How does rising atmospheric CO2 affect marine organisms?

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South China Sea Surface Temperatures Since 1943
He, X., Liu, D., Peng, Z. and Liu, W. 2002. Monthly sea surface temperature records reconstructed by 18O of reef-building coral in the east of Hainan Island, South China Sea. Science in China Series B 45: 130-136.

What was done
Stable oxygen isotopic data acquired from a core of Porites lutea coral from the east of Hainan Island in the South China Sea were used to develop a 56- year (1943-1998) history of sea surface temperature in that region.

What was learned
Very simply, in the words of the authors, sea surface temperature in the 1940s "was warmer than that in the 1980s-1990s," and by as much as 1.5C.

What it means
This observation is just another example of the fact that great portions of the world, including most of the Arctic, most of the Antarctic and much of North America, are no warmer now than they were some 50 to 70 years ago [see Temperature (Trends - Regional: Arctic, Antarctica) in our Subject Index, as well as our U.S. Climate Data section].

Reviewed 14 April 2004