How does rising atmospheric CO2 affect marine organisms?

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Volume 5 Number 28:  10 July 2002

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

Current Editorial
A Pitiable Ploy to Promote the Kyoto Protocol: Predicted Shutdown of the Marine Thermohaline Circulation: In a recent article in Science magazine, Brian C. O'Neill and Michael Oppenheimer urge immediate implementation of the Kyoto Protocol to prevent what they view as the three most dangerous biospheric impacts of global warming.  We here discuss the third of their trio of planetary meltdown scenarios, exposing the flaws in their specious arguments.

Subject Index Summaries
Agriculture (Species -- Other): A brief review of some of the recently published literature suggests that increases in the air's CO2 content will enhance rates of photosynthesis and biomass production in nearly all agricultural crops, even under stressful environmental conditions.

Droughts (Africa): Each new drought, it seems, serves as grist for the climate alarmist catastrophe mill; and Africa has had some good ones.  But does the continent's drought history provide any evidence that the ongoing rise in the air's CO2 content is exacerbating the situation?

Carbon Sequestration Commentary
Rising Seas Trigger Carbon Sequestration in Tidal Marshes: An important new study adds to the mounting evidence that rising seas promote the sequestration of huge amounts of carbon in the soils of coastal marshes, thereby providing a significant negative feedback to counter potential CO2-induced global warming.

Current Journal Reviews
A Climate Model Reality Check: Out of 23 state-of-the-art climate models trying to pass the "replicate-just-a-part-of-the-real-world" test, one might think that at least one of the models would succeed.  But, as this revealing study shows, if one did think that, one would be thinking wrong.

More Evidence that Algae Help to Regulate Earth's Climate: A 30-month-long study of the role of temperature in driving marine biological activity that results in the production of cloud condensation nuclei that can lead to the creation of more and brighter clouds adds to the mounting evidence for the reality and effectiveness of one of the many ways by which earth's biosphere has the capacity to "put a lid on" global warming.

Organic Vapors from Trees Produce Cloud Condensation Nuclei: This phenomenon adds a whole new dimension to the question of future climate change - like will the planet warm at all if, in the words of the new study's authors, "complex feedback processes involving, for example, the coupling of emissions, radiative balance, and aerosol and cloud formation" conspire to negate the impetus for warming produced by anthropogenic CO2 releases to the air.

Model Simulations of CO2-Induced Growth Responses in N-Poor and N-Rich Grasslands: Will atmospheric CO2 enrichment have a larger impact on the productivity of nitrogen-poor or nitrogen-rich ecosystems?  Model simulations of photosynthesis and biomass production in Lolium perenne grasslands provide the answer.

Differential Effects of Elevated CO2 on Old and New Soil Carbon Pools: The greatest terrestrial reservoir of organic carbon is the soil organic carbon pool.  In this study, the authors investigated how elevated CO2 impacted the movement of carbon into and out of various components of this reservoir in a Mediterranean grassland ecosystem.