08.14.2017

35 New Papers Affirm Warmth, Elevated CO2 Are Good For The Earth And Its Inhabitants

Future Global Warming Scenarios ‘Potentially Beneficial’, Cooling May Cause Ecological ‘Declines’

Fan et al., 2017
“Our data suggest that future global warming scenarios would potentially be beneficial for the hydrological and ecological conditions of the EASM [East Asian Summer Monsoon] margin, while small decreases in the precipitation and temperature superimposed on the long-term deteriorated climate  may cause large declines in the hydrology and ecology in the semi-arid regions of northern China.”

Human Health Risks ‘Extremely Sensitive’ To Temperature, With Cold Temperatures More Dangerous

Wang et al., 2017
Numerous previous studies have reported that human health risk is extremely sensitive to temperature. … At the community level, the mean value of relative extreme cold risk (1.63) of all 122 communities was higher than that of extreme high temperature (1.15). … A prolonged impact of low temperature [cold] on human health was observed in China”

Mass Extinctions Caused By Cold Temperatures (Ice Ages), Not Global Warming

Baresel et al., 2017
“The Earth has known several mass extinctions over the course of its history. One of the most important happened at the Permian-Triassic boundary 250 million years ago. Over 95% of marine species disappeared and, up until now, scientists have linked this extinction to a significant rise in Earth temperatures. But researchers have now discovered that this extinction took place during a short ice age which preceded the global climate warming. It’s the first time that the various stages of a mass extinction have been accurately understood and that scientists have been able to assess the major role played by volcanic explosions in these climate processes.”

Warming Leads To Less Extreme, Unstable Weather, Cooling Does The Opposite

Zhang et al., 2017
Based on continuous and coherent severe weather reports from over 500 manned stations, for the first time, this study shows a significant decreasing trend in severe weather occurrence across China during the past five decades. The total number of severe weather days that have either thunderstorm, hail and/or damaging wind decrease about 50% from 1961 to 2010. It is further shown that the reduction in severe weather occurrences correlates strongly with the weakening of East Asian summer monsoon which is the primary source of moisture and dynamic forcing conducive for warm-season severe weather over China.”
Kawamura et al., 2017
“Numerical experiments using a fully coupled atmosphere-ocean general circulation model with freshwater hosing in the northern North Atlantic showed that climate becomes most unstable in intermediate glacial conditions associated with large changes in sea ice and the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation. Model sensitivity experiments suggest that the prerequisite for the most frequent climate instability with bipolar seesaw pattern during the late Pleistocene era is associated with reduced atmospheric CO2 concentration via global cooling and sea ice formation in the North Atlantic, in addition to extended Northern Hemisphere ice sheets.”
Heller, 2017
“The hurricane analysis conducted by Burn and Palmer (2015) determined that hurricane activity was subdued during the [warm] Medieval Climate Anomaly (MCA) (~900-1350 CE) and became more produced during the [cold] Little Ice Age (LIA) (~1450-1850 CE), followed by a period of variability occurred between ~1850 and ~1900 before entering another subdued state during the industrial period (~1950-2000 CE). In general, the results of this study corroborate these findings.”
[W]hile hurricane activity was greater during the LIA, it also had more frequent periods of drought compared to the MCA (Burn and Palmer 2014), suggesting that climate fluctuations were more pronounced in the LIA compared to the MCA. The changes in the diatom distribution and fluctuations in chl-a recorded in this study starting around 1350 also indicate that variations in climate have become more distinct during the LIA and from ~1850-1900. … [C]limate variability has increased following the onset of the Little Ice Age (~1450-1850 CE), however it is difficult to distinguish the impacts of recent anthropogenic climate warming on hurricane activity from those of natural Atlantic climate regimes, such as ENSO.”

Warming Leads To Fewer And Less Intense Hurricanes

Chen et al., 2017
“Results indicate that the midlatitude summer cyclone activity over East Asia exhibits decadal changes in the period of 1979–2013 and is significantly weakened after early 1990s. …  Moreover, there is a close linkage between the weakening of cyclonic activity after the early 1990s and the nonuniform surface warming of the Eurasian continent. Significant warming to the west of Mongolia tends to weaken the north–south temperature gradient and the atmospheric baroclinicity to its south and eventually can lead to weakening of the midlatitude cyclone activity over East Asia.”
Choi et al., 2017
“This study analysed the time series of tropical cyclone (TC) frequency during October–December (OND) for 32 years (1980–2011). There was a strong decreasing trend of TCs [tropical cyclones] until recently, and the TC sharply decreased from 1996 after the statistical change-point analysis was applied to this time series.”
Wellford et al., 2017
Since the late 1800s, in contrast to much of the Southeastern USA, the Georgia coast has experienced infrequent hurricane landfalls, particularly in recent decades. As a result, coastal storm preparedness complacency appears to be rampant along the Georgia coastline. Both local and state governments were unprepared for shadow evacuation during Hurricane Floyd in 1999. The study described here includes an examination of temporal and spatial trends in hurricane landfall along the Georgia coast from 1750 to 2012. Since 1750, 18 of the 24 recorded hurricanes that made landfall along the Georgia coast occurred between 1801 and 1900, yet the hurricane intensities have declined since 1851.”

Stable Or Decreasing Trends In Drought And Flood Frequency With Warming

McAneney et al., 2017
“[A] 122-year record of major flooding depths at the Rarawai Sugar Mill on the Ba River in the northwest of the Fijian Island of Viti Levu is analysed. … It exhibits no statistically significant trends in either frequency or flood heights, once the latter have been adjusted for average relative sea-level rise. This is despite persistent warming of air temperatures as characterized in other studies. There is a strong dependence of frequency (but not magnitude) upon El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phase, with many more floods in La Niña phases. The analysis of this long-term data series illustrates the difficulty of detecting a global climate change signal from hazard data, even given a consistent measurement methodology (cf HURDAT2 record of North Atlantic hurricanes) and warns of the strong dependence of any statistical significance upon choices of start and end dates of the analysis.”
McCabe et al., 2017
“In this study, a monthly water-balance model is used to simulate monthly runoff for 2109 hydrologic units (HUs) in the conterminous United States (CONUS) for water-years 1901 through 2014. … Results indicated that … the variability of precipitation appears to have been the principal climatic factor determining drought, and for most of the CONUS, drought frequency appears to have decreased during the 1901 through 2014 period.”

Higher CO2 Concentrations Are Greening The Earth, Reducing Desert Area And Drought Stress

Bastos et al., 2017
The sustained increasing vegetation activity trend (greening) in the Northern Hemisphere (NH) has been a prominent feature in satellite observations since the 1980s and is consistently simulated by models. The trend in vegetation greenness has been linked to increasing growing season length at high latitudes and enhancemed terrestrial CO2 uptake in northern ecosystems. The greening pace has been associated with asymmetric effects of climate trends in vegetation activity or variations in the climate forcing. It has also been shown that regional greening trends are further attributed to land use change, land management, CO2 fertilization, and nitrogen deposition”
Li et al., 2017
“[M]aternal CO2 environment modulated the response of wheat plants to drought stress in terms of biomass production, [such that] plants reared from seeds harvested from the e[CO2] maternal growth environment eliminated the negative impact of drought stress on DM [dry biomass]. … [T]ransgenerational exposure to e[CO2] also attenuated the negative impact of drought on evapotranspiration in wheat plants. … [T]ransgenerational exposure of wheat plants to e[CO2] [elevated CO2] could attenuate the negative impact of drought stress in terms of DM and WUE [water use efficiency].”
Brandt et al., 2017
“Here we used a passive microwave Earth observation data set to document two different trends in land area with woody cover for 1992–2011: 36% of the land area (6,870,000 km2) had an increase in woody cover largely in drylands, and 11% had a decrease (2,150,000 km2), mostly in humid zones. Increases in woody cover were associated with low population growth, and were driven by increases in CO2 in the humid zones and by increases in precipitation in drylands, whereas decreases in woody cover were associated with high population growth.”
(press release)
Africa has become greener in the last 20 years [M]ore CO2 in the atmosphere together with a wetter, warmer planet, provides conditions that help trees and bushes to grow.”
Bastin et al., 2017
“We show that in 2015, 1327 million hectares of drylands had more than 10% tree-cover, and 1079 million hectares comprised forest. Our estimate is 40 to 47% higher than previous estimates, corresponding to 467 million hectares of forest that have never been reported before. This increases current estimates of global forest cover by at least 9%.”

Regional Sea Level Changes Unremarkable…Land Area Above Sea Level Expanding

Mörner, 2017
“Coastal morphology, stratigraphy, radiocarbon dating, archaeological remains, historical documentation, and tide gauge records allowed us to establish a very firm and detailed record of the changes in sea level in Goa over the last 500 years. It is an oscillation record: a low level in the early 16th century, a ~50-cm high[er than now] level in the 17th century, a level below present sea level in the 18th century, a ~20-cm high level in the 19th and early 20th centuries, a ~20-cm fall in 1955–1962, and a virtually stable level over the last 50 years. This sea level record is almost identical to those obtained in the Maldives and in Bangladesh. The Indian Ocean seems to lack records of any alarming sea-level rise in recent decades; on the contrary, 10 sites analyzed indicate a sea level remaining at about 60.0, at least over the last 50 years or so.”
Watson, 2017
“The analysis in this paper is based on a recently developed analytical package titled ‘‘msltrend,’’ specifically designed to enhance estimates of trend, real-time velocity, and acceleration in the relative mean sea-level signal derived from long annual average ocean water level time series. Key findings are that at the 95% confidence level, no consistent or compelling evidence (yet) exists that recent rates of rise are higher or abnormal in the context of the historical records available across Europe, nor is there any evidence that geocentric rates of rise are above the global average. It is likely a further 20 years of data will distinguish whether recent increases are evidence of the onset of climate change–induced acceleration.”
Donchyts et al., 2016
Earth’s surface water change over the past 30 years [1985-2015]  … Earth’s surface gained 115,000 km2 of water and 173,000 km2 of land over the past 30 years, including 20,135 km2 of water and 33,700 km2 of land in coastal areas.”
 
(press release)
Coastal areas were also analysed, and to the scientists’ surprise, coastlines had gained more land – 33,700 sq km (13,000 sq miles) – than they had been lost to water (20,100 sq km or 7,800 sq miles).  “We expected that the coast would start to retreat due to sea level rise, but the most surprising thing is that the coasts are growing all over the world,” said Dr Baart.  “We’re were able to create more land than sea level rise was taking.”

Warming, ‘Acidification’ Not Harming – Even Benefiting – Marine Species

Toyofuku et al., 2017
Ongoing ocean acidification is widely reported to reduce the ability of calcifying marine organisms to produce their shells and skeletons. Whereas increased dissolution due to acidification is a largely inorganic process, strong organismal control over biomineralization influences calcification and hence complicates predicting the response of marine calcifyers. Here we show that calcification is driven by rapid transformation of bicarbonate into carbonate inside the cytoplasm, achieved by active outward proton pumping. Moreover, this proton flux is maintained over a wide range of pCO2 levels. We furthermore show that a V-type H+ ATPase is responsible for the proton flux and thereby calcification. External transformation of bicarbonate into CO2 due to the proton pumping implies that biomineralization does not rely on availability of carbonate ions, but total dissolved CO2 may not reduce calcification, thereby potentially maintaining the current global marine carbonate production.”
(press release)
[A] group of scientists discovered to their own surprise that some tiny unicellular shellfish (foraminifera) make better shells in an acidic environment. This is a completely new insight.”
Ollier, 2017
“The coast contains ‘carbonate sand factories’ where organisms produce vast amounts of sand by fixing carbon dioxide as carbonates. Far from dissolving carbonate by acidification, carbon dioxide is an essential part of carbonate production and the continued maintenance and growth of coasts and reefs. Government policies to adapt renewable energy are unlikely to affect the system.”
McElhany, 2017
“Documenting an effect of OA [ocean acidification] involves showing a change in a species (e.g. population abundance or distribution) as a consequence of anthropogenic changes in marine carbonate chemistry. To date, there have been no unambiguous demonstrations of a population level effect of anthropogenic OA [ocean acidification], as that term is defined by the IPCC. … [I]t is important to acknowledge that there are no studies that directly demonstrate modern day effects of OA [ocean acidification] on marine species.”
Mardones et al., 2017
“Exposure of the toxigenic dinoflagellate Alexandrium catenella to variations in pCO2/pH, comparable to current and near-future levels observed in Southern Chilean fjords, revealed potential functional adaptation mechanisms. Under calculated conditions for pH(total scale) and pCO2 ranging from 7.73–8.66 to 69.7–721.3 μatm, respectively, the Chilean strain Q09 presented an optimum growth rate and dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) uptake at near-equilibrium pCO2/pH conditions (8.1). … We suggest that A. catenella Chilean strains are highly adapted to spatio-temporal pCO2/pH fluctuations in Chilean fjords, becoming a resilient winner from expected climate change effects.”
Glandon et al., 2017
No effect of high pCO2 on juvenile blue crab, Callinectes sapidus, growth and consumption despite positive responses to concurrent warming … Our study is the first to examine the effect of multiple climate stressors on blue crab and therefore basic responses, including the growth per molt (GPM), inter-molt period (IMP), and food consumption, were quantified. GPM [growth per molt] was not affected by either increased temperature or pCO2.”
Poulton et al., 2017
“For the first time, this study investigated the independent and combined impacts of elevated carbon dioxide (CO2) and anthropogenic noise [produced by shipping, seismic surveys, and pile-driving] on the behaviour of a marine fish, the European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax).  … Elevated CO2 did not alter the ventilation rate response to noise. Furthermore, there was no interaction effect between elevated CO2 and pile-driving noise, suggesting that OA [ocean acidification] is unlikely to influence startle or ventilatory responses of fish to anthropogenic noise.”
Cooper et al., 2017
We determined tolerances of E. pacifica to prolonged exposure to pH levels predicted for 2100 by maintaining adults at two pCO2 levels (380 and 1200 µatm) for 2 months. Rates of survival and moulting were the same at both pCO2 levels. High pCO2 slowed growth in all size classes.”
Hassenrück et al., 2017
Our results suggest that on mature settlement surfaces in situ, pH does not have a strong impact on the composition of bacterial biofilms. Other abiotic and biotic factors such as light exposure and interactions with other organisms may be more important in shaping bacterial biofilms on mature surfaces than changes in seawater pH.”
Lee and Kim, 2017
“High atmospheric CO2 dissolves into the surface of the ocean and lowers the pH of seawater and is thus expected to pose a potential threat to various marine organisms. We investigated the physiological and behavioural responses of adult Manila clams, Venerupis philippinarum (n = 96, shell length 25.32 ± 1.66mm and total wet weight 3.10 ± 0.54 g), to three levels (400, 700, and 900 μatm) of CO2 partial pressure (pCO2) for 48 days. There were no significant differences in mortality, growth, respiration rate, or emergence from the sediment between the three levels, indicating that near future atmospheric levels of CO2 do not seem to have a serious effect on the physiology and behaviour of adult Manila clams.”
Page et al., 2017
“Here, we test the hypotheses that elevated pCO2 will differently impact the relative concentrations of divalent cations (Ca2+, Mg2+, Sr2+, and Mn2+) in four closely related species of porcelain crabs … Overall, the effect of reduced pH/elevated pCO2 on exoskeleton mineral composition was muted in mid-intertidal species relative to low-intertidal species, indicating that extant adaptation to the variable intertidal zone may lessen the impact of ocean acidification (OA) on maintenance of mineralized structures.”
Kienzle et al., 2017
“Rising temperatures increased recruitment of brown tiger prawn (Penaeus esculentus) in Moreton Bay (Australia)”
Long et al., 2017
In this study, we determine the effects of decreased pH on the morphology, growth, and survival of juvenile blue king crab, Paralithodes platypus. Crabs were reared at three pH levels: ambient (control, pH ∼8.1), pH 7.8, and pH 7.5, for 1 year and monitored for morphological changes, survival, and growth. Exposure to seawater at pH 7.8 had no effect on morphology or mortality and had only a minor effect on growth compared with the ambient treatment.”
Comeau et al., 2017
“Here, we tested the response of net photosynthesis, gross photosynthesis, dark respiration, and light-enhanced dark respiration (LEDR) of eight coral taxa and seven calcified alga taxa to six different pCO2 levels (from 280 to 2000 µatm). Organisms were maintained during 7–10 days incubations in identical conditions of light, temperature, and pCO2 to facilitate comparisons among species. Net photosynthesis was not affected by pCO2 in seven of eight corals or any of the algae; gross photosynthesis did not respond to pCO2 in six coral taxa and six algal taxa; dark respiration also was unaffected by pCO2 in six coral and six algae; and LEDR did not respond to pCO2 in any of the tested species. Overall, our results show that pCO2 levels up to 2000 µatm likely will not fertilize photosynthesis or modify respiration rates of most of the main calcifiers on the back reef of Moorea, French Polynesia.”
Bailey et al., 2017
Early life stages of the Arctic copepod Calanus glacialis are unaffected by increased seawater pCO2 … In this study, we investigated the effect of increased pCO2 on the early developmental stages of the key Arctic copepod Calanus glacialis. Eggs from wild-caught C. glacialis females from Svalbard, Norway (80°N), were cultured for 2 months to copepodite stage C1 in 2°C seawater under four pCO2 treatments (320, 530, 800, and 1700 μatm). … All endpoints were unaffected by pCO2 levels projected for the year 2300. These results indicate that naupliar development in wild populations of C. glacialis is unlikely to be detrimentally affected in a future high CO2 ocean.”
Schaum et al., 2017
“Here, we use a decade-long experiment in outdoor mesocosms to investigate mechanisms of adaptation to warming (+4 °C above ambient temperature) in the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, in naturally assembled communities. Isolates from warmed mesocosms had higher optimal growth temperatures than their counterparts from ambient treatments. Consequently, warm-adapted isolates were stronger competitors at elevated temperature and experienced a decline in competitive fitness in ambient conditions, indicating adaptation to local thermal regimes. Higher competitive fitness in the warmed isolates was linked to greater photosynthetic capacity and reduced susceptibility to photoinhibition. These findings suggest that adaptive responses to warming in phytoplankton could help to mitigate projected declines in aquatic net primary production by increasing rates of cellular net photosynthesis.”

Polar Bear Populations Not Declining, Sea Ice Loss Is Not Connected To Survival

Crockford, 2017
Data collected between 2007 and 2015 reveal that polar bear numbers have not declined as predicted and no subpopulation has been extirpated. Several subpopulations expected to be at high risk of decline have remained stable and at least one showed a marked increase in population size over the entire period. Another at-risk subpopulation was not counted but showed marked improvement in reproductive parameters and body condition with less summer ice. As a consequence, the hypothesis that repeated summer sea ice levels of below 5 mkm2 will cause significant population declines in polar bears is rejected. This result indicates that the ESA and IUCN judgments to list polar bears as threatened based on future risks of habitat loss were hasty generalizations that were scientifically unfounded, which suggests that similar predictions for Arctic seals and walrus may be likewise flawed, while the lack of a demonstrable ‘sea ice decline = population decline’ relationship for polar bears invalidates updated survival model outputs that predict catastrophic population declines should the Arctic become ice-free in summer.”
York et al., 2016 
“Subpopulation growth rates and the probability of decline at current harvest levels were determined for 13 subpopulations of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) that are within or shared with Canada based on mark–recapture estimates of population numbers and vital rates, and harvest statistics using population viability analyses (PVA). … Considering both TEK [traditional ecological knowledge] and scientific information, we suggest that the current status of Canadian polar bear subpopulations in 2013 was 12 stable/increasing and one declining (Kane Basin). We do not find support for the perspective that polar bears within or shared with Canada are currently in any sort of climate crisis.
This article appeared on the NoTricksZone website at http://notrickszone.com/2017/08/14/35-new-papers-affirm-warmth-elevated-co2-are-good-for-the-earth-and-its-inhabitants/
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