How does rising atmospheric CO2 affect marine organisms?

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Volume 5 Number 37:  11 September 2002

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

Current Editorial
On Shirking Our Real Environmental Duties: It is currently politically correct, although scientifically incorrect, to demonize the ongoing rise in the air's CO2 content as the mother of all environmental disasters.  In addition to being outright wrong, what is especially disturbing about the hype accorded this bogus threat to the biosphere is that it diverts our attention and resources away from many much more real, immediate and important threats to both humanity and nature.

Subject Index Summaries
Desert Plants: A summary of some of the recently published scientific literature demonstrates that desert plants will likely exhibit increases in photosynthesis, biomass production and water-use efficiency as the air's CO2 content continues to rise.  There are also indications that elevated levels of atmospheric CO2 may enable such plants to better tolerate periods of extreme low temperatures.

Regional Precipitation Trends (Europe): Is real-world precipitation in Europe doing what climate models say it should?

Current Journal Reviews
Storm Trends in the Southern Beaufort Sea: Once again, real-world evidence flies in the face of climate model predictions.

Tree-Ring Widths in Brazil Respond to Solar Forcing of Climate: History repeats itself with another example of cyclically-recurring solar-induced climate change.

Contrasting Effects of Elevated CO2 and Nitrogen Supply on Peatland Productivity: In two parallel studies, the authors investigated the role of elevated CO2 and nitrogen deposition on the growth and dynamics of Sphagnum-dominated bogs in four European countries.

Elevated CO2 Improves Water Use Efficiency of Desert Shrub: As the CO2 content of the air continues to rise, will we see a greening of the American Mojave Desert?  Experimental data continue to point in that direction.

Does the Form of Nitrogen Available to Plants Impact Their Growth Response to Atmospheric CO2 Enrichment?: Earlier this year, many news services ran articles claiming that elevated levels of atmospheric CO2 hampered nitrate incorporation by plants, suggesting that this phenomenon could force a shift in the type of fertilizer used by farmers and change the distribution of plants in natural ecosystems.  Shortly thereafter, we took them to task for being so eager to promulgate this negative message on the basis of but a single study, especially when many other studies reported conflicting evidence.  We here describe another such study.