How does rising atmospheric CO2 affect marine organisms?

Click to locate material archived on our website by topic

Carbon Sequestration in Ecosystems Across China
Mu, Q., Zhao, M., Running, S.W., Liu, M. and Tian, H. 2008. Contribution of increasing CO2 and climate change to the carbon cycle in China's ecosystems. Journal of Geophysical Research 113: 10.1029/2006JG000316.

What was done
The authors used "a well-documented daily ecosystem process model Biome-BGC (Running and Hunt, 1993; White et al., 2000; Thornton et al., 2002) to differentiate the effects of changing climate and increasing CO2 on the carbon cycle for terrestrial China for two time periods, 1961-2000 (present conditions), and future (2071-2110) conditions with projected climate change under doubled CO2."

What was learned
In the words of the five researchers, "during 1961-2000 at the national scale, changes in climate reduced carbon storage in China's ecosystems, but increasing CO2 compensated for these adverse effects of climate change, resulting in an overall increase in the carbon storage of China's ecosystems," while "under the future scenario (2071-2110), with a doubling [of] CO2, China will experience higher precipitation and temperature," but once again "the concomitant doubling of CO2 will continue to counteract the negative effects of climate change on carbon uptake in the future, leading to an increase in carbon storage relative to current levels."

What it means
Throughout the foreseeable future, the net effect of a warmer, wetter and CO2-enriched environment bodes well indeed for the both the natural and agricultural ecosystems of the world's most populous country, as net ecosystem production rises ever higher and the greening of the earth that began with the Industrial Revolution continues its inexorable onward and upward march through both space and time.

Running, S.W. and Hunt, E.R. 1993. Generalization of a forest ecosystem process model for other biomes, Biome-BGC, and an application for global-scale models. In Ehleringer, J.R. and Field, C.B., Eds. Scaling Physiological Processes: Leaf to Globe. Academic Press, San Diego, California, USA, pp. 141-158.

Thornton, P.E. et al. 2002. Modeling and measuring the effects of disturbance history and climate on carbon and water budgets in evergreen needleleaf forests. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 113: 185-222.

White, M.A. et al. 2000. Parameterization and sensitivity analysis of the BIOME_BGC terrestrial ecosystem model: Net primary production controls. Earth Interactions 4: 1-84.

Reviewed 28 May 2008