How does rising atmospheric CO2 affect marine organisms?

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Volume 4 Number 38:  19 September 2001

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

Current Editorial
Human-Induced Destruction of Coral Reefs and Other Coastal Ecosystems: Just as there’s more than one way, as the old saw goes, to skin a cat, so too are there numerous ways to destroy coastal ecosystems – including coral reefs – nearly all of which are manifestly more effective than global warming.

Subject Index Summaries
Little Ice Age – Europe: The Little Ice Age in Europe did not make for many happy campers there.  Sandwiched between the pleasant warmth of today and the even more pleasant warmth of the Medieval Warm Period, it was a time of much cold and snow marked by many storms and floods.

Temperature x CO2 Interaction – Plant Growth Response (Trees): Most of earth’s trees display increases in photosynthesis and biomass production when exposed to elevated levels of atmospheric CO2.  But what happens when air temperature rises concurrently?  In this summary, we survey the recent scientific literature to get a feel for the fate of various woody species under this oft-predicted scenario.

Current Journal Reviews
They’ve Looked at Clouds from Both Sides, Now: And they’re seeing changes from top to bottom.

New England Hurricanes: Climate alarmists predict more and stronger hurricanes as the globe warms.  If it’s warmed as much as they say it has over the past century, we should already be seeing substantial evidence of this phenomenon.  Hence, publication of the historical record of New England hurricanes should be welcome news to them.  Right?

Elevated CO2 Effects on Canopy Transpiration in a Mature Sweetgum Stand: Atmospheric CO2 enrichment generally reduces plant transpiration rates, but considerably less so in trees than in non-woody plants.  In addition, closed tree canopies are typically even less affected in this regard than are individual trees.  Under such conditions there is thus a real question as to whether a mere 150 ppm increase in the air’s CO2 concentration would produce a measurable decrease in whole-stand transpiration.  This was the challenge faced by the authors of this study.

Elevated CO2 Dramatically Increases Seed Yield in an Ancestral Soybean Variety: Elevated CO2 increased seed yield by about 40% in eight different soybean varieties.  However, it enhanced the yield of one ancestral cultivar by approximately 80%, thus indicating the potential for even greater future yields of soybean in CO2-enriched environments if plant breeding programs include this particular variety in their selections.

Effects of Elevated CO2 on Gas Exchange in Sorghum: Elevated CO2 enhanced photosynthetic rates within the C4 grain crop Sorghum bicolor by reducing photorespiratory carbon losses and, perhaps, by reducing carbon leakage from bundle sheath cells, where CO2 is concentrated internally to promote CO2-fixation reactions driven by the enzyme rubisco.