While a relationship between environmental forcing and influenza transmission has been established in inter-pandemic seasons, the drivers of pandemic influenza remain debated. In particular, school effects may predominate in pandemic seasons marked by an atypical concentration of cases among children.

A new data set of landslides that caused loss of life in Latin America and the Caribbean in the 10-year period from 2004 and 2013 inclusive has been compiled, providing new insight into the impact of landslides in this key part of the world. This data set indicates that in the 10-year period a total of 11 631 people lost their lives across the region in 611 landslides. The geographical distribution of the landslides is highly heterogeneous, with areas of high incidence in parts of the Caribbean (most notably Haiti), Central America, Colombia, and southeast Brazil.

An analysis of the climate impact of various forms of beef production is carried out, with a particular eye to the comparison between systems relying primarily on grasses grown in pasture ('grass-fed' or 'pastured' beef) and systems involving substantial use of manufactured feed requiring significant external inputs in the form of synthetic fertilizer and mechanized agriculture ('feedlot' beef). The climate impact is evaluated without employing metrics such as ${\mathrm{CO}}_{2}{\rm{e}}$ or global warming potentials. The analysis evaluates the impact at all time scales out to 1000 years.

Climate strongly influences global wildfire activity, and recent wildfire surges may signal fire weather-induced pyrogeographic shifts. Here we use three daily global climate data sets and three fire danger indices to develop a simple annual metric of fire weather season length, and map spatio-temporal trends from 1979 to 2013. We show that fire weather seasons have lengthened across 29.6 million km2 (25.3%) of the Earth’s vegetated surface, resulting in an 18.7% increase in global mean fire weather season length.

For many species, geographical ranges are expanding toward the poles in response to climate change, while remaining stable along range edges nearest the equator. Using long-term observations across Europe and North America over 110 years, we tested for climate change–related range shifts in bumblebee species across the full extents of their latitudinal and thermal limits and movements along elevation gradients.

The quality of diets in rodent feeding trials is crucial. We describe the contamination with environmental pollutants of 13 laboratory rodent diets from 5 continents. Measurements were performed using accredited methodologies. All diets were contaminated with pesticides (1-6 out of 262 measured), heavy metals (2-3 out of 4, mostly lead and cadmium), PCDD/Fs (1-13 out of 17) and PCBs (5-15 out of 18). Out of 22 GMOs tested for, Rounduptolerant GMOs were the most frequently detected, constituting up to 48% of the diet.

Surface weather conditions are closely governed by the large-scale circulation of the Earth’s atmosphere. Recent increases in the occurrence of some extreme weather phenomena have led to multiple mechanistic hypotheses linking changes in atmospheric circulation to increasing probability of extreme events. However, observed evidence of long-term change in atmospheric circulation remains inconclusive.

The prevalence of childhood overweight and obesity has risen substantially worldwide in less than one generation. In the USA, the average weight of a child has risen by more than 5 kg within three decades, to a point where a third of the country’s children are overweight or obese. Some low-income and middle-income countries have reported similar or more rapid rises in child obesity, despite continuing high levels of undernutrition.

Climate change is putting infrastructure, food supply, water resources, ecosystems, and human health at risk. These risks will be exacerbated depending on the degree of additional greenhouse gas emissions. Urgent action is needed to limit the severity of impacts associated with further warming. British Columbia (BC) has taken action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from carbon-based fuels by introducing a carbon tax in 2008. As an innovative approach to climate change mitigation, especially in North America, studies evaluating its effectiveness are valuable.

Urbanization, a major driver of global change, profoundly impacts our physical and social world, for example, altering not just water and carbon cycling, biodiversity, and climate, but also demography, public health, and economy. Understanding these consequences for better scientific insights and effective decision-making unarguably requires accurate information on urban extent and its spatial distributions.

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