The January 2013 edition of the Climate and development Outlook focuses on Low Emissions Development Strategies (LEDS) and the work CDKN is undertaking with its partners in Central America, Togo, Cameroon, Southeast Asia and India.

Wildfire activity in North American boreal forests increased during the last decades of the 20th century, partly owing to ongoing human-caused climatic changes. How these changes affect regional fire regimes (annual area burned, seasonality, and number, size, and severity of fires) remains uncertain as data available to explore fire–climate–vegetation interactions have limited temporal depth.

In 1965, health authorities in Camberwell, a bustling quarter of London's southward sprawl, began an unusual tally. They started to keep case records for every person in the area who was diagnosed with schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder or any other psychiatric condition. Decades later, when psychiatrists looked back across the data, they saw a surprising trend: the incidence of schizophrenia had more or less doubled, from around 11 per 100,000 inhabitants per year in 1965 to 23 per 100,000 in 1997 — a period when there was no such rise in the general population.

Groundwater is a life-sustaining resource that supplies water to billions of people, plays a central part in irrigated agriculture and influences the health of many ecosystems. Most assessments of global water resources have focused on surface water but unsustainable depletion of groundwater has recently been documented on both regional and global scales. It remains unclear how the rate of global groundwater depletion compares to the rate of natural renewal and the supply needed to support ecosystems.

The recent massive blackouts in India caused many observers of India’s emergence as an economic powerhouse to wonder whether the country’s economic growth can be sustained with a power sector subje

The identification of hydrological drought at global scale has received considerable attention during the last decade. However, climate-induced variation in runoff across the world makes such analyses rather complicated. This especially holds for the drier regions of the world (both cold and warm), where, for a considerable period of time, zero runoff can be observed. In the current paper, we present a method that enables to identify drought at global scale across climate regimes in a consistent manner.

Promotion of physical activity is a priority for health agencies. We searched for reviews of physical activity interventions, published between 2000 and 2011, and identified effective, promising, or emerging interventions from around the world. The informational approaches of community-wide and mass media campaigns, and short physical activity messages targeting key community sites are recommended.

The last deglaciation (21 to 7 thousand years ago) was punctuated by several abrupt meltwater pulses, which sometimes caused noticeable climate change. Around 14 thousand years ago, meltwater pulse 1A (MWP-1A), the largest of these events, produced a sea level rise of 14–18 metres over 350 years. Although this enormous surge of water certainly originated from retreating ice sheets, there is no consensus on the geographical source or underlying physical mechanisms governing the rapid sea level rise.

It has been proposed that fragments of an asteroid or comet impacted Earth, deposited silica-and iron-rich microspherules and other proxies across several continents, and triggered the Younger Dryas cooling episode 12,900 years ago. Although many independent groups have confirmed the impact evidence, the hypothesis remains controversial because some groups have failed to do so. We examined sediment sequences from 18 dated Younger Dryas boundary (YDB) sites across three continents (North America, Europe, and Asia), spanning 12,000 km around nearly one-third of the planet.

Clouds and aerosol particles have bedevilled climate modellers for decades. Now researchers are starting to gain the upper hand.