In September–October 2015, El Niño and positive Indian Ocean Dipole conditions set the stage for massive fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo), leading to persistently hazardous levels of smoke pollution across much of Equatorial Asia. Here we quantify the emission sources and health impacts of this haze episode and compare the sources and impacts to an event of similar magnitude occurring under similar meteorological conditions in September–October 2006.

Large-scale biomass plantations (BPs) are often considered a feasible and safe climate engineering proposal for extracting carbon from the atmosphere and, thereby, reducing global mean temperatures. However, the capacity of such terrestrial carbon dioxide removal (tCDR) strategies and their larger Earth system impacts remain to be comprehensively studied—even more so under higher carbon emissions and progressing climate change.

While high-income countries have made significant strides since the 1970s in improving air quality, air pollution continues to rise in many developing countries and the world as a whole. A significant share of the pollution burden in developing countries can be attributed to production for export to consumers in high-income nations. However, it remains a challenge to quantify individual actors' share of responsibility for pollution, and to involve parties other than primary emitters in cleanup efforts.

The high Arctic archipelagos around the globe are among the most strongly glacierized landscapes on Earth apart from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. Over the past decades, the mass losses from land ice in the high Arctic regions have contributed substantially to global sea level rise. Among these regions, the archipelago of Svalbard showed the smallest mass losses. However, this could change in the coming decades, as Svalbard is expected to be exposed to strong climate warming over the 21st century.

The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is the largest agricultural land-retirement program in the United States, providing many environmental benefits, including wildlife habitat and improved air, water, and soil quality. Since 2007, however, CRP area has declined by over 25% nationally with much of this land returning to agriculture. Despite this trend, it is unclear what types of CRP land are being converted, to what crops, and where. All of these specific factors greatly affect environmental impacts.

In recent years climate change and historic fire suppression have increased the frequency of large wildfires in the southwestern USA, motivating study of the hydrological consequences of these wildfires at point and watershed scales, typically over short periods of time. These studies have revealed that reduced soil infiltration capacity and reduced transpiration due to tree canopy combustion increase streamflow at the watershed scale.

The success of China's transition to a low-carbon energy system will be key to achieve the global level of emissions reductions needed to avoid large negative consequences from climate change. China is undergoing an impressive build up of renewable capacity, in particular wind.

India is one of the world's largest food producers, making the sustainability of its agricultural system of global significance. Groundwater irrigation underpins India's agriculture, currently boosting crop production by enough to feed 170 million people. Groundwater overexploitation has led to drastic declines in groundwater levels, threatening to push this vital resource out of reach for millions of small-scale farmers who are the backbone of India's food security.

Humans affect fire regimes by providing ignition sources in some cases, suppressing wildfires in others, and altering natural vegetation in ways that may either promote or limit fire.

The representation of land surface processes and fluxes in climate models critically affects the simulation of near-surface climate over land. Here we present an evaluation of COSMO-CLM2, a model which couples the COSMO-CLM Regional Climate Model to the Community Land Model (CLM4.0). CLM4.0 provides a more detailed representation of land processes compared to the native land surface scheme in COSMO-CLM. We perform historical reanalysis-driven simulations over Europe with COSMO-CLM2 following the EURO-CORDEX intercomparison protocol.