How does rising atmospheric CO2 affect marine organisms?

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Volume 4 Number 48:  28 November 2001

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

Current Editorial
The Variable Energy Output of the Sun Appears to Be the Major Determinant of Decadal- to Millennial-Scale Global Climate Change: In a paper posted in Science magazine's "Science Express" ( on 15 November 2001, Lamont-Doherty's Gerard Bond and nine other scientists from the United States, Germany and Switzerland present a stunning array of evidence in support of what many people have long believed - but have been unable to prove - about the role of the sun in orchestrating global climate change here on earth.

Subject Index Summaries
FACE Experiments (Trees): Our review of several atmospheric CO2 enrichment studies performed with modern FACE technology suggests that earth's trees and forests will exhibit enhanced rates of photosynthesis, biomass production and carbon sequestration as the air's CO2 content continues to rise.

Streamflow: On 11 October 2000, we published a Summary of Streamflow Journal Reviews based on two scientific articles that indicated there had been no unusual changes in this parameter over the past century in the United States, contrary to what climate alarmists and certain political forces would like us to believe.  One year and five additional articles later, not much has changed, in either the real world of nature or the virtual world of IPCC politicos.

Carbon Sequestration Commentary
Elevated CO2 May Slow Plant Decomposition Rates, Increasing Soil Carbon Storage: The title says it all.  Besides stimulating plants to produce more biomass, atmospheric CO2 enrichment often induces them to produce tissues that are more resistant to physical, chemical and biological degradation.

Current Journal Reviews
Ecological Changes in Tropical Montane Cloud Forests: Harbingers of Global Warming?: As highly-climate-sensitive cloud forest ecosystems in certain parts of the world experience disruptions that mimic what models of CO2-induced global warming suggest should be happening, are we catching an early glimpse of the folly of our fossil-fueled ways?

The Medieval Warm Period in Greenland: Telltale traces of the past presence of long-dead seabirds speak to us of times when the forbidding shores of East Greenland beckoned them to take up seasonal residence there.

Interactive Effects of Elevated CO2 and Temperature on Rice: Rice plants grown at ambient air temperatures were unresponsive to atmospheric CO2 enrichment.  However, when ambient air temperatures were raised by 2C, atmospheric CO2 enrichment enhanced total plant biomass by 22%.  Thus, for this particular cultivar, global warming would definitely be a good thing.

Interactive Effects of Elevated CO2 and Temperature on Quercus myrsinaefolia Saplings: Elevated CO2 ameliorated high temperature-induced photosynthetic depression in evergreen oak saplings, which contributed to significant CO2-induced percentage enhancements of biomass that actually grew larger with increasing air temperature.

Effects of Elevated CO2 on Oak Seedlings Germinated from Acorns Produced on Ambient and CO2-Enriched Trees: Life-long atmospheric CO2 enrichment of holm oak trees led to greater biomass responsiveness to atmospheric CO2 enrichment in their progeny, thus indicating that positive acclimation to elevated CO2 can occur between generations in this particular species and possibly others.