How does rising atmospheric CO2 affect marine organisms?

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Measuring and Modeling Global Vegetation Growth: 1982-2009
Mao, J., Shi, X., Thornton, P.E., Hoffman, F.M., Zhu, Z. and Myneni, R.B. 2013. Global latitudinal-asymmetric vegetation growth trends and their driving mechanisms: 1982-2009. Remote Sensing 5: 1484-1497.

The authors write that "recently, a new global LAI [leaf area index] product was derived from the NDVI [normalized difference vegetation index] version 3g of the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) for Global Inventory Modeling and Mapping Studies (GIMMS) (GIMMS-LAI3g), providing an unprecedented estimate of monthly to annual distribution of vegetation dynamics over the whole globe (Zhu et al., 2013)."

What was done
The six scientists assessed the historical trends of the global remote-sensing-derived LAI and the prognostic LAI simulated at half-degree spatial resolution by CLM4 (Community Land Model version 4) between 1982 and 2009, with their main objective being "to gain insight into various mechanisms controlling these vegetation tendencies."

What was learned
Mao et al. report that "both the remote-sensing product and CLM4 offline simulations demonstrate significant increasing trends of annual vegetation growth during the last three decades." And they say their factorial experiments indicate that "CO2 fertilization was more important than climate variation in determining the magnitude of the temporal trend in LAI at the global scale, in each hemisphere, and for most of the modeled plant functional types over their study period, in agreement with a previous study using an independently developed model (Piao et al., 2006)."

What it means
The CO2 fertilization effect of the carbon dioxide emitted to the atmosphere by mankind's burning of fossil fuels, such as coal, gas and oil, is beginning to assume its vaulted position of being a tremendous boon to the biosphere, as all of humanity and the entirety of the world's animal life depend ultimately upon having a sufficient supply of plant life to sustain themselves.

Piao, S., Friedlingstein, P., Cias, P., Zhou, L. and Chen, A. 2006. Effect of climate and CO2 changes on the greening of the Northern Hemisphere over the past two decades. Geophysical Research Letters 33: 10.1029/2006GL028205.

Zhu, Z., Bi, J., Pan, Y., Ganguly S., Samanta, A., Xu, L., Anav, A., Piao, S., Nemani, R.R. and Myneni, R.B. 2013. Global data sets of vegetation leaf area index (LAI)3g and Fraction of Photosynthetically Active Radiation (FPAR)3g derived from Global Inventory Modeling and Mapping Studies (GIMMS) Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI3g) for the period 1981 to 2011. Remote Sensing 5: 927-948.

Reviewed 2 October 2013