DeConto’s Paper on Sea-Level Rise Ranks as Most Featured in Media in 2016

Robert DeConto
Robert DeConto

Robert DeConto, geosciences, and co-author Penn State climate scientist David Pollard’s March 2016 paper, “Contribution of Antarctica to past and future sea-level rise,” has been named the climate paper most featured in the media last year by, a U.K.-based website covering the latest developments in climate science, climate policy and energy policy.

Carbonbrief specializes in “clear, data-driven articles and graphics to help improve the understanding of climate change, both in terms of the science and the policy response,” publishing “a wide range of content, including science explainers, interviews, analysis and factchecks, as well as daily and weekly email summaries of newspaper and online coverage.”

The editors say, “Every year, thousands of scientific journal papers are published by researchers across the world, but only a tiny proportion make it into the pages of the newspapers. Using Altimetric, a London-based information tracking firm, Carbonbrief compiled a list of the 25 most talked-about climate papers of 2016.

Altimetric scores academic papers based on how many times they’re mentioned in online news articles and on social media platforms. DeConto and Pollard’s article was the highest scoring of the year, with an Altimetric tally of 2,716.

In it, the researchers reported that Antarctica has the potential to contribute more than one meter of sea level rise by 2100 and more than 15 meters by 2500 if greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated. 

Carbonbrief points out, “The paper had more coverage in the news than another other climate paper published in 2016. It was featured in 386 news stories and was covered by, among 271 outlets in total, the BBC, Guardian, MailOnline, Independent, Huffington Post, New York Times, Washington Post and The New Yorker.

Its compilers add, “The study made a particular splash in the U.S. after a further analysis published in August by the real estate firm Zillow reported that 1.8 m of sea level rise by 2100 could put 2 million American homes underwater. The paper – not the news stories – was also tweeted from 369 accounts and posted on 16 Facebook walls. Overall, the paper’s score puts it in the top 5 percent of all journal articles in the Altimetric database.”



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