How does rising atmospheric CO2 affect marine organisms?

Click to locate material archived on our website by topic


The Urban CO2 Dome and Heat Island of Baltimore (USA)
Reference
George, K., Ziska, L.H., Bunce, J.A. and Quebedeaux, B. 2007. Elevated atmospheric CO2 concentration and temperature across an urban-rural transect. Atmospheric Environment 41: 7654-7665.

What was done
The authors established a transect from Baltimore's city center (urban site) to the outer suburbs of the city (suburban site) that ultimately led to a farm (rural site). At each of these locations, a weather station was established and run for a period of five years, focusing on measurements designed to characterize the city's urban CO2 dome and urban heat island.

What was learned
George et al. report that "atmospheric CO2 was consistently and significantly increased on average by 66 ppm from the rural to the urban site over the five years of the study," and that "air temperature was also consistently and significantly higher at the urban site (14.8C) compared to the suburban (13.6C) and rural (12.7C) sites."

What it means
The researchers state that the increases in atmospheric CO2 and air temperature they observed "are similar to changes predicted in the short term with global climate change, therefore providing an environment suitable for studying future effects of climate change on terrestrial ecosystems," specifically noting that "urban areas are currently experiencing elevated atmospheric CO2 and temperature levels that can significantly affect plant growth compared to rural areas." Consequently, for the 80% of the USA's population that reside in urban areas, the future (environmentally speaking) is now.

Reviewed 30 January 2008