Collage of images from the best stories published by Eos in 2021
Credit: (clockwise from top left) Jeremiah Brower, Research Technician, UC San Diego/Scripps Institution of Oceanography; NASA; Karsten Winegeart/Unsplash; Chad Davis, CC-BY-2.0; Benjamin Glass-Siegel/Baltimore Ecosystem Study; Maria Mosyagina/Shutterstock; Nick Farrant; Mary Caperton Morton

What Five Graphs from the U.N. Climate Report Reveal About Our Path to Halting Climate Change. This year’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report is considered by most climate advocates to be the most important one to date. This article about the report pairs excellent analysis with easy-to-grasp charts created by Jenessa Duncombe to guide readers in understanding the dangerous path our planet is on.
Kimberly Cartier, Staff Writer


U.S. Data Centers Rely on Water from Stressed Basins. This article is very relevant to my home state of Oregon, where tensions have flared over how much water Google uses in its data center. Coverage like this is forward looking and relevant to debates that communities are having right now.
Jenessa Duncombe, Staff Writer


A Zen stone balances on a thin leg of ice atop Siberia’s Lake Baikal. Credit: Maria Mosyagina/Shutterstock

An Explanation, at Last, for Mysterious “Zen Stones.” When we asked Nicolas Taberlet why he researched these bizarre rock structures that balance atop thin strips of ice over frozen lakes, he answered, “It’s mostly for the beauty of understanding something interesting.” And if that isn’t the root of so much of what we publish about at Eos, I don’t know what is.
Heather Goss, Editor in Chief


How the Ski Industry Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love Climate Activism. Growing up in upstate New York and seeing the often snow-covered Vermont mountains in the distance, I have a soft spot for the ski industry. This article brings to light how the ski industry, and many people who rely on it for their livelihoods and enjoyment, will suffer if they don’t get behind climate change mitigation efforts (which they now have…for the most part). Jenessa’s article is a cleverly crafted, comprehensive story about the U.S. ski industry’s shift to support climate activism—including financial burdens, water worries, and creative emissions-cutting solutions.
Alexandra K. Scammell, Associate Editor


Water Wisdom: The Indigenous Scientists Walking in Two Worlds. I really enjoyed working with this feature and gathering all the scientist community photos. I believe water quality is very important in a variety of ways for our climate. I like how the Indigenous scientists meet once a year to enjoy their traditional water activities while also doing what is important for their homelands. I love how they work together in communities to do their research but also have fun. It is also interesting to hear each individual’s experience and water studies.
—Valerie Friedman, Senior Graphic Designer


Remembering FLIP, an Engineering Marvel for Oceanic Research. From the opening sentence to the last, this article is full of evocative descriptions and engaging discussions of the science, engineering, and history of one of the most distinctive research vessels ever built—all mixed in with ample personal reflection. (It’s not often you see references to scuttling a ship and Fred Astaire’s dancing mentioned together—but you do here!) I had never heard of FLIP prior to this piece. After reading it, not only did I have a new appreciation for this engineering marvel, but also I felt like I’d been aboard it myself and missed it almost as much as the author does.
Timothy Oleson, Senior Science Editor


I always have a difficult time narrowing down my favorite stories of the year because there is a great selection to choose from. This year, Leaky Pipes Are Dosing Baltimore’s Waterways with Drugs is my top pick. It’s become obvious the damage plastic waste and debris do when they aren’t properly discarded, but I was completely unaware of the potential dangers pharmaceuticals could have on our waterways as well. Richard Sima does a really great job highlighting the larger issue of poor infrastructure and how that has aided in these leaky pipes.
Anaise Aristide, Production and Analytics Specialist


A Tried-and-True Medium to Broaden the Reach of Science. This article came out last January—I had a lot of fun working with the author to pick out photos and video clips.

Voice of the Sea TV makes science fun and relevant, and producing the shows sounds like the best job ever.
—Nancy McGuire, science editor


Don’t Call It a Supervolcano—it’s been here for years. I look forward to every installment of Mary Caperton Morton’s Living in Geologic Time series, but this was my favorite. It’s got it all: charmingly frustrated geologists (“I wish the word supervolcano could be banished from the record”), decolonizing the canon (a reminder that there were, in fact, plenty of Native Americans in Yellowstone before the National Park Service got there), and a reminder that climate, not magma, will probably be the “dominating force of change in Yellowstone” in the years to come. I’m looking forward to more Living in Geologic Time in 2022.
Caryl-Sue, Managing Editor

—AGU

Citation: AGU (2021), The best of Eos 2021, Eos, 102, https://doi.org/10.1029/2021EO210685. Published on [DAY MONTH] 2021.