How does rising atmospheric CO2 affect marine organisms?

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Volcanoes As Agents of Climate Change
Sadler, J.P. and Grattan, J.P.  1999.  Volcanoes as agents of past environmental change.  Global and Planetary Change 21: 181-196.

What was done
This paper examines a number of issues related to the linking of volcanic activity with various spatial and temporal events in climatic, historical and palaeoecological records.

What was learned
The authors conclude that although volcanoes can have a significant effect on proximal climates, their global impact is less well understood.

What it means
The message of this paper appears to be one of caution in jumping to conclusions about climate change and its connection to volcanic explosions.  The authors state, for example, that "a run of bad summers, an increase in sea ice off America, narrow rings in dendrochronological sequences, and neoglaciations can all be linked to temporally convenient climate forcing by volcanic aerosols."  In addition, they note that "speculation as to the likely effect of these eruptions on fauna and flora and human societies may involve further supposition."  They also point out that "the role of precursor climatic and/or environmental conditions is frequently overlooked" and that "it is valid to question whether the relationships established are fortuitous rather than dependent."  As one of the authors they quote has aptly phrased it, "an eruption here, a destruction there, a plague somewhere else - all are too easily linked in hasty surmise."

With respect to these several comments, it is instructive to read them a second time, substituting for "volcanic aerosols" and "these eruptions" the words "carbon dioxide."  What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

Reviewed 15 January 2000