Unequivocal. That is how the sixth report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) described humanity’s influence on the warming of the atmosphere, ocean, and land. The first part of the latest report summarizes 14,000 recent scientific studies on the issue.
There was nothing incidental about the choice of words: the IPCC precisely defines the terms it adopts. For example, an event is characterized as “very likely” if the chance that it will occur is between 90% and 100%. The same rigor is applied to causal associations: the Earth’s climate system has warmed; human activity impacts the climate system; the observed increase of greenhouse gases is unequivocally caused by human activity.
Marcos Pivetta, FAPESP’s science editor, clearly presents the main findings of this important report for those who have not been closely following the increasingly urgent issue. A complementary article addresses the need to translate scientific consensus on the gravity of the situation for policy makers and executors.
A diverse range of topics is one of Pesquisa FAPESP’s distinguishing characteristics, and this month’s issue is even more varied than usual. The little-known field of soil analysis is becoming more widely used in investigative police work. An international collaboration has spent five years studying the mystery of the enormous geographic distribution of Koriabo pottery, found from the Caribbean to the lower Amazon region.
Regarding the means of scientific production, the search is on for new ways to assess the quality of articles and the performance of researchers and professors, in an effort to replace widely used bibliometric indicators, such as the h index, which despite being objective, are limited. Sci-Hub, a website used by many members of the international scientific community to bypass publishers’ paywalls, is the subject of a study that suggests that articles downloaded via the site are more cited than others.
Our COVID-19 coverage continues, this month discussing the delta variant and indirect victims of the pandemic—more than 1.5 million children worldwide have lost at least one caregiver.
The science and technology community has dealt with more than its share of sadness these past few months. Starting on page 84, we cover the deaths of philosopher José Arthur Giannotti, political scientist Francisco Weffort, and mathematician Marco Antonio Raupp. Just before the issue went to press, we learned of the early passing of Ruth Helena Bellinghini, a science journalist who contributed to Pesquisa FAPESP. The team offers its condolences to all of their friends and families.
To end on a more optimistic note, the interview with art historian Aracy Amaral is thought-provoking on several levels. The interviewee, a specialist in Brazilian cultural movements with an emphasis on modernism, reflects on her long career, identifying important objects of study in art history all around her. She discusses cultural dialogues (or the absence thereof) within Brazil and between the country and Latin America and Africa. Finally, she talks about the 1922 Week of Modern Art, which will feature as a commemorative exhibition at the São Paulo Museum of Modern Art in celebration of its 100th year, which she is co-curating.Republish