Special Collection: Challenges in Climate Science

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The latest IPCC assessment report strengthens the conclusion that there is clear human influence on the climate system, such as warming of the atmosphere and oceans. Many aspects of the climate system have changed during the industrial era and are likely to be part of a changing global climate into the foreseeable future. However, large uncertainties remain, mostly because of insufficient observational data and incompletely understood mechanisms.

Commencing with an article in the 24 January issue, this series of Perspectives aims to highlight some of the challenges that now exist in physical climate science and to discuss how they might be overcome in order to provide a more detailed understanding of Earth’s current climate and aid projections of future climate change.

14 March 2014 | PerspectiveSimplicity amid Complexity
Despite the complexity of Earth's climate system, the influence of human activities on climate can be identified and predicted.
28 February 2014 | PerspectiveThe Tropical Pacific Ocean: Back in the Driver's Seat?
Persistent cool conditions in the eastern tropical Pacific may explain the current global warming "hiatus."
21 February 2014 | PerspectiveFrom Past to Future Warming
Analyses of past observations help to predict the human contribution to future climate change.
14 February 2014 | PerspectiveA Drier Future?
Global warming is likely to lead to overall drying of land surfaces.
7 February 2014 | PerspectiveNext Season's Hurricanes
Seasonal predictions of hurricane activity remain challenging, especially at a regional scale.
31 January 2014 | PerspectiveMethane on the Rise—Again
Atmospheric concentrations of the greenhouse gas methane are rising, but the reasons remain incompletely understood.
24 January 2014 | PerspectiveClimate Effects of Aerosols-Cloud Interactions
Advances in satellite observations and model development are needed to disentangle the complex interactions of aerosols and clouds and their effects on climate.

Selected Further Reading

Special Issue
Research Article
Perspectives
Policy Forum
Letters