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WIREs Clim Change
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A bibliometric analysis of climate engineering research

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The past five years have seen a dramatic increase in the number of media and scientific publications on the topic of climate engineering, or geoengineering, and some scientists are increasingly calling for more research on climate engineering as a possible supplement to climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies. In this context, understanding the current state of climate engineering research can help inform policy discussions and guide future research directions. Bibliometric analysis—the quantitative analysis of publications—is particularly applicable to fields with large bodies of literature that are difficult to summarize by traditional review methods. The multidisciplinary nature of the published literature on climate engineering makes it an ideal candidate for bibliometric analysis. Publications on climate engineering are found to be relatively recent (more than half of all articles during 1988–2011 were published since 2008), include a higher than average percentage of nonresearch articles (30% compared with 8–15% in related scientific disciplines), and be predominately produced by countries located in the Northern Hemisphere and speaking English. The majority of this literature focuses on land‐based methods of carbon sequestration, ocean iron fertilization, and solar radiation management and is produced with little collaboration among research groups. This study provides a summary of existing publications on climate engineering, a perspective on the scientific underpinnings of the global dialogue on climate engineering, and a baseline for quantitatively monitoring the development of climate engineering research in the future. WIREs Clim Change 2013, 4:417–427. doi: 10.1002/wcc.229

DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of NOAA, the Department of Commerce, or the US Government.

Conflict of interest: The authors have declared no conflicts of interest for this article.

Number of articles published on climate engineering per year for all methods (a) and for each method (b).
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Coauthor network of climate engineering articles. Nodes are sized based on article productivity (range: 1–39). Node colors are based on the results of a community detection algorithm and indicate research groups. Edges are sized based on the number of collaborative articles between authors (range: 1–9) and colored based on the color of the nodes they connect. Labels indicate the research area of authors in each cluster; ‘SRM’ denotes solar radiation management.
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Bibliographic coupling network of climate engineering articles. Node diameters are proportional to article citation counts (range: 0–956). Node colors depict the results of a community detection algorithm and indicate the topic of articles in each cluster. Clusters are labeled based on manual inspection of the articles in each cluster. ‘SRM’ denotes solar radiation management; teal nodes located between the red and pink clusters are articles on the effects of afforestation on Earth's albedo. Edges are sized based on bibliographic coupling strength (range: 3–65) and colored based on the color of the nodes they connect.
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Approximate percentage of articles with at least one author from each country in climate engineering and related disciplines (1988–2011) by English‐speaking countries (a) and non‐English‐speaking countries (b). Because of collaborative articles between countries, the sums of these percentages exceed 100%.
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Number of climate engineering articles published per country (1988–2011).
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Approximate percentage of articles per WoS‐defined article type on climate engineering and in related scientific disciplines (1988–2011).
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