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Volume 1 Number 6:  1 December 1998

Editorial
First, Do No Harm!: In a recent "News and Views" item in "Nature", David G. Victor of the Council on Foreign Relations muses about various strategies for slowing global warming (Victor, 1998)...

Journal Reviews
Ice Stream Movement in West Antarctica: Recently declassified satellite photography data reveal large dynamic changes in the characteristics of a major ice stream flowing into the Ross Ice Shelf of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, but they are not sufficient to resolve the question of the Ice Sheet's stability.

Climate Models Get Better, But Still Have Long Way to Go: The authors of this paper developed a coupled ocean-atmosphere climate model of intermediate complexity that requires no flux adjustments.  Although it performed several functions admirably, it was still described by its creators as but a "first step" to developing a "complete climate-system model."

Comparisons of Climate and Atmospheric CO2 Changes During the Last Glacial Period: A comparison of climate fluctuations inferred from Greenland ice cores with atmospheric CO2 variations inferred from Antarctic ice cores over the period 47-17 thousand years ago produced no evidence of any climate change driven by changes in atmospheric CO2 concentration.

Probing the Climatic Secrets of the Great Barrier Reef: Climate reconstructions based upon studies of coral skeletons from the Great Barrier Reef, Australia, suggest that sea surface temperatures there approximately 5350 years ago were a full 1C warmer than those of the present.  Since the atmospheric CO2 concentration at that time was much lower than it is now, this finding suggests that the warming of the past century need not have been driven by the concomitant rise in the air's CO2 content.

Long-Term Effect of Elevated CO2 and Disturbance on a Pasture: Two reviews of the state of our knowledge of past millennial-scale climate oscillations reveal our lack of understanding of the mechanisms that may be responsible for them, highlighting the danger of believing too strongly that we know where earth's climate is headed in the next century or two.

Responses of 12 Grassland Species to Long-Term Elevated CO2: Exposure of multiple genotypes of 12 fertile grassland species to doubled atmospheric CO2 concentration for three years in FACE plots located in Switzerland indicated that legume species were more responsive than non-legume dicots, which were more responsive than monocot grasses.  This CO2 responsiveness varied seasonally and between years.  However, no significant CO2 interactions were detected among genotypes for any given species, indicating that elevated CO2 would likely not act as a natural selective factor amongst them.

Interactions Between Nitrogen, Water and Elevated CO2 for Six Perennial Plants: Six perennial plants common to The Netherlands were grown at different combinations of CO2, soil nitrogen and soil moisture for up to two years.  In general, elevated CO2 stimulated biomass production at high soil nitrogen, but not at low soil nitrogen.  In addition elevated CO2 increased plant water-use efficiency, with greater increases occurring with high soil nitrogen.

Effects of Fungi on Biodiversity: Total plant biomass production and plant biodiversity increased with an increase in the number of different arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi species in artificial ecosystems representative of a European calcareous grassland and a North American abandoned successional field.