Special Issue "Natural Drivers of Climate Change: New Frontiers"

A special issue of Climate (ISSN 2225-1154). This special issue belongs to the section "Climate and Environment".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 January 2023 | Viewed by 249

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Ned Nikolov
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station, 240 W. Prospect Rd., Fort Collins, CO 80526, USA
Interests: effect of cloud-albedo variations on climate; drivers of earth’s paleoclimate; quantifying climate sensitivity to radiative and non-radiative forcing
Dr. Arthur Viterito
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
College of Southern Maryland, 8730 Mitchell Road, La Plata, MD, USA
Interests: applied climatology; impacts of mid-ocean geothermal flux on global temperature change; geophysical phenomena related to mid-ocean seismic activity

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We would like to welcome contributions for a Special Issue in the MDPI journal Climate focused on natural drivers of the Earth’s climate. Results from Atmosphere/Ocean General Circulation Models (AOGCMs) highlight the critical role of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions in determining the course of future climatic change. These models, rooted in theory, do not successfully simulate natural phenomena such as ENSO, PDO and AMO. However, recent published research suggests that the natural forcing of climate may have been underestimated and that the lack of proper representation of such forcing in models may be highly consequential for climate projections. For example, studies have shown that cloud albedo has decreased over the past 40 years, and the resulting increase of surface solar radiation is a significant contributor to the observed warming (Herman et al. 2013; Hofer et al. 2017; Pfeifroth et al. 2018; Pokrovsky 2019; Delgado-Bonal et al. 2020; Dübal & Vahrenholt 2021). At the same time, the inability of AOGCMs to predict changes in cloud albedo has been recognized as a leading source of uncertainty in climate projections (Williams et al. 2020; Ceppi & Nowack 2021). Observations and experiments have shown that cloud formation is likely affected by the galactic cosmic ray flux, which is modulated by the Sun’s magnetic activity (Svensmark et al. 2016, 2021). This begs the question: Are observed changes of cloud albedo a feedback response to the CO2-induced global warming, or a primary driver of climate on a multidecadal time scale? Other research has revealed a surprising and not yet fully understood relationship between global temperature and the Earth’s global seismic activity in the mid-ocean spreading zones. Over the past 40 years, global temperature has shown a higher correlation with seismic activity than it has with atmospheric CO2 (Viterito 2019, 2022). The same research also found a high correlation between global temperature and the rate of annual migration of the North Magnetic Pole (Viterito 2017). These results point to a substantial natural forcing not represented in AOGCMs.

The theme of this Special Issue is research addressing measurable natural drivers of climate change that operate on time scales from decades to millennia. Topics of interest include the impacts of cloud albedo, solar variability, changing ocean currents, subaerial and submarine volcanic activity, aerosol loading, geomagnetic dynamics, and Earth–Sun plasmoelectric connections (Birkeland currents) on climate. Also of interest are analyses of global datasets that are currently used to assess the changes of the Earth's climate over the past 170 years. Highly prioritized for inclusion are studies that are empirical in nature and not solely reliant on complex theoretical models. The aim of this Special Issue is to advance our fundamental understanding of natural climate drivers. Original research articles and reviews are welcome.

We look forward to receiving your contributions.

Dr. Ned Nikolov
Dr. Arthur Viterito
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Climate is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • natural climate drivers
  • temperature
  • cloud albedo
  • cloud cover
  • cosmic rays
  • solar activity
  • seismicity
  • volcanism
  • geomagnetism
  • geothermal flux

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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