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May 2010 Archive of Scientific Literature Reviews

Speculations Beyond the Pale of Reality (05 May 2010)
In the introductory material to their paper on potential effects of predicted near-future increases in CO2-driven ocean acidification on shell-producing calcification in a certain species of oyster, Watson et al. (2009) report that over the past two centuries... Read More
Near-Surface Greenland Air Temperatures: 1840-2007 (05 May 2010)
"Using a set of 12 coastal and 40 inland ice surface air temperature records in combination with climate model output," Box et al. say they reconstructed "long-term (1840-2007) monthly, seasonal, and annual spatial patterns of temperature variability over a continuous grid covering Greenland and the inland ice sheet," after which they say... Read More
Conflict and Climate Change in the Tropical Pacific (05 May 2010)
The authors note that it has been repeatedly suggested that in many parts of the world climate change has "encouraged conflict and territorialism," as this response, in their words, "serves as an immediate means of gaining resources and alleviating shortfalls," such as those that occur when... Read More
Carbon Dioxide, Ozone and Soybean Diseases (05 May 2010)
Eastburn et al. write that "globally, soybean is the most widely planted dicot crop and has economic significance due to its wide variety of uses, ranging from food and health products to printing inks and biodiesal [fuels]," but they say that "little to no work has evaluated the influence of future atmospheric conditions on soybean diseases," which seems a bit strange, seeing they add that... Read More
Grassland Root Biomass Response to Atmospheric CO2 Enrichment (05 May 2010)
Anderson et al. studied various root responses of a C3-C4 grassland community at Temple, Texas (USA) over a CO2 concentration gradient stretching from 230 to 550 ppm, which they created in two CO2-gradient above-ground "tunnels" of clear polyethylene film... Read More
Seed Production and Quality in CO2-Enriched Loblolly Pine Trees (05 May 2010)
At the Duke Forest FACE facility in the Piedmont region of North Carolina (USA), which was established in an unmanaged plantation of 13-year-old loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) trees, Way et al. (1) collected in ground traps the seeds released by the trees, (2) counted the number of seeds collected, and... Read More
Climate and the Origin and Demise of Species (07 May 2010)
In an intriguing review paper published in Current Biology, Erwin (2009) takes us on a journey that winds through epochs past and explores the myriad nooks and crannies of contemporary earth, all in a search for the primary trigger of speciation. His conclusion?... Read More
Sea Level Changes of the Past: Portents of the Future (07 May 2010)
In an effort to place some reasonable potential limits (both high and low) on possible future sea-level rise, members of the PALeo SEA Level Working Group (PALSEA) recently looked to the past for some answers... Read More
The Urban Heat Island of Mexicali, Mexico (07 May 2010)
Mexicali City borders the United States at the northern end of Mexico's Baja California. It is an urban settlement that had its beginnings in the first decade of the 20th century. At that point in time it had an area of approximately... Read More
Forest Growth Has Accelerated as the Air's CO2 Content Has Risen (07 May 2010)
The authors state "there are indications that forest biomass accumulation may be accelerating where nutrients and water are not limiting," citing the work of Myneni et al. (1997), Lewis et al. (2004), Lewis et al. (2009), Boisvenue and Running (2006), Delpierre et al. (2009), Salzer et al. (2009) and Chave et al. (2008); and, therefore, they felt it important to... Read More
The Future of Malaria (07 May 2010)
In prefacing their article, Nabi and Qader write that "since malaria is greatly influenced by climatic conditions because of its direct relationship with the mosquito population, it is widely assumed that its incidence is likely to increase in a future warmer world." However, they say this assumption is "quite controversial and strongly debated."... Read More
CO2 and O3 Effects on Two Silver Birch Clones in Finland (07 May 2010)
For a period of three years (1999-2001), Vapaavuori et al. grew 20 initially-seven-year-old individual trees of each of two different silver birch (Betula pendula Roth) clones -- 4 and 80 (V5952 and K1659, respectively, in the Finnish forest genetic register) -- out-of-doors at the Suonenjoki Research Unit site of the Finnish Forest Research Institute within individual open-top chambers maintained at... Read More
The Future of Forest Isoprene Emissions (12 May 2010)
In a paper published in the 17 September 2009 issue of Nature, Kiendler-Scharr et al., as they describe it, "present evidence from simulation experiments conducted in a plant chamber that isoprene can significantly inhibit new particle formation." The significance of this finding derives... Read More
Alaskan and Northwest Canadian Glaciers (12 May 2010)
The authors write that prior efforts to estimate the mass loss of glaciers in Alaska and northwest Canada -- which they refer to as simply Alaskan glaciers -- "have relied on extrapolating site-specific measurements to the entire region," citing the studies of Arendt et al. (2002), Meier and Dyurgerov (2002) and Dyurgerov and Meier (2005). With respect to what they refer... Read More
Floods of the Guadalentin River, Southeast Spain (12 May 2010)
Working in southeast Spain, Benito et al. reconstructed flood frequencies of the Upper Guadalentin River using "geomorphological evidence, combined with one-dimensional hydraulic modeling and supported by records from documentary sources at Lorca in the lower Guadalentin catchment."... Read More
The Future of East Africa in a CO2-Enriched and Warmer World (12 May 2010)
The authors modeled future changes in land biogeochemistry and biogeography in the region bounded by 12.5°N, 12.5°S, 25°E and 42.5°E, representing the whole of East Africa (Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia, and Somalia), as well as portions of Central Africa (the Democratic Republic of Congo and Southern Sudan). This they did using... Read More
High Northern Latitude Carbon Balance Over the 21st Century (12 May 2010)
It has been hypothesized that if or when the frozen soils of earth's Northern High Latitudes (NHLs, land poleward of 60°N) begin to thaw in response to any new spate of global warming that might occur, the metabolism of soil microbes will be enhanced and the decomposition of soil organic matter will accelerate; and it has been further postulated that this, in turn, will lead to... Read More
Orchid Responses to Super-High Atmospheric CO2 Enrichment (12 May 2010)
According to Norikane et al., "the genus Cymbidium comprises about 50 species distributed in tropical and subtropical Asia and Oceania," and "almost all cultivated cymbidiums are hybrids, thin-leaved and with a C3 mode of photosynthesis." In addition,... Read More
Global Warming and Parasitic Diseases of Livestock (20 May 2010)
Writing in Trends in Parasitology, Morgan and Wall (2009) state that "global climate change predictions suggest that far-ranging effects might occur in population dynamics and distributions of livestock parasites, provoking fears of widespread increases in disease incidence and production loss." However... Read More
Three and a Half Decades of North American Great Lakes Ice Cover (20 May 2010)
For the period of time covering the winters of 1972-73 to 2008-09, Wang et al. (2010) present and discuss, among other things, time series of annual average ice area and basin winter average surface air temperature (SAT) for the Great Lakes of North America, which they say "contain about 95%... Read More
Global Warming: A Stratospheric Surprise (20 May 2010)
Solomon et al. (2010) write that "the trend in global surface temperatures has been nearly flat since the late 1990s despite continuing increases in the forcing due to the sum of the well-mixed greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4, halocarbons, and N2O), raising questions regarding... Read More
Birds of the Italian Alps: Their Response to Recent Warming (20 May 2010)
The validity of the climate envelope approach for predicting shifts in species' ranges in response to global warming has come under fire for a number of inherent weaknesses, as discussed by Nogues-Bravo (2009) for all species in general, and by Beale et al. (2008), who demonstrated that... Read More
Trees, Caterpillars, Birds and Climate (20 May 2010)
A reasonable concern about potential global warming is that various links of certain food chains may not respond in a compatible manner in terms of the temporal development of the different stages of their life cycles, leading to a serious mismatch among the unique needs of different ecosystem trophic levels that could well spell disaster for some species, which concept has... Read More
Effects of Elevated CO2 on Salt Tolerance of Barley (20 May 2010)
Perez-Lopez et al. (2010) write that the buildup of salt in soils "can inhibit the growth of valuable crops such as barley," due to the fact that the "osmotic stress caused by low water potential in salinized soils reduces the availability of water for uptake by plants." This stress, however, may... Read More
The Response of Tundra Vegetation to High Arctic Warming (21 May 2010)
In the introduction to their report on the response of High Arctic tundra vegetation to the warming experienced in that part of the world over the past quarter-century, Hudson and Henry (2009) note that the Arctic has warmed by about 1.67deg;C over the past four decades, citing the... Read More
Russian Academician Postulates a Seismicity-Climate Connection (21 May 2010)
O. Molchanov of the Russian Academy of Sciences' Institute of the Physics of the Earth -- which is headquartered in Moscow, Russia -- makes a case for the hypothesis that, at least partially, global climate changes and corresponding activity indices such as the ENSO phenomenon are induced by similar variations in seismicity." This was done by... Read More
Fifteen Hundred Years of Climatic Oscillations in Southern Poland (21 May 2010)
Gasiorowski and Sienkiewicz (2010) inferred the thermal conditions of Smreczynski Staw Lake (49°12'N, 19°51'E) in the Tatra Mountains of southern Poland via analyses of the distributions of various cladocera, chironomid and diatom species they identified and quantified in a sediment core they had extracted from the center of the lake in the spring of 2003, which contained... Read More
The Three Major Determinants of Terrestrial Isoprene Emissions (21 May 2010)
Isoprene is a highly reactive non-methane hydrocarbon (NMHC) that is emitted in copious quantities by vegetation and is responsible for the production of vast amounts of tropospheric ozone, which is a debilitating scourge of plant and animal life alike. It has been calculated by Poisson et al. (2000), for example, that current levels of NMHC emissions may... Read More
Rice Production and the Looming Water Crisis (21 May 2010)
Shimono et al. write that "by 2050, the world's population will have increased by about 37%, from the current level of 6.7 billion to an estimated 9.2 billion (UN, 2009), with a corresponding increase in global food demand." They also state that... Read More
Warming-Induced Mismatches of Breeding in Insectivorous Passerine Birds and Abundance of Prey for their Hatchlings (21 May 2010)
Thomas et al. (2010) write that "the timing of annual breeding is a crucial determinant of reproductive success, individual fitness, and population performance, particularly in insectivorous passerine birds," because "by synchronizing hatching with the narrow time window of maximal food abundance, parents can enhance their reproductive success through an increase in... Read More
Is The Boreal Forest Greening or Browning? An Explanation of Differing Results. (26 May 2010)
Satellite data are being used for evaluating vegetation responses to global change and for estimating regional carbon budgets; and because of the vast size of earth's boreal zone, vegetation trends in this region are particularly important. However, recent studies based on Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) data have produced conflicting... Read More
Spring is Not Arriving Earlier in North America (26 May 2010)
The earlier arrival of spring is widely viewed as an indicator of global warming; and Scheifinger et al. (2002) and Schaber and Badeck (2005) claim to have detected earlier spring arrival in Europe. A difficulty with such studies, however, is the fact that... Read More
Ocean Acidification Effects on Calcification in Two Planktonic Foraminifera (26 May 2010)
"Planktonic foraminifera," in the words of the authors, "are widespread calcifying protozoa, responsible for 32-80% of the global deep-ocean calcite fluxes (Schiebel, 2002)." Working with specimens of Orbulina universa collected by scuba divers off the coast of Catalina Island, California, and... Read More
Effects of Elevated CO2 and Temperature on a Temperate Coral (26 May 2010)
Rodolfo-Metalpa et al. (2010) write that "anthropogenic CO2 emitted to the atmosphere is absorbed by the oceans leading to decreases in pH, CO32- concentration, and the related CaCO3 saturation state (O) of seawater," and that... Read More
Sea Fan Adaptive Responses to Pathogen- and Heat-Induced Stress (26 May 2010)
Mydlarz et al. (2008) write that "tropical corals are under unprecedented stress from pathogens and climate change." Whether this statement is correct in an absolute sense matters but little, since the two types of stress are acting against a backdrop of numerous localized anthropogenic-induced stresses that have grown ever stronger and more pervasive with the passing of time... Read More
The Resilience of Coral Reefs to Global Stressors (26 May 2010)
Writing that "ecological baselines of the structure and functioning of ecosystems in the absence of human impacts can provide fundamental insights for conservation and restoration," which knowledge is especially important within the context of reef responses to possible future global warming, Sandin et al. "surveyed coral reefs on uninhabited atolls... Read More
How Best to Help Corals Cope with Heat-Induced Bleaching (26 May 2010)
It has been hypothesized that "any increases in coral bleaching that may have occurred in response to periods of elevated water temperature over the past two decades have only occurred because of a long-term weakening of coral resistance to thermal stress caused by the gradual intensification of a multitude of local anthropogenic assaults upon the watery environments in which corals live (Idso et al., 2000)," including -- among a large number of other things... Read More
Elevated CO2 Is Claimed to Inhibit Plant Nitrate Assimilation and Subsequent Growth ... AGAIN!!! ... (26 May 2010)
In an article published in the Los Angeles Times on 14 May 2010, entitled Plant Study Dims Silver Lining to Global Warming, Amina Khan writes that "some biologists had theorized earlier that rising greenhouse gas levels would encourage plant growth over the long term because of the increased amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere," but she goes on to say that... Read More