How does rising atmospheric CO2 affect marine organisms?

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Volume 4 Number 18:  2 May 2001

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

Current Editorial
The Importance of Knowledge to Environmental Policy: Most people want to do the right thing for the earth, its environment and the biosphere.  But just what is the "right thing"?

CO2 to the Rescue!: The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is predicting that atmospheric ozone levels could well triple over the next hundred years, severely damaging crops and forests throughout most of the Northern Hemisphere.  But if nature continues on its present course, in terms of upward trends in human ingenuity and atmospheric CO2 concentration, the damage will likely be non-existent.

Subject Index Summaries
Climate History (Geologic Epochs): Evidence from past geologic epochs suggests the climatic impact of the ongoing rise in the air’s CO2 content will be negligible.

Legumes: A review of the recent literature suggests that increases in the air's CO2 content will stimulate the growth of nitrogen-fixing leguminous plants, both in isolation and in mixed-species communities.  The extra nitrogen supplied to natural ecosystems via this means will likely support increased community-level productivity in response to the ongoing rise in the air's CO2 content.

Current Journal Reviews
Non-Uniform and Discontinuous Warming in the Area of the Eastern Mediterranean: Temperature data from eight Eastern Mediterranean cities reveal a number of different trends over the past century, creating difficulties for those who would extract information about regional or global trends from the individual data sets.

Thunderstorm Frequencies in Poland: In analyzing "one of the few continuous records in Europe with an intact single place of observation and duration of over 100 years," the author presents little evidence of any global warming impact on thunderstorm activity.

Elevated CO2 Aids Drought Recovery in Desert Species: In a year-long glasshouse experiment, atmospheric CO2 enrichment reduced the negative effects of drought and high temperature stress on plant water relations and gas exchange in the woody perennial Larrea tridentata, a species common to the Mojave Desert.

The Deleterious Effects of a Major Root Parasite of Rice Are Greatly Reduced by Atmospheric CO2 Enrichment: African rice yields are often decimated by a nefarious parasitic weed.  However, if we continue to increase our CO2 emissions to the atmosphere, farmers in that part of the world – and elsewhere! – will get some important help in combating this problem.

Sub-Optimal Soil Nutrient Status Is Not an Impediment to Plant Growth Stimulation Due to Atmospheric CO2 Enrichment: Contrary to oft-stated claims of those who attempt to discredit the biological benefits of the ongoing rise in the air’s CO2 content, experimental data show nutrient-stressed plants, as often as not, can respond to increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations as much as – or even more than – well-fertilized plants.