How does rising atmospheric CO2 affect marine organisms?

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Global Warming and Dengue Fever in Australia
Russell, R.C., Currie, B.J., Lindsay, M.D., Mackenzie, J.S., Ritchie, S.A. and Whelan, P.I. 2009. Dengue and climate change in Australia: predictions for the future should incorporate knowledge from the past. Medical Journal of Australia 190: 265-268.

The authors write that "dengue has emerged as a leading cause of morbidity in many parts of the tropics," also noting that "Australia has had dengue outbreaks in northern Queensland." In addition, they report that "substantial increases in distribution and incidence of the disease in Australia are projected with climate change," or, more specifically, "with increasing temperatures."

What was done
Russell et al. explored the soundness of these projections by reviewing pertinent facts about the history of dengue in Australia.

What was learned
The six scientists determined that the dengue vector (the Aedes aegypti mosquito) "was previously common in parts of Queensland, the Northern Territory, Western Australia and New South Wales," and that it had, "in the past, covered most of the climatic range theoretically available to it," adding that "the distribution of local dengue transmission has [historically] nearly matched the geographic limits of the vector." This being the case, they conclude that ...

What it means
.. the vector's current absence from much of Australia, as Russell et al. describe it, "is not because of a lack of a favorable climate." Thus, they reason that "a temperature rise of a few degrees is not alone likely to be responsible for substantial increases in the southern distribution of A. aegypti or dengue, as has been recently proposed." Instead, they remind everyone that "dengue activity is increasing in many parts of the tropical and subtropical world as a result of rapid urbanization in developing countries and increased international travel, which distributes the viruses between countries." Rather than futile attempts to limit dengue transmission by controlling the world's climate, therefore, the medical researchers recommend that "well resourced and functioning surveillance programs, and effective public health intervention capabilities, are essential to counter threats from dengue and other mosquito-borne diseases."

Reviewed 14 October 2009