How does rising atmospheric CO2 affect marine organisms?

Click to locate material archived on our website by topic

Volume 3 Number 5:  1 March 2000

The Deceit of Sustainability: We review the concept of environmentally sustainable economies-which suggests that all environmental impacts of businesses are bad-and find it lacking with respect to the demonstrably beneficial biological effects of atmospheric CO2 enrichment.

Journal Reviews
Cyclone Frequencies in the Southern Hemisphere: In what they say is "arguably the most reliable analysis of Southern Hemisphere cyclone variability under taken to date," the authors find that cyclone numbers have experienced a "remarkable decrease" in recent years that is "associated with a warming Southern Hemisphere."

Tropical Cyclones and Global Climate Change: A review of what we know about tropical cyclones and global warming suggests that there is simply no connection between the two phenomena.

Hail and Thunderstorms in the United States: An analysis of records from 66 first-order weather stations distributed across the United States reveals a decline in both thunder-days and hail-days over the past fifty years to values that are the lowest of the past century.  Indeed, hail-days have dropped to only 65% of what they were at mid-century; and they have been accompanied by a decline in national hail insurance losses.

In Search of Past El Niņos: A four-and-a-half-century record of El Niņo events derived from studies of stalagmites taken from a cave in Madagascar reveal earth's recent spate of El Niņos to be not at all unusual.

Mass Balance of the Antarctic Ice Sheet: An Assessment of Yearly Ice Accumulation: New assessments of yearly ice accumulation over Antarctica are 7 to 18% greater than what has been believed for the past 15 years; but it is still unknown whether ice losses are greater or smaller than the new ice accumulation figures.

Biological Carbon Sequestration in the World's Oceans: Intensive sampling of nutrients and oxygen in the North and South Atlantic and Pacific oceans over the past half-century reveals trends of increasing biological productivity in the surface waters of the Northern Hemisphere over this period of increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations.

Are Greenhouse Gas Emissions Enhancing Ocean Productivity?: Recent research provides evidence that marine N2 fixation may be greater than what has previously been believed.  This finding harmonizes with the recent finding that export production in some of the world's oceans has probably been increasing for the past fifty years.  Both of these phenomena could well be linked to increasing industrial emissions of nitrous oxides and carbon dioxide over this period.

Some (Birds) Like It Hot: Based on twenty years of observations, the authors conclude that if the region of southern Norway warms by 2.5°C, the population of a certain songbird there will increase by over 50%.

Emerging Diseases in Coral Reefs: A literature review of the characteristics of coral reef diseases suggests that the recent upswing in their prevalence may be due to a reduced ability of corals to protect themselves from dangerous microbes.  This reduced protective ability is linked to unfavorable changes in coastal ocean water quality.  The same phenomenon may also be reducing corals' ability to withstand warmer water temperatures; and the additional stress of enhanced disease prevalence may be doing the same.

The Presence of People Negatively Affects Corals: A study of the impacts of scuba divers on coral reefs off the Caribbean island of Bonaire suggests that the presence of people has several negative impacts on coral health.  Most of these deleterious effects render corals more susceptible to other stresses, such as global warming, implying that rising temperatures may not, in and of themselves, be the primary cause of increasing incidences of coral bleaching.