AGU Advances

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Volume 5 Issue 2 | May 2024



This issue illustrates the range of advances in Earth and space sciences made possible by the accelerating availability of observations. On the planetary side, papers highlight exciting results from new space missions, from studying Jupiter's magnetosphere, to defining its internal structure, to the potential for discoveries with the new Psyche metallic asteroid mission. Back on Earth, two papers demonstrate the value of combining seismology with geodetic observations and detailed fault displacement mapping to respectively understand connections of fault zone motion across time scales and improve earthquake damage predictions. Three papers deal with different aspects of Earth's carbon cycle - from factors controlling weathering rates, to improving representation of photosynthesis response to drought in models, to highlighting remaining model uncertainties in predicting future soil carbon stocks. Together with a paper suggesting how to improve estimates of damage from future sea-level rise, several papers here underscore the essential nature of Earth observations and provide a backdrop to the commentary preparing for the upcoming Decadal Survey of Earth and Space observations. —Susan Trumbore, Editor in Chief


The Fuzzy Cores of Jupiter and Saturn

New measurements of Jupiter and Saturn show that both planets have dense cores that are gradational (fuzzy) and large, rather than small and compact. Helled and Stevenson

Framing the Next Decadal Survey for a Warming World

The next decadal survey (DS28) will be framed by a rapidly changing world and will be critical to consider observational needs of the 2030s-2040s, a world increasingly dominated by climate extremes. Miner et al.

Preparing to Meet a Metal-Rich Asteroid

The recently launched ‘Psyche’ mission will explore the eponymous asteroid and determine whether it is a fragment of a planetary core or a primordial, metal-rich body. Dibb et al.


Discounting Carbon Gain to Prevent Water Loss Today

A new study introduces a timescale for optimizing tradeoffs between carbon gain and water loss to improve estimates of photosynthesis during prolonged dry spells. Holtzman et al..

Forecasting Earthquake Ruptures from Slow Slip Evolution

A new generation of physics-based models that integrate temporal slip evolution over decades to seconds opens new possibilities for understanding how large subduction zone earthquakes occur. Li and Gabriel

Fault Maturity or Orientation: Which Matters More for Quakes?

Close examination of a 2021 earthquake on the Tibetan Plateau provides hints that, counter to prior assumptions, the influence of fault orientation can sometimes trump that of maturity. Zeng et al.

Where and How Sea-Level Rise Threatens Coastal Areas and Communities

To better understand how sea-level rise threatens coastal areas, scientists propose a new indicator to estimate the risk of coastal flooding under climate change. Moftakhari et al.

Weathering by Water and Erosion in Tropical Volcanic Rock

Links between climate and CO2 removal by volcanic arc rock weathering are elucidated by a close examination of the effects of physical erosion rates, temperature, and streamflow. Moore et al.

Simulating Solar Wind on Jupiter's Dawnside Magnetosphere

A comparison of global simulations with data from NASA's Juno mission reveals a distinct distribution of open flux in Jupiter's dawnside magnetosphere, suggesting the significance of planetary rotation and which may represent a characteristic feature of rotating giant magnetospheres for future exploration. Delamere et al.

Coming to a Consensus on Carbon

A new study describes inconsistencies in how different Earth system models predict soil carbon levels in a warming climate. Shi et al.

Engaging Communities

Community-driven goals and approaches can be more effective pathways to resilience in the face of challenges, like natural hazards and climate change. Semmens et al. [2024] use surveys and ripple effect mapping to assess the success of the CREATE Resilience project, which links art, science, and community engagement to address natural risks in communities. —Mukli Haklay Community Science

Barrier Islands

Coastal systems serve as the first line of defense against sea level rise, but are threatened by coastal development. Anarde et al. [2024a, 2024b] develop a model to show impact of coastal management strategies under different sea level rise scenarios in barrier islands to support coastal communities' planning. —Gonéri Le Cozannet, Earth's Future

Plate Deformation

In two seismic studies, Macgregor et al. [2023] and Dun et al. [2024] reveal the volcanic loads and resulting flexure of the Pacific plate at the Hawaiian Ridge and, surprisingly, show no magmatic underplating. —Emilie Hooft, JGR: Solid Earth

Geomagnetic Storms

During geomagnetic storms, the outer Van Allen radiation belt, made up of very energetic electrons trapped in the Earth’s magnetic field, exhibits large and rapid variations on time scales of minutes to days. In Michael et al. [2024], a global model of the time-varying electric and magnetic fields and plasma density, driven by measured solar wind parameters, was coupled to a novel global test particle model of radiation belt dynamics, including local acceleration and loss to the atmosphere driven by waves not previously included in the global model, to understand the underlying causes of the variability. —Mary K. Hudson, AGU Advances

Planet versus Plastics

The theme of Earth Day in 2024 is Planet vs. Plastics, drawing attention to the impact of plastics on human and planetary health and calling for urgent action from manufacturers, consumers, and policy makers. Many studies published in AGU journals explore the global problem of plastics in the environment. They showcase ways to measure and monitor plastic pollution, model how plastic debris moves around in rivers and the oceans, and explore the impact of plastic pollution on humans, animals, and ecosystems. This collection features AGU articles published on the topic.

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