How does rising atmospheric CO2 affect marine organisms?

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Climate Models Get Better, But Still Have Long Way to Go
Ganopolski, A., Rahmstorf, S., Petoukhov, V. and Claussen, M.  1998.  Simulation of modern and glacial climates with a coupled global model of intermediate complexity.  Nature 391: 351-356.

What was done
In an attempt to overcome some of the Approximations and Limits of prior climate models, the authors developed a coupled ocean-atmosphere climate model of intermediate complexity that uses no flux adjustments.

What was learned
The model of Ganopolski et al. successfully predicted the atmospheric and oceanic circulations, temperature distributions, hydrologic cycles and sea ice covers of both modern and glacial periods of the earth's history.

What it means
Although these results sound impressive, as indeed they are, they by no means should be construed to suggest that climate models can now be used with confidence to correctly predict how the climate of the earth will respond to the ongoing rise in the air's CO2 content.  In the words of the authors, "although our results are highly encouraging, they can only be a first step."  They note, for example, that their model prescribed both the extent of the continental ice sheets and the atmospheric CO2 concentration in both of its predictive modes.  "A complete climate system model," they note, "should be able to predict the growth of ice sheets and the carbon cycle."

Reviewed 1 December 1998