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Volume 3 Number 16:  2 August 2000

Editorial
Temperature Reconstructions Based on Plant-Climate Interactions Are Inaccurate If Atmospheric CO2 Varied Over the Period of Reconstruction: We present the salient points of a recent review of the scientific literature that demonstrates that biologically-based reconstructions of earth's terrestrial surface air temperature history that do not account for the effects of atmospheric CO2 enrichment and/or depletion on plant physiological processes must unavoidably fall short of their intended mark of faithfully representing reality.

Journal Reviews
Standard Shelters or Boreholes: Which Provides a Better Record of Earth's Surface Air Temperature History?  The Portugal Story: An analysis of borehole and surface air temperature records from mainland Portugal give conflicting results for the temperature history of that region of the world since 1856.

Documenting Changes in Glaciers: A state-of-the-art description of glacier image analysis suggests that we do not have enough good data in hand "to address critical problems pertinent to the world's economic and environmental health."

Rising CO2 Concentrations Help Plants Adapt to Rising Temperatures: Plant physiological processes are attuned to respond to changes in atmospheric CO2 concentration in ways that enable them to cope with dramatic changes in earth's surface air temperature when concomitant changes of the same type (increases or decreases) occur in the air's CO2 concentration, such as have typically occurred over glacial-interglacial cycles and as have occurred over the course of the Industrial Revolution.

C3 and C4 Plant Responses to Elevated CO2 and Water Stress: Increases in the air's CO2 content may alleviate the effects of water stress in C4 plants more than in C3 plants, which are often photosynthetically more responsive to elevated CO2 than are C4 plants.  These competing responses could well lead to neither type of plant having a competitive advantage over the other in a world of rising atmospheric CO2 concentration.

Photosynthetic and Growth Responses of Field-grown Potato to Elevated CO2: In spite of experiencing photosynthetic acclimation, field-grown potatoes exposed to elevated concentrations of atmospheric CO2 maintained consistently higher rates of net photosynthesis and produced more and heavier tubers than plants grown at ambient CO2 concentrations.