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August 2010 Archive of Scientific Literature Reviews

Yellow Fever and Dengue in Tomorrow's Europe (05 Aug 2010)
Dr. Paul Reiter, who is with the Insects and Infectious Disease Unit of the Institut Pasteur in Paris, writes that "it is widely stated that the incidence of vector-borne diseases will increase if global temperatures increase" (Reiter, 2010) which is, in fact, one of the numerous catastrophes that climate alarmists continually associate with global warming; and while admitting that temperature and rainfall do indeed "play a role" in the transmission of such diseases, he says that... Read More
Effect of Elevated CO2 on the Root Mass Fraction of Plants (05 Aug 2010)
Wang and Taub (2010) conducted a series of meta-analyses that reveal how differences in the availability of soil fertility and water, as well as the stress of ozone (O3) pollution, affect the biomass allocation in plants -- as expressed by the change in the fraction of root mass to total biomass (i.e., root mass fraction or RMF) -- that occurs when plants are exposed to air enriched... Read More
Seventy Years of High Arctic Plant Responses to Climate Change (05 Aug 2010)
In a review of ecological and evolutionary responses to recent climate change, Parmesan (2006) wrote that "nearly every Arctic ecosystem shows marked shifts due to climate change," and as a result, the authors decided to see if such was the case at a study site in the High Arctic located at 78°38'N, 16°45'E, near Brucebyen at the Adolfbukta Bay in central Spitsbergen (Svalbard), where the vegetation had... Read More
Extreme Paleofloods of the Southwestern United States (05 Aug 2010)
In an attempt to determine the environmental origins of extreme flooding events throughout the southwestern United States, according to Ely (1997), "paleoflood records from nineteen rivers in Arizona and southern Utah, including over 150 radiocarbon dates and evidence of over 250 flood deposits, were combined to identify regional variations in the frequency of extreme floods," which information "was then... Read More
Millennial Cycling of Climate in West Africa During the Holocene (05 Aug 2010)
At the end of their paper, DeMenocal et al. (2000) state there is a need "to understand anthropogenic warming within the context of rates and amplitudes of natural late Holocene climate change." Working with the vertical sediment profile of Ocean Drilling Program Hole 658C... Read More
The Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age in Northern Patagonia (06 Aug 2010)
Sepulveda et al. (2009) write that "deciphering climate variability in the Southern Hemisphere and particularly from southern South America - the only continental land mass lying between 38°S and the Antarctic Circle - is crucial for documenting the inter-hemispheric synchronicity of recent abrupt climate changes and thereby determining their ultimate cause(s)," as well as for "predicting future... Read More
Deaths Due to Coronary Heart Disease in the Elderly (06 Aug 2010)
Working within the nine urban districts of Shanghai, China, Cao et al. (2009) used time-series and case-crossover approaches to assess the relationship between diurnal temperature range (DTR = the difference between a day's maximum and minimum air temperature) and coronary heart disease (CHD) deaths that occurred between 1 January 2001 and 31 December 2004, based on... Read More
Dengue Fever and Climate Change (06 Aug 2010)
Authors Johansson et al. (2009) write that "the mosquito-borne dengue viruses are a major public health problem throughout the tropical and subtropical regions of the world," and that "changes in temperature and precipitation have well-defined roles in the transmission cycle and may thus play a role in changing incidence levels." Therefore, as they continue, since "the El Niño... Read More
The Effects of Increases in Atmospheric CO2 and Soil Nitrogen Concentrations on Grassland Biodiversity (06 Aug 2010)
Reich (2009) writes that "levels of N [nitrogen] deposition and CO2 have risen in recent decades and are expected to increase further," and in the case of natural ecosystems, he says that "the suppression of diversity by increasing N availability is almost ubiquitous," while noting that "evidence of CO2 effects on species richness is scarce and shows mixed results, with positive, neutral, and negative responses seen in the few published reports." So what is most likely to happen when the two phenomena occur together?... Read More
The Hydrometeorology of the Amazon Basin (06 Aug 2010)
Climate models indicate that global warming should generally lead to both more frequent and more extreme weather phenomena, such as droughts and floods. Hence, it is important to search for real-world evidence of these phenomena, which is precisely what Marengo (2009) does in this data-based study of the hydrological history of the Amazon Basin of South America... Read More
Climate Change as a Stimulus for Evolution (10 Aug 2010)
According to authors Franks and Weis (2009), "one rigorous way to determine if evolution has occurred in a natural population is to collect propagules before and after an environmental change and raise them under common conditions," stating that "this approach was used previously to show that Brassica rapa [a self-incompatible weedy winter annual] evolved drought escape through earlier flowering... Read More
Boreal Wildfires and Climate Change (10 Aug 2010)
Girardin et al. (2009) write that "in boreal forests, climate change may act upon fuels through increased evapotranspiration not compensated for by increasing precipitation, or increased frequency of extreme drought years due to more persistent and frequent blocking high-pressure systems," both of which phenomena are typically predicted to lead to more and larger wildfires. In addition, they state that... Read More
Daily Temperature Range and Human Mortality (10 Aug 2010)
Based on daily mortality data from 1997 to 2002, which authors Tam et al. (2009) obtained from the Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department, they examined the association between diurnal temperature range (DTR = daily maximum temperature minus daily minimum temperature), focusing on cardiovascular disease among the elderly (people aged 65 and older)... Read More
The Holocene Temperature History of Northern Europe (10 Aug 2010)
Seppa et al. (2009) combined 36 nine-thousand-year-long pollen-based July and annual mean temperature reconstructions for the portion of Europe stretching from the Norwegian Atlantic coast to 26°E in Estonia and Finland and from 57°N in Southern Fennoscandia to 70°N, the latter 5000 years of which temperature reconstruction they compared to a stacked... Read More
Bird Biodiversity in China (10 Aug 2010)
Qian et al. (2009) compiled a comprehensive dataset of bird species richness in China - based on pertinent scientific literature published over the last three decades - for 207 localities (the vast majority of which were national nature reserves with a mean area of 3270 km2), which they then analyzed for their relationships to 13 different environmental variables... Read More
Photosynthetic Acclimation to Elevated CO2 in Quaking Aspen Trees (10 Aug 2010)
Plants grown in CO2-enriched environments sometimes exhibit some degree of photosynthetic acclimation or down regulation, which is typically characterized by a reduction in their initial CO2-enhanced rates of photosynthesis that results from a gradual decrease in the activity and/or amount of rubisco, which is the primary plant carboxylating enzyme... Read More
The Melting of Glaciers and Ice Sheets: Effects on Volcanism (11 Aug 2010)
Tuffen (2010) writes that "there is growing evidence that past changes in the thickness of ice covering volcanoes have affected their eruptive activity," stating that "the rate of volcanic activity in Iceland accelerated by a factor of 30-50 following the last deglaciation at approximately 12 ka (Maclennan et al., 2002)," while noting that "analyses of local and global eruption databases have identified a statistically significant correlation between periods of climatic warming associated with recession of ice and an increase in the frequency of eruptions... Read More
An Inulin-Producing Asteraceae from the Brazilian Cerrado (11 Aug 2010)
Oliveira et al. (2010) write that "presently, there is a growing interest in the use of inulin as a health food ingredient, as an alternative for low-calorie sweeteners, and as a dietary fiber and fat substitute (Ritsema and Smeekens, 2003)." In addition, they say "it is suggested" that a daily intake of low amounts of inulin or its derivatives generate certain bifidogenic effects... Read More
A Millennial-Scale Climatic Oscillation in the Tropical Andes (11 Aug 2010)
Authors Fritz et al. (2010) write that "during portions of the Last Glacial stage, the climate of the high-latitude North Atlantic region was characterized by rapid transitions from cold stadial conditions to warm interstadial conditions," and they say that "these stadial and interstadial events were particularly well developed between about 60 and 20 kaBP [thousand years before present], when they had an average pacing of about 1500 years... Read More
The Impact of CO2 on Beech Seedlings Infected by a Root Pathogen (11 Aug 2010)
Root pathogen Phytophthora citricola is known to infect roots and trunks of European Beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) trees; but Fleischmann et al. (2010) say that several reviews of the effects of elevated atmospheric CO2 on plant parasite interactions -- including those of Manning and Tiedemann (1995), Chakraborty et al. (2000) and Garrett et al. (2006) -- conclude... Read More
Global Net Primary Production Response to CO2 and Climate Change (11 Aug 2010)
Predicting responses of vegetation to potential future climate change is a critical part of policy development relating to anthropogenic CO2 emissions; and in this study, an advanced mechanistic physiological model (Hybrid6.5) of leaf and whole-plant canopy response to climate was used for this purpose. This model considers light extinction within the leaf and through the canopy, the gradient of nitrogen content through the canopy, and other factors... Read More
Biofuels: More Bang -- or Is it Baggage? -- for the Buck (18 Aug 2010)
In an article recently published in Ecological Applications, Bouwman et al. (2010) assessed the global consequences of implementing first- and second-generation bioenergy production in the coming five decades, focusing on the nitrogen cycle and utilizing "a climate mitigation scenario from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's (OECD's) Environmental Outlook, in which a carbon tax... Read More
Storms, Fires and Insect Pests: Bad for Trees in a Warming World? (18 Aug 2010)
Kuparinen et al. (2010) write that "climate change is predicted to increase average air surface temperatures by several degrees in this century," and that "species exposed to changes in the environmental conditions may first show plastic phenotypic responses (e.g. Rehfeldt et al., 2002); but, in the long term, rapid climate change raises the question how quickly species can evolutionarily adapt... Read More
Elevated CO2 Protects Trees from the Ravages of Heat Stress (18 Aug 2010)
According to Darbah et al. (2010), an unusual heat wave and drought occurred in northern Wisconsin (USA) during the summer of 2006, leading to maximum temperatures that varied between 30 and 38°C and exacerbated the heat stress experienced by the leaves of most trees. Taking advantage of this situation, they measured leaf gas exchange characteristics and several other plant physiological properties of the leaves of... Read More
The Projected Response of a Swiss Grass-Clover Sward to Increasing CO2 and Climate Change Over the 21st Century (18 Aug 2010)
Lazzarotto et al. (2010) write that "white clover (Trifolium repens L.) is the most important pasture legume grown in temperate climates in association with a variety of grasses, notably perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.)," adding by way of explanation that "white clover improves the nutritional quality and digestibility of the herbage," and that it "contributes substantially to the nitrogen status of the sward through biological nitrogen fixation." They say, however... Read More
The Response of Reef Islands to Warming-Induced Sea-Level Rise (18 Aug 2010)
"Under current scenarios of global climate-induced sea-level rise," in the words of Webb and Kench (2010), "it is widely anticipated that low-lying reef islands will become physically unstable and be unable to support human populations over the coming century." What is more, they say "it is also widely perceived that island erosion will become so widespread that entire atoll nations will disappear... Read More
Forty Years of Morphological Change at a Great Barrier Reef Island (18 Aug 2010)
Authors Dawson and Smithers (2010) note that low-lying reef islands are widely perceived to be particularly sensitive to ongoing and projected sea level increases; but they add that "a number of geomorphologists have argued that rising sea levels do not always cause reef islands to erode." For example, they state that "a rise in sea level may promote reef island growth by: i) increasing accommodation space for new sediment; ii) reinvigorating carbonate production on reef flats where further reef growth has been inhibited by a stable sea level; and iii) increasing... Read More
Closing the Global Sea Level Budget (19 Aug 2010)
"Global mean sea level change," in the words of Leuliette and Miller (2009), "results from two major processes that alter the total volume of the ocean." These processes are (1) changes in total heat content and salinity, which produce density or steric changes, and (2) the exchange of water between the oceans and other reservoirs (such as glaciers, ice caps and ice sheets, plus land-based liquid water reservoirs), which result in mass variations. And in regard to... Read More
Potential Effects of Elevated CO2 on Stream Ecosystems (19 Aug 2010)
Hargrave et al. (2009) "used free air CO2 enrichment to compare effects of eCO2 (i.e., double ambient ~ 720 ppm) relative to ambient CO2 (aCO2 ~ 360 ppm) on several ecosystem properties and functions in large, outdoor, experimental mesocosms that mimicked shallow sand-bottom prairie streams."... Read More
Insect Larvae Feeding on CO2-Enriched Castor Plant Foliage (19 Aug 2010)
According to authors Rao et al. (2009), castor "is an important non-edible oilseed crop grown in many parts of the arid and semi-arid regions of India," and the castor semilooper (Achaea janata) and the tobacco caterpillar (Spodoptera litura) "occur during early and late stages of growth of castor, respectively," during which periods they state that castor oil yields can be reduced "by 30-50% by the semilooper alone," and that the tobacco caterpillar "can cause yield losses of 25-40%."... Read More
Sugarcane Production in Southern Brazil (19 Aug 2010)
Gouvea et al. (2009) used the agrometeorological model of Doorenbos and Kassam (1994) "to estimate sugarcane yield in tropical southern Brazil, based on future A1B climatic scenarios presented in the fourth Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report," first calculating potential productivity, which considers "the possible impacts caused by changes in temperature, precipitation, sunshine hours and CO2 concentration... Read More
New York City's Urban Heat Island (19 Aug 2010)
Rosenzweig et al. (2009) compared "the possible effectiveness of heat island mitigation strategies to increase urban vegetation, such as planting trees or incorporating vegetation into rooftops, with strategies to increase the albedo of impervious surfaces." With respect to the magnitude of the problem they were seeking to address, they report that... Read More
Glaciers of the Antarctic Peninsula and Sub-Antarctic Islands (19 Aug 2010)
In the present paper, Hall offers "a summary of existing data concerning Holocene glacial extent and fluctuations within Antarctica and the sub-Antarctic islands." She begins by noting that "in several areas, ice extent was less than at present in mid-Holocene time," which suggests, in her words, that "the magnitude of present ice recession and ice-shelf collapse is not unprecedented [italics added]." She also reports that "the first Neoglacial ice advances occurred at ~5.0 ka," and that "glaciers in all areas underwent renewed growth... Read More
Solar Forcing of Meteorological Phenomena on Earth (19 Aug 2010)
The team of Professors Jean-Louis Le Mouel, Vincent Courtillot and colleagues has been particularly inspired and productive of late in terms of publishing papers revealing more evidence and information about how the Sun's variable magnetic activity may impact various terrestrial phenomena, including weather and climate (see for example Kossobokov et al. 2010; Le Mouel et al. 2010b). And their new (13 August 2010) publication... Read More
The Water Requirements of Biofuels (25 Aug 2010)
In a paper published in AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment, Mulder et al. (2010) assess the connection between water and energy production by conducting a comparative analysis for estimating the energy return on water invested (EROWI) for several renewable and non-renewable energy technologies using various Life Cycle Analyses. This approach... Read More
Interactive Effects of Nutrients and CO2 Concentration on Coral Calcification (25 Aug 2010)
Zooxanthellate colonies of the scleractinian coral Astrangia poculata were grown by Holcomb et al. (2010) in controlled laboratory conditions under all four combinations of ambient and elevated (5 µM NO3-, 0.3 µM PO4-3, and 2 nM Fe+2) nutrients and ambient and elevated (~780 ppm) pCO2 for a period of... Read More
Effects of Ocean Warming and Acidification on Sea Urchin Larvae (25 Aug 2010)
Embryos of the sea urchin Tripneustes gratilla were reared by Brennand et al. (2010) in flow-through chambers filled with filtered seawater maintained at all combinations of three different temperatures (24, 27 and 30°C) and three different pH values (8.15, 7.8 and 7.6), where the 24°C/pH 8.15 combination represented normal control conditions. Then, after... Read More
The Fate of Juvenile Sea Stars in an "Acidified" Ocean (25 Aug 2010)
According to Dupont et al. (2010), "echinoderms are among the most abundant and ecologically successful groups of marine animals (Micael et al., 2009), and are one of the key marine groups most likely to be impacted by predicted climate change events," presumably because "the larvae and/or adults of many species from this phylum form skeletal rods, plates, test, teeth, and spines from an amorphous calcite crystal precursor, magnesium calcite, which is 30 times more soluble than normal calcite... Read More
Some Facts About Corals and Calcification (25 Aug 2010)
Cohen and Holcomb (2009) review several basic facts about the process of calcification in zooxanthellate corals. So what did they conclude?... Read More
Carbonate Chemistry Effects on Coral Calcification Rates (25 Aug 2010)
According to Jury et al. (2010), "physiological data and models of coral calcification indicate that corals utilize a combination of seawater bicarbonate and (mainly) respiratory CO2 for calcification, not seawater carbonate," but that "a number of investigators are attributing observed negative effects of experimental seawater acidification by CO2 or hydrochloric acid additions to a reduction in seawater carbonate ion concentration and thus aragonite saturation state." Thus... Read More
Regional Climate Models Differ in Extreme Precipitation Event Forecasts (26 Aug 2010)
Extreme precipitation events are proposed to be risk factors likely to increase under global warming scenarios. Estimates of local extreme event likelihood require the use of Regional Climate Models (RCMs), which run at a higher spatial resolution than Global Climate Models (GCMs). In this study, six RCMs were compared. They were forced with a common set of reanalysis data, which was created by... Read More
Cool-Season Tornadoes in Southern Australia in a Warmer World (26 Aug 2010)
Climate alarmists have long suggested that various types of storms are likely to increase in frequency and/or intensity in response to anticipated global warming; and this study explores this presumed effect as it pertains to cool-season tornadoes in southern Australia, where four climate models were employed in the analysis, with the IPCC's highest greenhouse gas emissions scenario (A2) being used for projections... Read More
Highly Uncertain Forecasts of Future European Climate (26 Aug 2010)
The future state of climate in Europe, in particular, is of immense concern, in light of the continent's large population and the degree and extent of its built-environment. But is it possible to project the climate of Europe with any degree of certainty at the present time? Wollings (2010) declares that it is not... Read More
Climate Models Do Not Simulate Real-World Cloud Structures Well (26 Aug 2010)
Clouds are key determinants of earth's surface energy balance. They can reflect incoming shortwave radiation back to space and absorb outgoing longwave radiation and reradiate it back to earth, depending on their altitude and thickness. And in this regard, authors Zhang et al. (2010) note that the different representations of clouds and their feedback processes in Global Climate Models... Read More