Research highlight

Climate Change: Future under fire

Nature Climate Change

February 25, 2020

A series of Comments and Correspondences about the recent Australian bushfires is published this week in Nature Climate Change . These pieces, accompanied by an Editorial, explore the fires’ impacts and the associated global response.

As of mid-January 2020, the Australian bush fires have burnt over 10 million ha across the southern half of the continent. The unprecedented nature of the fires has had major consequences for human wellbeing, infrastructure and wildlife.

In a Comment, Ben Sanderson and colleagues consider the latest climate models and whether they would have been able to predict the fires in New South Wales. In another Comment, Lauren Rickards and James Watson discuss the impacts of the fires on current climate change research and how scientists and institutions may need to rapidly adapt to these events.

In a Comment, Lesley Head explores whether the fires will lead to climate action, or if they will be considered the new normal. Further pieces discuss the damage done to the forest biome and look at the natural climate patterns that bring rain to the region. A Correspondence from Henriette Jager and Charles Coutant examines the global response to the bushfires. They contrast the actions of individuals to aid injured wildlife, such as knitting boots for koalas, with what is needed to mitigate climate change to ensure protection of species and biodiversity.

An accompanying Editorial states “Australia is certainly deserving of compassion and support in the face of the fires. At the same time, it is worthwhile to pause and acknowledge the other places at the frontlines of climate change and to include their stories in the collective motivation for climate action.”

This press release refers to Nature Climate Change Comment pieces and Correspondences, not a Nature Climate Change research paper or article. Comment pieces are topical, authoritative Op-Eds pertaining to scientific research and its ramifications. The Correspondence pieces provide a forum for comment on papers or discussion of issues relevant to the journal’s community.

doi: 10.1038/s41558-020-0720-5

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