How does rising atmospheric CO2 affect marine organisms?

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Volume 4 Number 44:  31 October 2001

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

Current Editorial
Anthropogenic CO2 Emissions Could Dramatically Increase Global Agricultural Production By Thwarting the Adverse Effects of Ozone Pollution: As the air's carbon dioxide content continues to rise, great political pressure is being brought to bear upon the nations of the world to reduce their CO2 emissions in response to the stated goal of curtailing global warming.  Such actions, however, are tantamount to biting the hand that feeds us; and they will be our downfall if vigorously pursued.

Subject Index Summaries
Fungi (In Association with Woody Plants): A summary of the recently published literature suggests that increases in the air's CO2 content will enhance fungal colonization of woody species' roots, stimulate the growth of longer fungal hyphae, and increase the volume of soil penetrated by hyphal networks, which should increase soil stability and the transfer of mineral nutrients and water from soil to plant.

Sea Level: In honor of Halloween, we review one of the major horror stories predicted to follow on the heels of predicted CO2-induced global warming, i.e., a predicted increase in sea level that is predicted to be so wicked (large and rapid) that it's predicted to devastate human settlements and natural ecosystems scattered throughout the world's low-lying coastal areas.  Woooooooo ... now that's scary!

Carbon Sequestration Commentary
Planetary Carbon Sequestration: Earth's Biosphere Flexes Its Muscles: Averaged over the globe, the anthropogenic CO2 emission rate has risen nearly 40% over the past two decades, yet the rate at which CO2 is accumulating in the atmosphere has remained constant or even slightly declined.  Why?

Current Journal Reviews
More Evidence of Increases in Cloudiness and Snow/Ice Cover: Earth's internal system of checks and balances appears to be functioning well in its natural ability to increase the amount of solar radiation reflected back to space in response to increases in the concentrations of greenhouse gases within its atmosphere.

The Medieval Warm Period in Western Norway: How warm was it?

Carbon Sequestration in CO2-Enriched Forest Understory Trees: Dwarfed by the much bigger trees that overshadow and shade them, forest understory trees have not been expected to contribute much to the carbon sequestering prowess of forests.  However, a new study of sapling photosynthesis under conditions of intermittent sunlight and shade suggests that their role in this effort has been greatly underestimated.

Respiratory Responses of Loblolly Pine and Sweetgum to Elevated CO2: In a forest FACE experiment, elevated CO2 had no effect on the dark respiration rate of loblolly pine, but reduced this parameter slightly in sweetgum trees.  In addition, elevated CO2 had little impact on maintenance respiration in either species, but lowered growth respiration rates in both of them.

Elevated CO2 And High Air Temperature: How Do They Affect Plant Pollen Germination?: You've got to know by now that when we ask a question like this one, the historical rise in the air's CO2 content is going to end up smelling like a rose ... and that it's probably going to ameliorate any harm that might possibly be caused by potential future warming.