperature-limited. Liu et al.

Life in the Chicxulub Crater Years After It Was Formed

While the seas were still churning from the impact and the seawater temperatures were high due to the hydrothermal activity, life was reestablishing itself inside the crater. Bralower et al.; Viewpoint by Norris

Water Stress Controls the Capacity of the Terrestrial Carbon Sink

Despite increased photosynthetic activity at northern latitudes in recent decades, plant productivity in tropical zones suffers because of water limitations. Madani et al.


Floods & Droughts

Prediction of the impact on society of hydrological extremes like floods and drought requires an innovative understanding of the tight two-way links between environment and humans. Di Baldassarre [2020] presents sociohydrological models as competing hypotheses about the way in which humans are impacted by, and respond to, droughts and floods. —Alberto Montanari

Carbon Cycle

Each year a dedicated group of scientists produce an annual summary of the changing carbon cycle. This year's summary (Friedlingstein [2020]) reports estimates of a 3-13% decline in fossil fuel CO2 emissions in 2020, attributed to factors related to COVID-19. —Susan Trumbore

Environment & Health

The Environment and Heart Diseases session at the China Heart Congress [2020] reached up to 3,000 viewers, indicating both the utility of remote conferences and how much attention is being paid to the topic. Environmental factors, such as air pollution and climate change, are found to be robustly associated with heart diseases and associated deaths. —Tong Zhu

Featured AGU Special Collection

Call for Papers: Machine learning for Solid Earth observation, modeling and understanding

Data-driven and computer-based by essence, machine learning opens new opportunities for developments in the geosciences. This collection will bring together papers that demonstrate new science results and progress in applications of machine learning, or data science techniques relevant to the broad array of solid earth topics. Contributions are expected to clearly identify new knowledge or understanding that has arisen or that might arise through machine learning applications as well as the relevant evaluations or validations.

Read the Editor's Vox for this collection: Tackling 21st Century Geoscience Problems with Machine Learning

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