How does rising atmospheric CO2 affect marine organisms?

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Volume 5 Number 3:  16 January 2002

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

Current Editorial
What Would Jesus Do? ... Or Moses, Buddha and Gandhi?: Wouldn't it be great if God would tell us what to do about CO2 and potential global change?  Not to worry!  There are plenty of people who feel fully qualified to speak in Deity's behalf.  But are they justified in doing so?  When someone tells us they know what Jesus or Gandhi would have done about the subject, we wonder if they really know anything at all ... about either science or religion.

Subject Index Summaries
Non-Ozone Air Pollution (Effects on Climate): Although there is no question but what the direct radiative consequence of a rise in the air's CO2 content represents an impetus for warming, many other concurrently-occurring phenomena would well negate that tendency, one of them being the planetary albedo-reducing effects of anthropogenic-produced air pollution.

Stomatal Conductance (Trees): As the air's CO2 concentration rises, the foliage of many trees will exhibit reduced stomatal conductances, leading to greater plant water-use efficiency.  This phenomenon, in turn, should allow forests to expand their ranges into areas where lack of water has previously limited their survival.  Global carbon sequestration will likely increase significantly due to these closely related phenomena.

Carbon Sequestration Commentary
Astute Farm Management Practices Can Significantly Enhance Soil Carbon Sequestration: Working hand-in-hand, farmers and scientists can make a major contribution to the effort to slow the rate-of-rise of the air's CO2 content - not that it's needed to forestall global warming, but because it's one of the best things that can be done to promote soil health.

Current Journal Reviews
Model Simulations of Soil Moisture: A Non-Step in the Right Direction?: An analysis of supposed improvements in land-surface parameterization schemes in a number of GCMs reveals no real progress, where progress is defined as the models' ability to better reproduce real-world observations of soil moisture conditions.

African Rainfall: Climate alarmists warn of extreme changes in various aspects of regional climate (droughts, floods, etc.) due to global warming driven by increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations.  One of the greatest such changes of the past century has been the large decrease in African rainfall, particularly in the Sahel and over the past two decades of "unprecedented" warming.  Is CO2 to blame?  Easier yet, is warming due to anything to blame?

A Thousand-Year History of Chesapeake Bay Climate: Would you believe it gives no hint of the Medieval Warm Period or Little Ice Age?  If so, you would likely qualify to become a climate alarmist.  You would also be wrong.

Effects of Elevated CO2 on Root Dynamics in Loblolly Pine: Loblolly pine trees exposed to 560 ppm CO2 for one year in a FACE experiment located in North Carolina, USA, displayed greater root lengths, diameters and numbers than trees exposed to ambient air, increasing the likelihood of greater soil carbon sequestration in the soils beneath such trees in a CO2-enriched world.

Effects of Elevated CO2 on Gas Exchange in Prairie Plants: After two years of atmospheric CO2 enrichment, many native prairie plants growing on nutrient-poor soils in east-central Minnesota, USA, continued to exhibit enhanced rates of photosynthesis, in spite of severe photosynthetic acclimation.  In addition, all species displayed reductions in stomatal conductance and, consequently, increases in water-use efficiency.