Highlights in Environmental Sciences 2018

Looking back at the past year to inspire the future: Springer's Editorial Team share a selection of the top downloaded books & articles in 2018, together with their outlook on 2019.

Senior Editor, Dr. Johanna Schwarz on 2018

​​​​​​​Happy New Year from the Environmental Group at Springer!

Although it is a bit odd to start talking about the weather in what is supposed to become an editorial and not small talk, it is actually quite appropriate to do so – after a year of historical weather records. Germany, where I am based, has seen its hottest year since records began 130 years ago – and the fourth driest of all. A number of countries or particular cities in the Northern Hemisphere have reached all-time highs in 2018. For example, Taiwan and the cities of Tbilisi, Yerevan, and Los Angeles, have each reached hottest temperatures ever measured. And on a larger scale, the city of Ouargla in Algeria has reached the all-time hottest temperature measured on the African continent. The southern hemisphere has seen a heatwave in Australia, and the hottest climatological summer on record in New Zealand. All in all, 2018 was a year of weather extremes - which underline global warming nevertheless. 

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Looking at my local region in the southwest of Germany, the extremely hot and dry weather resulted quite positively on fruit harvests; the 2018 wine is expected to be outstanding, and my bees could fly out to collect nectar almost every day this summer, without fearing wet weather.  But these local positive effects came at a high cost at local (and global) level: droughts, increased desertification, water scarcity.

© SpringerTo better understand the scientific basics behind climate change and weather extremes I recommend our recently published book on Climate Change, Extreme Events and Disaster Risk Reduction by Suraj Mal et al., one of our bestsellers in 2018 and published in the newly developed Sustainable Development Goals Series. You might also be interested in the book The Science and Impact of Climate Change by Asheem Srivastav, or Climate Change and Agriculture Worldwide by Emmanuel Torquebiau et al., as well as the topical collection on Climate Effects on Water Resources in our journal Environmental Earth Sciences. Not surprisingly, the by far most downloaded article last year is one on water scarcity footprints. The full portfolio on Springer’s Climate Science publications can be viewed at https://www.springer.com/gp/climate - or tune into the SpringerClimate facebook page.

A particularly hotly debated topic last year was the loss of insects. While people around the world might welcome fewer mosquitoes (or wasps) the issue is indeed a crucial one. Not only does it result in a rather big loss of biodiversity (statistics vary between 45 and 80% of biomass decrease over the last few decades in terms of insects, in certain regions), but it will also affect availability of food – thinking pollination of fruit trees, for example, which heavily rely on insects such as bees, bumblebees, and flies. Whether a future ban of glyphosate will help in this regard is still under debate – but it is definitely a ray of hope in many regards concerning the environment and society.

© SpringerSustainability in every sense is one of the most important goals these days, and one of SpringerNature’s Grand Challenges, in a more focused edition on Sustainable Cities. Nature Sustainability, which launched in January last year, covers a broad spectrum from the natural and social sciences as well as from the fields of engineering and policy. On the book side, Springer has recently published a comprehensive Handbook of Sustainability and Social Science Research by Walter Leal et al. The more specialised Handbook on Marine Environment Protection by Markus Solomon et al. and Freshwater Microplastics by Martin Wagner et al., focus on the protection of the world’s oceans and on environmental contaminants in freshwater, respectively.

With more than 150k downloads clearly one of the most successful books in 2018 was Observing the Volcano World by Carina Fearnly et al. This open-access pool of knowledge with an impressive length of over 700 pages provides a platform for understanding how volcano crisis are managed in practice and is of utmost importance, especially looking at recent events such as the eruptions of Mount Etna on Sicily or Anak Krakatau, followed by a Tsunami on Java’s west coast on December 22nd causing a death toll of almost 400. One of the most downloaded articles in 2018 focused on better understanding another kind of geological hazards: landslides triggered by high precipitation.

© SpringerLast but not least I would like to invite you to keep an eye on our latest publishing outlets such as the book series on Advances in Critical Zone Science, aiming at interdisciplinary studies of the natural processes that shape the critical zone and determine its evolution and the effects of natural and human-induced change, the journal Safety in Extreme Environments, an interdisciplinary platform for safety related aspects of human activity in extreme environments, characterized by high or excessive exposure to cold, heat, pressure, vacuum, voltage, corrosive chemicals, particle and electromagnetic radiation, shock, moisture or contamination, and the International Journal of Energy and Water Resources, focusing on environmental aspects linked to the fields of (new) energies, and availability and protection of water resources worldwide. We welcome your book proposals and article submissions!

Dr. Johanna Schwarz, Senior Editor, Environmental Sciences

10 Most Downloaded Journal Articles

Revisit the Best Environmental Sciences Campaigns from 2018

Environment Special Issues2018

Browse 2018 Environmental Sciences Special Issues in One Site!

All articles from 48 issues are freely accessible and downloadable through January 28. Enjoy! 


OA Book Collection in Environmental Sciences

Click here to browse top-read environment Open Access monographs. Find your favorites and download them to your devices today!


Celebrating World Water Day!

Explore our special collection of water books, series and journals. 

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More 2018 Highlights from Springer's Environmental Sciences

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