How does rising atmospheric CO2 affect marine organisms?

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Last Interglacial Warmth of the Entire Arctic
CAPE-Last Interglacial Project Members. 2006. Last Interglacial Arctic warmth confirms polar amplification of climate change. Quaternary Science Reviews 25: 1383-1400.

What was done
The 25 authors of this major review paper "present," in their words, "quantitative estimates of circum-Arctic Last Interglaciation (LIG) summer air and sea-surface temperatures reconstructed from proxy records preserved in terrestrial and marine archives," including beach morphology, beetles, benthic foraminifera, chironomids, coccoliths, δD, δ18O, dinocysts, insects, invertebrates, Mg/Ca ratio, mollusks, nanofossils, needles, ostracodes, planktic foraminifera, plant microfossils, pollen, soils, spores, tephra, and treeline position.

What was learned
The research team reports that "quantitative reconstructions of LIG summer temperatures suggest that much of the Arctic was 5C warmer during the LIG than at present." With respect to the impacts of this warmth, they say that Arctic summers of the LIG "were warm enough to melt all glaciers below 5 km elevation except the Greenland Ice Sheet, which was reduced by ca 20-50% (Cuffey and Marshall, 2000; Otto-Bliesner et al., 2006)." In addition, they note that "the margins of permanent Arctic Ocean sea ice retracted well into the Arctic Ocean basin and boreal forests advanced to the Arctic Ocean coast across vast regions of the Arctic currently occupied by tundra."

What it means
As we wrote in our review of the study of Frechette et al. (2006), if there is anything unusual or unprecedented about current Arctic temperatures, as the world's climate alarmists are fond of claiming when spinning their biosphere-threatening global warming scenarios, it is that they are so much lower than they were during the last interglacial; and if the Arctic behaves anything like the Antarctic in this regard, one can extend this relationship back in time through three more interglacials (Petit et al., 1999; Augustin et al., 2004.). Clearly, therefore, the Arctic was much warmer than it is today throughout several periods of earth's history; and the planet's many current life forms fared just fine during all of them ... else, of course, they wouldn't be here today!

Augustin, L., Barbante, C., Barnes, P.R.F., Barnola, J.M., Bigler, M., Castellano, E., Cattani, O., Chappellaz, J., Dahl-Jensen, D., Delmonte, B., Dreyfus, G., Durand, G., Falourd, S., Fischer, H., Fluckiger, J., Hansson, M.E., Huybrechts, P., Jugie, G., Johnsen, S.J., Jouzel, J., Kaufmann, P., Kipfstuhl, J., Lambert, F., Lipenkov, V.Y., Littot, G.C., Longinelli, A., Lorrain, R., Maggi, V., Masson-Delmotte, V., Miller, H., Mulvaney, R., Oerlemans, J., Oerter, H., Orombelli, G., Parrenin, F., Peel, D.A., Petit, J.-R., Raynaud, D., Ritz, C., Ruth, U., Schwander, J., Siegenthaler, U., Souchez, R., Stauffer, B., Steffensen, J.P., Stenni, B., Stocker, T.F., Tabacco, I.E., Udisti, R., van de Wal, R.S.W., van den Broeke, M., Weiss, J., Wilhelms, F., Winther, J.-G., Wolff, E.W. and Zucchelli, M. 2004. Eight glacial cycles from an Antarctic ice core. Nature 429: 623-628.

Frechette, B., Wolfe, A.P., Miller, G.H., Richard, P.J.H. and de Vernal, A. 2006. Palaeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 236: 91-106.

Petit, J.R., Jouzel, J., Raynaud, D., Barkov, N.I., Barnola, J.-M., Basile, I., Bender, M., Chappellaz, J., Davis, M.., Delaygue, G., Delmotte, M., Kotlyakov, V.M., Legrand, M., Lipenkov, V.Y., Lorius, C., Pepin, L., Ritz, C., Saltzman, E. and Stievenard, M. 1999. Climate and atmospheric history of the past 420,000 years from the Vostok ice core, Antarctica. Nature 399: 429-436.

Reviewed 1 November 2006