Despite evidence from a number of Earth systems that abrupt temporal changes known as regime shifts are important, their nature, scale and mechanisms remain poorly documented and understood. Applying principal component analysis, change-point analysis and a sequential t-test analysis of regime shifts to 72 time series, we confirm that the 1980s regime shift represented a major change in the Earth's biophysical systems from the upper atmosphere to the depths of the ocean and from the Arctic to the Antarctic, and occurred at slightly different times around the world.

Research models are evolving in response to the need for on-the-ground knowledge of climate change impacts on communities. Partnership between researcher and practitioner is vital for adaptive policy efforts. Transdisciplinary research teams present new opportunities by involving academics and local stakeholders, who actively conceive, enact, and apply research on adaptation and mitigation actions. In transdisciplinary research, stakeholders are also researchers.

In a new investigation of model projections of greenhouse gas warming impact on the Mediterranean, Zappa et al (2015 Environ. Res. Lett. 10 104012) find that the decline in basin-wide precipitation scales linearly with the strength of the 850 hPa zonal wind over North Africa. This result supports previous findings that climate change will affect the Mediterranean primarily through changing the regional atmospheric circulation. The results of this study may guide improvements of climate models to better simulate the impact of greenhouse gas warming in this critical world region.

Atmospheric aerosols are of significant environmental importance, due to their effects on air quality, as well as their ability to alter the planet’s radiative balance. Recent studies characterizing the effects of climate change on air quality and the broader distribution of aerosols in the atmosphere show significant, but inconsistent results, including the sign of the effect.

The pens slipped easily across the paper, about every eight minutes. At regular intervals, Heads of State entered the innermost sanctum and solemnly signed their names, committing their nations to the Framework Convention on Climate Change. The year, 1992. The place, the landmark United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, known as the “Earth Summit” at Rio de Janeiro.

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