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Gleeson, T., Wang‐Erlandsson, L., Porkka, M., Zipper, S.C., Jaramillo, F., Gerten, D., Fetzer, I., Cornell, S.E., Piemontese, L., Gordon, L.J. and Rockström, J., 2020. Illuminating water cycle modifications and Earth System resilience in the Anthropocene. Water Resources Research, 56(4), p.e2019WR024957
Fresh water—the bloodstream of the biosphere—is at the center of the planetary drama of the Anthropocene. Water fluxes and stores regulate the Earth's climate and are essential for thriving aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, as well as water, food, and energy security. But the water cycle is also being modified by humans at an unprecedented scale and rate. A holistic understanding of freshwater's role for Earth system resilie...
Singh, C., Wang-Erlandsson, L., Fetzer, Rockström, J., et.al. 2020. Rootzone storage capacity reveals drought coping strategies along rainforest-savanna transitions. Environ. Res. Lett. 15 124021, https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/abc377
Climate change and deforestation have increased the risk of drought-induced forest-to-savanna transitions across the tropics and subtropics. However, the present understanding of forest-savanna transitions is generally focused on the influence of rainfall and fire regime changes, but does not take into account the adaptability of vegetation to droughts by utilizing subsoil moisture in a quantifiable metric. Using rootzone stor...
Staal, A., Fetzer, I., Wang-Erlandsson, L., Bosmans, J.H.C., Dekker, S.C. et.al. 2020. Hysteresis of tropical forests in the 21st century. Nat Commun 11, 4978 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-18728-7
Tropical forests modify the conditions they depend on through feedbacks at different spatial scales. These feedbacks shape the hysteresis (history-dependence) of tropical forests, thus controlling their resilience to deforestation and response to climate change. Here, we determine the emergent hysteresis from local-scale tipping points and regional-scale forest-rainfall feedbacks across the tropics under the recent climate and...
Gerten, D., Heck, V., Jägermyr, J., Bodirsky, B., L., Fetzer, I., et.al. 2020. Feeding ten billion people is possible within four terrestrial planetary boundaries. Nat Sustain (2020) doi:10.1038/s41893-019-0465-1
Global agriculture puts heavy pressure on planetary boundaries, posing the challenge to achieve future food security without compromising Earth system resilience. On the basis of process-detailed, spatially explicit representation of four interlinked planetary boundaries (biosphere integrity, land-system change, freshwater use, nitrogen flows) and agricultural systems in an internally consistent model framework, we here show t...
Journal / article
Lade, S.J., Steffen, W., de Vries, W., Carpenter, S.R., Donges, J.R., et.al. 2019. Earth system interactions amplify human impacts on planetary boundaries. Nature Sustainability
The planetary boundary framework presents a ‘planetary dashboard’ of humanity’s globally aggregated performance on a set of environmental issues that endanger the Earth system’s capacity to support humanity. While this framework has been highly influential, a critical shortcoming for its application in sustainability governance is that it currently fails to represent how impacts related to one of the planetary boundaries affec...
Lenton, T.M., Rockström, J., Gaffney, O., Rahmstorf, S. et.al. 2019. Climate tipping points - too risky to bet against. Nature Comment, Vol. 575
Politicians, economists and even some natural scientists have tended to assume that tipping points1 in the Earth system — such as the loss of the Amazon rainforest or the West Antarctic ice sheet — are of low probability and little understood. Yet evidence is mounting that these events could be more likely than was thought, have high impacts and are interconnected across different biophysical systems, potentially committing th...
Boltz, F., Poff, N.L., Folke, C., Kete, N. et.al. 2019. Water is a master variable: Solving for resilience in the modern era. Water Security Volume 8, December 2019, 100048
Resilience is increasingly recognized as an imperative for any prospect of sustainable development, as it relates to our ability to sustain human well-being and progress under the planetary and societal changes that we face now and into the future. Yet, we are ill-prepared to meet this challenge. We neither fully understand nor manage consistently for resilience of the human and natural systems that we must steward through ext...
Lade, S.J., Norberg, J., Anderies, J.M.,, Beer, C. et.al. 2019. Potential feedbacks between loss of biosphere integrity and climate change. Global Sustainability, Volume 2 2019, e21. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/sus.2019.18
Individual organisms on land and in the ocean sequester massive amounts of the carbon emitted into the atmosphere by humans. Yet the role of ecosystems as a whole in modulating this uptake of carbon is less clear. Here, we study several different mechanisms by which climate change and ecosystems could interact. We show that climate change could cause changes in ecosystems that reduce their capacity to take up carbon, further a...
Sachs, J.D., Schmidt-Traub, G., Mazzucato, M., Messner, D., Nakicenovic, N., Rockström, J. 2019. Six Transformations to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, Nature Sustainability volume 2, pages 805–814 (2019)
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change call for deep transformations in every country that will require complementary actions by governments, civil society, science and business. Yet stakeholders lack a shared understanding of how the 17 SDGs can be operationalized. Drawing on earlier work by The World in 2050 initiative, we introduce six SDG Transformations as modular building-block...
Piemontese, L., Fetzer, I., Rockström, J., Jaramillo, F. 2019. Future hydroclimatic impacts on Africa: beyond the Paris Agreement. Earth's Future, Volume7, Issue7, July 2019, Pages 748-761
Projections of global warming in Africa are generally associated with increasing aridity and decreasing water availability. However, most freshwater assessments focus on single hydroclimatic indicators (e.g., runoff, precipitation, or aridity), lacking analysis on combined changes in evaporative demand, and water availability on land. There remains a high degree of uncertainty over water implications at the basin scale, in par...
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