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Volume 5 Number 34:  21 August 2002

Temperature Record of the Week
This issue's Temperature Record of the week is from Amherst, Massachusetts. Visit our U.S. Climate Data section to plot and view these data for yourself.

Current Editorial
The Proclaimed Demise of Ecosystem Carbon Sequestration When Woody Plants Encroach Upon Grasslands in High-Precipitation Regions Has Little Solid Data to Support It: In a recent paper in Nature, Jackson et al. (2002) suggest that "current land-based assessments may overestimate carbon sinks," especially in regions of high mean annual precipitation, concluding that earlier studies that indicated the U.S. carbon budget is approximately balanced "may be premature."  After carefully analyzing their data, however, we conclude it is Jackson et al. who are premature in their pronouncements.

Subject Index Summaries
C4 Plants (Biomass): A review of some of the recent literature indicates that future increases in the air's CO2 concentration will likely lead to increases in the biomass production of most C4 plants, in contradiction of the older orthodoxy that such was unlikely.

Health Effects of CO2: As atmospheric CO2 concentrations rise, we know that plants are directly benefited.  But what about animals?  Are they helped or harmed?  And what about us?  Is the ongoing rise in the air's CO2 content good for our health?  Or is it bad?  In this Summary we review much of what is known about these intriguing subjects.

Carbon Sequestration Commentary
Carbon Sequestration in Soils: Where Measurements Lead, Theory Is Sure to Follow: Theory has often anticipated great discoveries; but real-world data reign supreme, as recent developments in the field of soil science clearly demonstrate.

Current Journal Reviews
Observational History of an Outlet Glacier in Southern Iceland: Just how fast is it wasting away during this period of "unprecedented" global warming?

United States Moisture Conditions Over the Past Century: As the 20th-century world experienced what climate alarmists want us to believe was the most dramatic warming of the past millennium, what happened with respect to moisture availability in the conterminous United States?.

Tuscany Rainfall: Is It Getting More Extreme As the Globe Warms?: Although truncated data sets give a faint hint of increasing rainfall extremes in a small percentage of the stations analyzed, when all available data are included in the analysis, this tendency disappears.

Elevated CO2 Enhances Growth of C4 Plants: There has recently been an accumulation of evidence showing that C4 plants respond positively to increases in the air's CO2 content.  In this paper, the authors review possible mechanisms that could be responsible for facilitating these responses in this type of plant.

Effects of Elevated CO2 on the Decomposition of Litter from Ash and Sycamore Trees: Atmospheric CO2 enrichment has the ability to change the chemical composition of plant litter.  How do these changes affect its decomposition and consumption by woodlouse arthropods?  A study of two-year-old ash and sycamore trees provides some answers.