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Concept: Decade


Sea surface temperature (SST) records are subject to potential biases due to changing instrumentation and measurement practices. Significant differences exist between commonly used composite SST reconstructions from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Extended Reconstruction Sea Surface Temperature (ERSST), the Hadley Centre SST data set (HadSST3), and the Japanese Meteorological Agency’s Centennial Observation-Based Estimates of SSTs (COBE-SST) from 2003 to the present. The update from ERSST version 3b to version 4 resulted in an increase in the operational SST trend estimate during the last 19 years from 0.07° to 0.12°C per decade, indicating a higher rate of warming in recent years. We show that ERSST version 4 trends generally agree with largely independent, near-global, and instrumentally homogeneous SST measurements from floating buoys, Argo floats, and radiometer-based satellite measurements that have been developed and deployed during the past two decades. We find a large cooling bias in ERSST version 3b and smaller but significant cooling biases in HadSST3 and COBE-SST from 2003 to the present, with respect to most series examined. These results suggest that reported rates of SST warming in recent years have been underestimated in these three data sets.

Concepts: Present, Time, Measurement, Oceanography, Data set, Gas, Sea surface temperature, Decade


Ocean models predict a decline in the dissolved oxygen inventory of the global ocean of one to seven per cent by the year 2100, caused by a combination of a warming-induced decline in oxygen solubility and reduced ventilation of the deep ocean. It is thought that such a decline in the oceanic oxygen content could affect ocean nutrient cycles and the marine habitat, with potentially detrimental consequences for fisheries and coastal economies. Regional observational data indicate a continuous decrease in oceanic dissolved oxygen concentrations in most regions of the global ocean, with an increase reported in a few limited areas, varying by study. Prior work attempting to resolve variations in dissolved oxygen concentrations at the global scale reported a global oxygen loss of 550 ± 130 teramoles (10(12) mol) per decade between 100 and 1,000 metres depth based on a comparison of data from the 1970s and 1990s. Here we provide a quantitative assessment of the entire ocean oxygen inventory by analysing dissolved oxygen and supporting data for the complete oceanic water column over the past 50 years. We find that the global oceanic oxygen content of 227.4 ± 1.1 petamoles (10(15) mol) has decreased by more than two per cent (4.8 ± 2.1 petamoles) since 1960, with large variations in oxygen loss in different ocean basins and at different depths. We suggest that changes in the upper water column are mostly due to a warming-induced decrease in solubility and biological consumption. Changes in the deeper ocean may have their origin in basin-scale multi-decadal variability, oceanic overturning slow-down and a potential increase in biological consumption.

Concepts: Scientific method, Oxygen, Water, Hypoxia, Quantitative research, Ocean, Decade, Deep sea


Video and computer games for education have been of interest to researchers for several decades. Over the last half decade, researchers in the health sector have also begun exploring the value of this medium. However, there are still many gaps in the literature regarding the effective use of video and computer games in medical education, particularly in relation to how learners interact with the platform, and how the games can be used to enhance collaboration.

Concepts: Medicine, Video game, Game, Video game genres, Decade, Personal computer game, LittleBigPlanet, PDP-1


BACKGROUND: The question of how many marine species exist is important because it provides a metric for how much we do and do not know about life in the oceans. We have compiled the first register of the marine species of the world and used this baseline to estimate how many more species, partitioned among all major eukaryotic groups, may be discovered. RESULTS: There are ∼226,000 eukaryotic marine species described. More species were described in the past decade (∼20,000) than in any previous one. The number of authors describing new species has been increasing at a faster rate than the number of new species described in the past six decades. We report that there are ∼170,000 synonyms, that 58,000-72,000 species are collected but not yet described, and that 482,000-741,000 more species have yet to be sampled. Molecular methods may add tens of thousands of cryptic species. Thus, there may be 0.7-1.0 million marine species. Past rates of description of new species indicate there may be 0.5 ± 0.2 million marine species. On average 37% (median 31%) of species in over 100 recent field studies around the world might be new to science. CONCLUSIONS: Currently, between one-third and two-thirds of marine species may be undescribed, and previous estimates of there being well over one million marine species appear highly unlikely. More species than ever before are being described annually by an increasing number of authors. If the current trend continues, most species will be discovered this century.

Concepts: Biodiversity, Species, Decade


An understanding of past hydroclimatic variability is critical to resolving the significance of recent recorded trends in Australian precipitation and informing climate models. Our aim was to reconstruct past hydroclimatic variability in semi-arid northwest Australia to provide a longer context within which to examine a recent period of unusually high summer-autumn precipitation. We developed a 210-year ring-width chronology from Callitris columellaris, which was highly correlated with summer-autumn (Dec-May) precipitation (r = 0.81; 1910-2011; p < 0.0001) and autumn (Mar-May) self-calibrating Palmer drought severity index (scPDSI, r = 0.73; 1910-2011; p < 0.0001) across semi-arid northwest Australia. A linear regression model was used to reconstruct precipitation and explained 66% of the variance in observed summer-autumn precipitation. Our reconstruction reveals inter-annual to multi-decadal scale variation in hydroclimate of the region during the last 210 years, typically showing periods of below average precipitation extending from one to three decades and periods of above average precipitation, which were often less than a decade. Our results demonstrate that the last two decades (1995-2012) have been unusually wet (average summer-autumn precipitation of 310 mm) compared to the previous two centuries (average summer-autumn precipitation of 229 mm), coinciding with both an anomalously high frequency and intensity of tropical cyclones in northwest Australia and the dominance of the positive phase of the Southern Annular Mode.

Concepts: Regression analysis, Linear regression, Precipitation, Climate, Econometrics, Multivariate adaptive regression splines, Tropical cyclone, Decade


This article proposes explanations for the transformation of American families over the past two centuries. I describe the impact on families of the rise of male wage labor beginning in the nineteenth century and the rise of female wage labor in the twentieth century. I then examine the effects of decline in wage labor opportunities for young men and women during the past four decades. I present new estimates of a precipitous decline in the relative income of young men and assess its implications for the decline for marriage. Finally, I discuss explanations for the deterioration of economic opportunity and speculate on the impact of technological change on the future of work and families.

Concepts: Present, Time, Male, Future, Gender, Past, Centuries, Decade


Herbs and spices have been used for both culinary and medicinal purposes for centuries. Over the last decade, research into their role as contributors of dietary polyphenols, known to possess a number of properties associated with reducing the risk of developing chronic non-communicable diseases, has increased. However, bearing in mind how these foods are consumed, normally in small quantities and in combination with other foods, it is unclear what their true benefit is from a health perspective. The aim of this review is to use the literature to discuss how preparative and digestive processes, bioavailability and interactions between foods may influence the bioactive properties of these foods, and whether or not polyphenols are responsible for these properties. Furthermore, this review aims to highlight the challenges that need to be addressed so as to determine the true benefits of these foods and the mechanisms of action that underpin their purported efficacy.

Concepts: Health care, Medicine, Health insurance, Nutrition, Herb, Digestion, Polyphenol antioxidant, Decade


Research on the neurobiological and behavioral effects of oxytocin (OT), as well as on its possible therapeutic applications, has intensified in the past decade. Accurate determination of peripheral OT levels is essential to reach meaningful conclusions and to motivate, support and inform clinical interventions. Different, but concordant, methods for measuring plasma OT have been developed over the past four decades, but since 2004 several commercially available methods have been favored in research with humans. Evaluation of these methods reveals that they lack reliability when used on unextracted samples of human fluids, and that they tag molecules in addition to OT, yielding estimates that are wildly discrepant with an extensive body of earlier findings that were obtained using methods that are well validated, but more laborious. An accurate, specific, and readily available method for measuring OT that can be adopted as the standard in the field is urgently needed for advances in our understanding of OT’s roles in cognition and behavior.

Concepts: Psychology, Human, Psychometrics, Behavior, Motivation, Human behavior, Behaviorism, Decade


Permafrost peatlands store one-third of the total carbon © in the atmosphere and are increasingly vulnerable to thaw as high latitude temperatures warm. Large uncertainties remain about C dynamics following permafrost thaw in boreal peatlands. We used a chronosequence approach to measure C stocks in forested permafrost plateaus (forest) and thawed permafrost bogs, ranging in thaw age from young (<10 years) to old (>100 years) in two Interior Alaska chronosequences. Permafrost originally aggraded simultaneously with peat accumulation (syngenetic permafrost) at both sites. We found that upon thaw, C loss of the forest peat C is equivalent to ~30% of the initial forest C stock and is directly proportional to the pre-thaw C stocks. Our model results indicate that permafrost thaw turned these peatlands into net C sources to the atmosphere for a decade following thaw, after which post-thaw bog peat accumulation returned sites to net C sinks. It can take multiple centuries to millennia for a site to recover its pre-thaw C stocks; the amount of time needed for them to regain their pre-thaw C stocks is governed by the amount of C that accumulated prior to thaw. Consequently, these findings show that older peatlands will take longer to recover pre-thaw C stocks, whereas younger peatlands will exceed pre-thaw stocks in a matter of centuries. We conclude that the loss of sporadic and discontinuous permafrost by 2100 could result in a loss of up to 24 Pg of deep C from permafrost peatlands. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Concepts: Climate, Alaska, All rights reserved, Coal, Copyright, Peat, Bog, Decade


Organic carbon concentrations have increased in surface waters across parts of Europe and North America during the past decades, but the main drivers causing this phenomenon are still debated. A lack of observations beyond the last few decades inhibits a better mechanistic understanding of this process and thus a reliable prediction of future changes. Here we present past lake-water organic carbon trends inferred from sediment records across central Sweden that allow us to assess the observed increase on a centennial to millennial time scale. Our data show the recent increase in lake-water carbon but also that this increase was preceded by a landscape-wide, long-term decrease beginning already A.D. 1450-1600. Geochemical and biological proxies reveal that these dynamics coincided with an intensification of human catchment disturbance that decreased over the past century. Catchment disturbance was driven by the expansion and later cessation of widespread summer forest grazing and farming across central Scandinavia. Our findings demonstrate that early land use strongly affected past organic carbon dynamics and suggest that the influence of historical landscape utilization on contemporary changes in lake-water carbon levels has thus far been underestimated. We propose that past changes in land use are also a strong contributing factor in ongoing organic carbon trends in other regions that underwent similar comprehensive changes due to early cultivation and grazing over centuries to millennia.

Concepts: Present, Time, Agriculture, Future, Sweden, Millennium, Decade, Century