How does rising atmospheric CO2 affect marine organisms?

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Volume 5 Number 31:  31 July 2002

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

Current Editorial
Responses of Agricultural Crops to Free-Air CO2 Enrichment: Thirteen years ago, a group of visionary scientists conducted the world's first large-scale free-air CO2 enrichment experiment in an Arizona cotton field; and from that pioneering effort has come a whole new approach to global change research, with upwards of thirty scientific consortiums now employing the same technology to determine how everything from deserts to forests responds to rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations.  A recent review of what has been learned about agricultural crops within this context forms the basis of this week's editorial.

Subject Index Summaries
Feedback Factors (Biophysical): There are a host of different ways in which various components of the biosphere tend to mitigate global warming, some of which are driven by increases in air temperature and some of which are driven by increases in the air's CO2 content.  We here review a number of recent papers that describe several of these phenomena.

Frost Hardiness: A review of some of the recent literature suggests we still have much to learn about the effects of elevated atmospheric CO2 concentrations on frost hardiness in plants.

Current Journal Reviews
Global Warming and Tick-Borne Encephalitis: Will the former lead to more of the latter?

Aerosol Effects on Clouds: Are they significant?  And if they are, are they of global or only regional significance?

The Effect of Atmospheric CO2 Enrichment on Drought Survivorship in Woody Legumes: In desert grasslands, high temperatures and low soil moisture contents often reduce the survivability of woody-plant seedlings.  How will the rising CO2 content of earth's atmosphere impact this phenomenon?

Cryptobiotic Crusts and CO2: Good News for Deserts: Seemingly insignificant crusts of algae that form on the surfaces of desert soils flex their photosynthetic muscles when they're dished up more of their favorite food: CO2, or as we like to call it, the elixir of life.

Effects of Warming on the Distribution of Vegetation in the United States: Model Simulations: Simulations from both a static and dynamic model produced similar results with respect to potential climate change effects on vegetation density and carbon sequestration in the conterminous United States.  How bad are the results?  Actually, they're quite encouraging.