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July 2010 Archive of Scientific Literature Reviews

The Variation of Near-Surface Wind Speed with Altitude of Land (01 Jul 2010)
According to McVicar et al. (2010), there has been great interest recently "in the widespread declining trends of wind speed measured by terrestrial anemometers at many mid-latitude sites over the last 30-50 years," citing the work of Roderick et al. (2007), McVicar et al. (2008), Pryor et al. (2009) and Jiang et al. (2010); and they say... Read More
CO2- and Climate-Induced Effects on Terrestrial Plant Production (01 Jul 2010)
Working with the Hybrid6.5 model of terrestrial primary production, which "simulates the carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, water, and energy fluxes and structural changes in terrestrial ecosystems at hourly to decadal timescales, and at spatial scales ranging from the individual plant to the whole earth," while employing "the climate change anomalies predicted by the GISS-AOM GCM under the A1B emissions scenario... Read More
A Seven-Decade History of the Water-Use Efficiency of a Swiss Alpine Grassland (01 Jul 2010)
Plant intrinsic water-use efficiency (iWUE) is generally defined as the ratio of the photosynthetic uptake of CO2 through leaf stomata to the simultaneous transpirational loss of water vapor to the atmosphere through the same biological portals; and as atmospheric CO2 enrichment stimulates plant photosynthesis at the same time that it causes leaf stomata to partially close and... Read More
Penguins Prefer a Warmer Antarctic (01 Jul 2010)
Penguins are iconic species. Not only were they in danger from global warming in the movie "Happy Feet," but most penguin species are currently under consideration for listing as threatened or endangered, largely due to perceived threats of climate change. The argument is that warming will alter their habitat in an adverse fashion, affecting their food supply and so on. The truth, however, may be exactly the opposite... Read More
Elevated CO2 Boosts Iron's Positive Impact on Phytoplanktonic Productivity (01 Jul 2010)
Breitbarth et al. (2010) write as background for their study that "studies of artificial and natural iron input have demonstrated iron control of phytoplankton productivity and CO2 drawdown over vast oceanic regions... Read More
The Long-Term Response of Plant Photosynthesis to Elevated CO2 (01 Jul 2010)
According to Darbah et al. (2010) "some researchers report that down-regulation of photosynthesis under elevated CO2 is strongly linked to an increased carbon:nitrogen ratio of the photosynthesizing leaves, when the increased uptake of CO2 cannot be matched by a sufficient nutrient supply," which is the crux of the progressive nitrogen limitation hypothesis. But is this concept correct?... Read More
Southern U.S. Pines Can Take the Heat (01 Jul 2010)
There is a disconnect between forecasts of biospheric doom and experimental studies of how species are likely to respond to future changes in climate. This study adds to that disconnect... Read More
Ocean Acidification: The "Evil Twin" of Global Warming (01 Jul 2010)
In introducing their new study of the ocean acidification phenomenon, Carles Pelejero, Eva Calvo and Ove Hoegh-Guldberg (2010) write that "the surface waters of the oceans have already acidified by an average of 0.1 pH unit from pre-industrial levels," and that "by the end of the twenty-first century, projections based on different scenarios indicate that ocean pH will have decreased by 0.3 to 0.4 pH unit... Read More
Fifteen Hundred Years of Atlantic Tropical Cyclones (07 Jul 2010)
In a paper published in Nature, Mann et al. (2009) developed two 1500-year histories of North Atlantic tropical cyclone (TC) activity. The first of these proxy records, as they describe it, was derived from "a composite of regional sedimentary evidence of landfalling hurricanes," which included... Read More
The Effect of Coastal Zone Eutrophication on Ocean Acidification (07 Jul 2010)
Climate alarmists contend that as the air's CO2 content continues to rise and more CO2 enters the world's oceans, they will become more acidic (experience declining pH values), and that this phenomenon will make it more difficult for calcifying marine organisms to carry out the process of calcification. However, it has been demonstrated that high rates of aquatic photosynthesis by marine micro- and macro-algae, which have been shown... Read More
The Future of Rice Production in China (07 Jul 2010)
According to Xiong et al. (2009), "rice is an essential component of the diet in more than half the world's population, and it is the most socially and economically important crop in China," where they say it "contributes 43.7% of total national grain production," citing the work of... Read More
The Impact of Elevated CO2 on Bur Oak Response to Drought (07 Jul 2010)
According to Wyckoff and Bowers (2010), "with continued increases in global greenhouse gas emissions, climate models predict that, by the end of the 21st century, Minnesota [USA] summer temperature will increase by 4-9°C and summer precipitation will slightly decrease," citing... Read More
Climate Change and Debris-Flow Events in Southern Norway (07 Jul 2010)
Just about everything that goes wrong in the world nowadays is blamed on global warming or the "climate crisis," as Al Gore and his followers like to describe it. And "if global warming is associated with an increase in the frequency of extreme precipitation events" -- as Matthews et al. (2009) say "has been inferred from studies... Read More
The "Little" Medieval Warm Period in Northeast Hungary (07 Jul 2010)
Siklosy et al. (2009) conducted a complex trace element and stable carbon and oxygen isotope analysis of a stalagmite recovered from a cave (Kiskohat Shaft) located in northeast Hungary at the southern rim of the Bukk Highland (48°4.086'N, 20°29.422'E), with dating provided by twelve 230Th-234U determinations made along the growth direction of the stalagmite... Read More
Why Are Climate Alarmists Getting More Alarmed About CO2? (08 Jul 2010)
As the push for binding global targets on anthropogenic CO2 emissions rose to a deafening crescendo -- just prior to, during and following the United Nations Fifteenth Conference of Parties (COP15) held in Copenhagen, Denmark, 7-18 December 2009 -- two groups of climate alarmists published a pair of papers claiming that even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had underestimated the magnitude of future global warming that they claim will likely result from the continued unbridled burning of fossil fuels such as coal, gas and oil.... Read More
The Depths to Which Some Roots Will Go (08 Jul 2010)
Colleen Iversen of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee (USA) reviewed the pertinent scientific literature "to examine the potential mechanisms for, and consequences of, deeper rooting distributions under elevated CO2 as they relate to ecosystem carbon and nitrogen cycling," focusing primarily on forests (Iversen, 2010)... Read More
Effect of Elevated CO2 on Uptake of Organic Nitrogen from Soil (08 Jul 2010)
Jin and Evans (2010) write that "resource limitations, such as the availability of soil nitrogen (N), are expected to constrain continued increases in plant productivity under elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide," which is a common mantra of climate alarmists. Providing a glimmer of hope, however, they state that... Read More
Will Rising Temperatures Lead to Greater Respiration Rates in Boreal Black Spruce Trees? (08 Jul 2010)
Bronson and Gower (2010) write that "the boreal forest historically has been considered a carbon sink," but that "autotrophic respiration is [supposedly] more sensitive than photosynthesis to increases in temperature (Ryan, 1991; Amthor, 1994)," and, therefore, that in response to global warming, "most models predict autotrophic respiration will increase at a greater rate than photosynthesis, which infers... Read More
Storm Severity and Frequency in North-Eastern New Zealand (08 Jul 2010)
According to Page et al. (2010), "there is growing evidence that climate during the Holocene has been highly variable, with broad global or hemispheric change, upon which are superimposed marked regional variability," noting that "this is certainly the case for... Read More
The Temperature Dependence of Cuban Coral Calcification Rates (08 Jul 2010)
Climate alarmists and the IPCC continue to contend that rising temperatures are harmful to earth's corals, and that in concert with ocean acidification (caused by rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations) they are gradually reducing their rates of calcification. But is this really so?... Read More
Cutting CO2 Emissions May Spell Disaster for What Yet Remains of 'Wild Nature' (15 Jul 2010)
Nearly every analysis that has ever been made of proposals to drastically reduce mankind's CO2 emissions has concluded that the impact on the planet's temperature would be so small as to be almost impossible to measure, which would make such a program (if it were ever enacted) the greatest boondoggle ever to be foisted upon the American public. Even worse, it would have absolutely devastating consequences for the many species of plants and animals with which we share the earth... Read More
Effects of Elevated CO2 on a Pair of Plant Diseases of Trees (15 Jul 2010)
As a prelude to their analysis, authors Runion et al. (2010) write that obligate pathogens "have a more intimate relationship with their host and must have the host to survive," whereas facultative pathogens "live saprophytically and generally result in disease (or tend to be more severe) under conditions of plant stress such as low nutrition or water." With respect to the specifics of their analysis... Read More
Effects of Elevated CO2 on Forest Ecosystem Succession (15 Jul 2010)
ouza et al. (2010) describe "how elevated CO2 affects aboveground biomass within the understory community of a temperate deciduous forest at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua) free-air carbon dioxide enrichment (FACE) facility in eastern Tennessee, USA," where growing-season (April to November) CO2 treatments -- ambient (aCO2) and enriched (eCO2) -- were initiated... Read More
Siliceous Phytoplankton of a Middle Eocene Warming Event (15 Jul 2010)
The Eocene was a period of time that lasted from about 56 to 34 million years ago (Ma), which was characterized by a progressive drop in mean global temperature. However, this long-term cooling trend was interrupted by several short-lived warming reversals, one of which occurred between approximately 40.0 and 40.2 Ma; and this 200,000-year period is the one that was the focus of... Read More
European Heat Waves of the Future May Not Be as Bad as Previously Predicted (15 Jul 2010)
Jeong et al. (2010) state that modeling studies in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) suggest that future heat waves over Europe will be more severe, longer lasting and more frequent than those of the recent past, due largely to an intensification of quasi-stationary anticyclone anomalies accompanying future warming, citing in support of... Read More
Two and a Half Millennia of Fram Strait Sea-Surface Temperatures (15 Jul 2010)
Bonnet et al. (2010) developed a high-resolution record of ocean and climate variations during the late Holocene in the Fram Strait (the major gateway between the Arctic and North Atlantic Oceans, located north of the Greenland Sea), based on detailed analyses of a sediment core recovered from a location (78°54.931'N, 6°46.005'E) on the slope of the western continental margin of Svalbard... Read More
Past Warm Episodes did not Cause Extinctions (15 Jul 2010)
Many claims have been made about catastrophic negative effects of increasing air temperature on biodiversity; but nearly all of these claims are based on either speculation or simple correlative models. In the study of Willis et al. (2010), on the other hand, past historical periods were identified in which climate was either similar to that projected by global climate models for the next century or so... Read More
The Real Ocean Acidification Story (16 Jul 2010)
In the most comprehensive analysis ever conducted of experimental studies that have explored the effects of rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations on marine biota, Hendriks et al. (2010) assembled a database of 372 experimentally-evaluated responses of 44 different marine species to ocean acidification that was induced by equilibrating seawater with CO2-enriched air. This they did because, as they describe it... Read More
Avifaunal Communities: Their Response to Past Interglacial Warmth (16 Jul 2010)
Concern is often expressed about the response of ecosystems to future climate change. But just how warranted is this concern? One way to explore the question is to look back at periods in which the climate differed from that of today; and one such period was the Last Interglacial (LIG), about 130,000 to 117,000 years ago... Read More
Thermal Plasticity in Swedish Pool Frogs (16 Jul 2010)
Writing that "phenotypic plasticity, the capacity of a genotype to produce distinct phenotypes under different environmental conditions, is a common and powerful method of adaptation in nature," Orizaola and Laurila (2009) investigated variations in temperature-induced plasticity in larval life-history traits among populations of an isolated metapopulation of pool frogs... Read More
Effects of Post-1980 Warming on Cropping Systems in China (16 Jul 2010)
The IPCC contends that the earth experienced a warming over the past few decades that was unprecedented over the past millennium or more, while Dong et al. (2009) state that "the annual mean surface air temperature in China has increased 1.1°C over the past 50 years," adding that "striking warming has occurred since the mid-1980s, particularly in northern China." Noting that... Read More
Tropical Forests and Earth's Changing Atmosphere (16 Jul 2010)
Although many high-latitude regions may be benefited by warming that allows crops and forests to grow where it is currently too cold for them to do so, climate alarmists typically worry about earth's tropical regions, where they claim that just a little extra warming may spell disaster for indigenous forests... Read More
Assessing the Skill of Coupled Atmosphere-Land-Ocean Climate Models (16 Jul 2010)
Lavers et al. (2009) conducted what they describe as "a careful analysis of the predictive skill of temperature and precipitation from eight seasonal climate forecast models" that were developed at various European climate centers. This they did by assessing the predictability of monthly temperature and precipitation "retrospective forecasts" or hindcasts, which were... Read More
Thirty Years of Antarctic Snow and Ice Melt (16 Jul 2010)
Tedesco and Monaghan (2010) reviewed what has been learned about the melting of snow and ice over all of Antarctica since 1979, when the phenomenon was first begun to be routinely measured via space-borne passive microwave radiometers. So what did they learn?... Read More
Cosmic Rays, Atmospheric Ozone and Global Climate Change (21 Jul 2010)
In a paper published in Physics Reports, Qing-Bin Lu -- who is associated with three different Departments at Canada's University of Waterloo (Physics and Astronomy, Biology, and Chemistry) -- injects a whole new dimension into the debate over what has been the cause of late 20th-century global warming and its early 21st-century cessation... Read More
Solar-Precipitation Connections on the Tibetan Plateau (21 Jul 2010)
Based on carbonate percentages and ostracode abundances found in sediment cores they extracted from Hurleg Lake in the arid Qaidam Basin of the Northeast Tibetan Plateau, Zhao et al. (2009) developed a history of precipitation-driven changes in lake level over the past 1700 years, which they... Read More
A Century of High and Low Snowfall Extremes in the United States (21 Jul 2010)
Working with the dataset described in detail by Kunkel et al. (2009a), the authors employed "a set of 440 long-term snowfall records specifically identified as sufficiently homogeneous for trends analysis" in order to examine "temporal variability in the occurrence of the most extreme snowfall years, both those with abundant snowfall amounts and those lacking snowfall," which... Read More
Coherent Detection of the Medieval Warm Period in Multiple Data Sets (21 Jul 2010)
Many are the studies that have attempted to reconstruct the mean temperature history of the earth over the past millennium; and in the two companion analyses of Dergachev and Raspopov (2010a,b), the degree of harmony among the reconstructions of those earlier studies -- as well as the degrees of goodness of their individual correlations with various indices of solar activity -- are evaluated... Read More
Purple Phototrophic Bacteria in Flooded Paddy Soil (21 Jul 2010)
Feng et al. (2009) write that rice fields "represent the most important agricultural ecosystems in Asia since rice and wheat are the main source for food supply, and more than 90% of rice fields around the world are located in Asia," and they indicate that "purple phototrophic bacteria (PPB) are thought to be crucial in the nutrient cycling of rice fields." Indeed,... Read More
Largemouth Bass in a Warming World (21 Jul 2010)
Rypel (2009) applied tree-ring techniques to incremental growth patterns in largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides Lacepede) otoliths -- i.e., the aragonite (CaCO3) structures in fish that are used for acoustic perception and balance -- in order to explore potential relationships between annual bass growth and various climate metrics in the southeastern USA... Read More
Coral Reefs of Tanzania (21 Jul 2010)
McClanahan et al. (2009) note that many people are so convinced about the postulated negative impact of global warming on earth's coral reefs that they automatically assume that "climate overrides and undermines local resource use and management," and that there is thus a "need for management of the atmosphere at the global scale... Read More
How Good Are Current Climate Models? (22 Jul 2010)
In a revealing commentary on the state of the climate modeling enterprise that was recently published in Nature Reports Climate Change, Kevin Trenberth, head of the Climate Analysis Section of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, writes about what he calls... Read More
The Global Warming-Hurricane Connection: A Far-From-Settled Science (22 Jul 2010)
In the introduction to their analysis, Bender et al. (2010) write that "increasing amounts of greenhouse gases are a likely factor in recent warming of tropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures (SSTs, 1-3)," although they say that "internal variability (4) and reduced aerosol or dust forcing (5,6) may have also contributed." They additionally... Read More
The West Nile and Saint Louis Encephalitis Viruses (22 Jul 2010)
Reiter (2010) reviews what researchers have learned about the subject and reports the worldwide implications for public health, writing that the appearance of the West Nile virus in New York (USA) in 1999 and the unprecedented panzootic that followed, "have stimulated... Read More
Aspen and Birch Trees Exposed to Significant Heat Stress (22 Jul 2010)
In the summer of 2006, Darbah et al. (2010) measured the effects of a natural and prolonged heat wave on the photosynthetic rates of quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides Michx) and paper birch (Betula papyrifera) trees that had been growing from the seedling stage for an additional nine years in the Free-Air CO2-Enrichment (FACE) facility near Rhinelander, Wisconsin (USA)... Read More
A Holocene History of Floodplain Occupation on the Upper Reaches of the Zapadnaya Dvina and Volga Rivers (22 Jul 2010)
In a study of the Upper Volga and Zapadnaya Dvina Rivers of Russia, the authors documented "the geomorphological and altitudinal positions of [human] occupational layers corresponding to 1224 colonization epochs at 870 archaeological sites in river valleys and lake depressions in southwestern Tver province," identifying... Read More
Spring Leaf Flush in Aspen Trees (22 Jul 2010)
According to McGrath et al. (2010), "early spring leaf-out is critical to the growth and survival of competing trees in deciduous forests (Augspurger, 2008)," and that "individuals or genotypes that more quickly reach high LIA [leaf area index] will more successfully compete with neighbors for light energy and space." Working at the Aspen FACE facility near Rhinelander, Wisconsin (USA), where aspen clones... Read More
Ocean Mass Trends (and Sea Level Estimates) from GRACE (22 Jul 2010)
According to Quinn and Ponte (2010), "ocean mass, together with steric sea level, are the key components of total observed sea level change," and "monthly observations from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) can provide estimates of the ocean mass component of the sea level budget, but full use of the data requires a detailed understanding of its errors and biases... Read More
The Increasing Vigor of Earth's Terrestrial Plants (28 Jul 2010)
Periodically, even in some of the world's most prestigious scientific journals, it is said that the natural sinks of earth's carbon cycle are becoming ever less effective in removing from the atmosphere the CO2 that we routinely release to it as a result of our energy-intensive activities (Canadell et al., 2007; LeQuere et al., 2007). Now, however, that scientific myth appears to have been put to rest by a new analysis of real-world data... Read More
Characterizing the Mayan Terminal Classic Period (28 Jul 2010)
In the words of Escobar et al. (2010), "sediment cores from Lakes Punta Laguna, Chichancanab, and Peten Itza on the Yucatan Peninsula were used to (1) investigate 'within-horizon' stable isotope variability (δ18O and δ13C) measured on multiple, single ostracod valves and gastropod shells, (2) determine the optimum number of individuals required to infer low-frequency climate changes, and (3) evaluate... Read More
Could Alpine Plants Survive Significant Global Warming? (28 Jul 2010)
Various researchers, such as Gonzalo-Turpin and Hazard (2009), have periodically stated that alpine ecosystems are "threatened by global warming" and that the many species that comprise them "are at risk of extinction," while NASA's James Hansen, whose language is a bit more dramatic, has stated that life in alpine regions is in danger of being "pushed off the planet" by rising temperatures, as it has "no place else to go." So are these claims correct?... Read More
Effects of Elevated CO2 on an Economically Important Seaweed (28 Jul 2010)
Xu et al. (2010) write that "Gracilaria lemaneiformis (Bory) Weber-van Bosse is an economically important red seaweed that is cultivated on a large scale in China due to the quantity and quality of agar in its cell walls." In addition, they say that "much attention has been paid to the biofiltration capacity of the species (Yang et al., 2005, 2006; Zhou et al., 2006)," and that it has thus been suggested... Read More
The Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age in Arid Central Asia (28 Jul 2010)
According to authors Chen et al. (2010), arid central Asia (ACA, an inland zone in central Asia from the Caspian Sea in the west to the southern Mongolian Plateau in the east) is "a unique dry-land area whose atmospheric circulation is dominated today by the westerlies," and is "one of the specific regions that are likely to be strongly impacted by global warming," which could... Read More
Effects of Elevated CO2 and Temperature on Condensed Tannin Concentrations in Silver Birch Tree Leaves (28 Jul 2010)
Condensed tannins are naturally-occurring secondary carbon compounds produced in the leaves of a number of different plants that sometimes act to deter herbivorous insects. In addition, scientists with New Zealand's AgResearch Grasslands institute have found that sheep and cattle feeding on forage containing condensed tannins may emit less methane, which is the next most important atmospheric greenhouse gas behind carbon dioxide... Read More
A Tempering of Thought on CO2-Induced Ocean Acidification (29 Jul 2010)
Concerns about the viability of earth's corals and other calcifying organisms in a CO2-accreting atmosphere were brought to the forefront of attack on anthropogenic CO2 emissions with the publication of the papers of Kleypas et al. (1999) and Langdon et al. (2000), wherein it was claimed that... Read More
The Impact of Atmospheric CO2 Enrichment on Soil Carbon Beneath a Wheat Crop (29 Jul 2010)
According to Martens et al. (2009), "the generally higher above and belowground productivity of C3 plants under elevated CO2 leads to the conclusion that more rhizodepositions (roots and exudates) are transferred into soils, potentially increasing soil carbon content," but they note that most free-air CO2-enrichment (FACE) and outdoor chamber studies have failed to detect significant changes... Read More
Coral Hosts Can Evolve to Cope with Global Warming (29 Jul 2010)
Meyer et al. (2009) write that "whether corals can adapt to increasing temperatures over the course of generations will depend in part on heritable variation in thermal physiology and dispersal potential, which may serve as the raw material for natural selection." In an effort to determine such potential, Meyer et al. "performed controlled crosses between three genetically distinct colonies... Read More
Effects of Ocean Warming and Acidification on Jellyfish (29 Jul 2010)
Authors Winans and Purcell (2010) write that "scyphozoans have two main stages in their life cycles, the benthic polyps and pelagic jellyfish." The polyps reproduce asexually by budding polyps and through the process of strobilation, in which ephyrae (juvenile jelly fish) are produced by transverse fission." And, as they continue, "like many other marine invertebrates, jellyfish have statocysts, balance organs that enable them to sense gravity," and they say... Read More
A Largely Unappreciated Effect of Elevated Atmospheric CO2 on Coastal Seawater Nitrogen Content (29 Jul 2010)
According to Wyatt et al. (2010), "the assimilation of inorganic nutrients fuels phytoplankton growth," and, therefore, that "any alteration in the bioavailability of these nutrients is likely to impact productivity and, by extension, climate regulation through the uptake of CO2 by marine algae." In this regard the authors note that "the reduction of surface ocean pH anticipated for the next century will alter... Read More
Climatic Oscillations Recorded in a Coastal Setting on the French Side of the English Channel (29 Jul 2010)
On the southern coast of the English Channel, Billeaud et al. (2009) studied offshore-derived sediments in the macrotidal setting of Mont-Saint-Michel Bay, France, where they conducted a high-resolution sequence stratigraphy analysis of the intertidal to subtidal wedge, utilizing juvenile shells, peat and organic-rich bulk sediment derived from 50 vibracores for accelerator mass spectrometry 14C dating, and where... Read More