How does rising atmospheric CO2 affect marine organisms?

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The Glacial Climate of Ammassalik Island, Greenland
Mernild, S.H., Kane, D.L., Hansen, B.U., Jakobsen, B.H., Hasholt, B. and Knudsen, N.T. 2008. Climate, glacier mass balance and runoff (1993-2005) for the Mittivakkat Glacier catchment, Ammassalik Island, SE Greenland, and in a long term perspective (1898-1993). Hydrology Research 39: 239-256.

What was done
The authors "describe the climate and observed climatic variations and trends in the Mittivakkat Glacier catchment in Low Arctic East Greenland from 1993 to 2005 ... based on the period of detailed observations (1993-2005) and supported by synoptic meteorological data from the nearby town of Tasiilaq (Ammassalik) from 1898 to 2004."

What was learned
Mernild et al. report that "the Mittivakkat Glacier net mass balance has been almost continuously negative, corresponding to an average loss of glacier volume of 0.4% per year." During the past century of general mass loss, they found that "periods of warming were observed from 1918 (the end of the Little Ice Age) to 1935 of 0.12C per year and 1978 to 2004 of 0.07C per year," and they say that "the warmest average 10-year period within the last 106 years was the period from 1936-1946 (-1.8C)," while the second warmest period was from 1995-2004 (-2.0C). In addition, they note that "also on West Greenland the period 1936-1946 was the warmest period within the last 106 years (Cappelen, 2004)."

What it means
Climate alarmists claim CO2-induced global warming should be expressed most strongly in the Arctic, and that it should be evident there before anywhere else, making the Arctic the "canary in the coal mine" of the climate-alarmist movement. As determined by this study, however, the Little Ice Age in Greenland lasted far longer than it did elsewhere (all the way up to 1918); and the rate of warming from 1918 to 1935 was approximately 70% greater than the rate of warming from 1978 to 2004, in spite of the fact that the mean rate-of-rise of the atmosphere's CO2 concentration over the latter period was nearly five times greater than that of the former period. These facts argue strongly against the historical rise in the atmosphere's CO2 concentration being the cause of either of the two warmings, for we have more rapid warming in the earlier period of slow CO2 rise, and much slower warming in the latter period of rapid CO2 rise.

Cappelen, J. 2004. Yearly Mean Temperature for Selected Meteorological Stations in Denmark, the Faroe Islands and Greenland; 1873-2003. Technical Report 04-07 of the Danish Meteorological Institute, Weather and Climate Information Division, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Reviewed 17 June 2009