11/15/2023: Early humans in East Asia relocated due to changing climate

About 1.3 million years ago, climate swings and resulting changes in vegetation likely pushed early humans to relocate from sites on the southeastern Chinese Loess Plateau, according to new research in Geophysical Research Letters. Credit: Stefan Wagener

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Featured Research

Early humans in East Asia relocated due to changing climate
During the mid-Pleistocene climate transition, around 1.26 million years ago, changes in climate likely caused early humans to relocate in pursuit of food and shelter. Archaeological evidence suggests that early humans moved to sites that were forested with easy access to water as opposed to exposed and resource-poor areas. [Geophysical Research Letters research]

First earthquake warning system made entirely from artificial intelligence
The Ensemble Earthquake Early Warning System (E3WS) uses machine learning to detect earthquakes, locate their epicenters, and estimate their magnitude from the first three seconds of seismic activity. The E3WS will provide users with the extra seconds necessary to take actions to reduce personal disaster risk. [JGR Solid Earth research]

Aquifer “memory” causes subsidence to shift in California
Historic groundwater pumping in western California led to dramatic subsidence, which made that region less susceptible to drought-driven subsidence today, a new study finds. Southern California is now experiencing the highest rates of subsidence in the state because of drought, but both regions will soon see record-breaking subsidence because of ongoing groundwater depletion. [Water Resources Research research]

Drier soils will bring more iron and phytoplankton to the Pacific Ocean
As temperatures rise, global desertification will increase the amount of dust blown to the Pacific Ocean. This dust contains iron, a necessary nutrient for phytoplankton growth. As a result, climate change will likely increase phytoplankton growth in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, but other nutrient deficiencies will curb growth in other areas of the Pacific. [Geophysical Research Letters research]

A wavier jet stream won’t cause stronger temperature extremes after all
Rapid warming in the Arctic may cause the atmospheric jet stream to slow down and meander, which previous studies suggest could lead to long-lasting extreme temperatures. New research finds that while the jet stream will likely meander as expected, temperature anomalies will be less extreme than previous predicted. [Geophysical Research Letters research]

Climate tipping points could be triggered by “committed warming”
As the planet warms, climate tipping points, such as the loss of the Amazon rainforest, become increasingly likely. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions won’t be enough to avoid tipping points, as the greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere will continue to warm Earth. New research suggests a net-zero emissions approach is necessary to avoid catastrophe. [Earth’s Future research] [Eos research spotlight]

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