ACP guidelines for the title, abstract, and concluding section

ACP allows some flexibility in the structure of articles. Nevertheless, we ask all authors to adhere to the following guidelines for particular components of the article. To be considered for publication, all articles must convincingly demonstrate important implications for our understanding of the state and behaviour of the atmosphere and climate, in particular with appropriate text in the concluding section.

Article title

Titles should be concise and consistent with the content and purpose of the article. For research articles, ACP prefers titles that highlight the scientific results/findings or implications of the study. Examples of preferred result- and implication-based titles:

  • Observed relationship between aerosol emissions and cloud albedo over the Atlantic (neutral)
  • Increases in aerosol enhance cloud albedo over the Atlantic (definite)
  • Increases in aerosol since 2010 enhanced global mean cloud albedo by 20% (quantitative)
  • Aerosol-cloud brightening and the implications for climate sensitivity (neutral)
  • Recent changes in aerosol-cloud brightening imply reduced climate sensitivity (definite)

Examples of less-preferred titles that highlight only the topic or method are given below. Authors may be asked to convert articles with a methodological title to a Technical Note:

  • An exploration of the effect of aerosol on cloud properties
  • Machine learning to understand aerosol effects on clouds
  • Aerosol effects on clouds in the European climate model


Abstracts should have fewer than 250 words and provide a concise and accessible summary of the purpose, results, and implications of the research. ACP expects that abstracts will normally include the following components:

  1. The topic of the article and why it is important;
  2. The status of scientific understanding;
  3. The gap in knowledge being addressed;
  4. The objectives, questions, or hypotheses of the study;
  5. The approach such as modelling, measurements, machine learning, etc.;
  6. The main results with important quantitative information, if appropriate;
  7. The importance and implications of the results.

An example abstract based on this structure is given below (numbers not to be included). Any of the components can be expanded as appropriate while keeping a balance of all components:

1) Aerosol radiative forcing of climate is one of the largest uncertainties in historical climate change, and this uncertainty affects future climate projections. 2) Previous modelling studies have shown that the forcing depends almost entirely on the magnitude of anthropogenic emissions. 3) However, this result fails to explain why similar emissions cause different forcings in the 1980s compared to the present day. 4) Here, we aim to explain the cause of this difference by accounting for the effects of temperature on aerosol processes. 5) We use a global climate model driven by the latest emission dataset and constrained by global satellite measurements of aerosol optical depth. 6) The results show that an increase in global mean temperature of 1 K causes a reduction in aerosol lifetime in the atmosphere of 30% due to an increased removal rate by precipitation. 7) This sensitivity means that future changes in climate are unlikely to respond linearly to changes in aerosol emissions.

Concluding section

Every article must have a final section where the overall advances are concisely summarized and put in context. Although the results section may include some discussion, a synthesis and interpretation must appear in the final section. ACP expects that the concluding section will normally include the following components, although not necessarily in separate paragraphs:

  • Summary: Summarize the main results and relate them to the objectives, questions, or hypotheses of the study. The summary should include the main quantitative results.
  • Synthesis/interpretation: Explain and interpret the results concisely to enable readers to make sense of them as a whole.
  • Comparison and context: Compare the results with previous studies to put them in context. Explain consistencies, inconsistencies, and advances in knowledge.
  • Caveats and limitations: State how these affect confidence in the overall results, and where future work is needed.
  • Implications: Discuss what the results mean for our understanding of the state and/or behaviour of the atmosphere and climate, which is the main requirement for publication in ACP. The editor's acceptance/rejection decision will be strongly guided by this component of the concluding section.