Seeding oceans with iron could help limit global warming

Discussion in 'Environment' started by Matthew, Jul 19, 2012.

  1. Matthew
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    Matthew Blue dog all the way!

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    Seeding oceans with iron could help limit global warming


    A team of German researchers believe stimulating the growth of algae in our oceans may offer a viable method of removing excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

    Indeed, despite alternative studies suggesting the above-mentioned approach is ineffective, a recent analysis of an ocean-fertilization experiment conducted 8 years ago in the Southern Ocean indicates that encouraging algae blooms to grow can soak up carbon - which is then deposited in the deep ocean as the algae dies.



    Way back in February 2004, researchers involved in the European Iron Fertilization Experiment (EIFEX) fertilized 167 square kilometers of the Southern Ocean with several tons of iron sulphate. For 37 days, the team on board the German research vessel Polarstern monitored the bloom and demise of single-cell algae (phytoplankton) in the iron-limited but otherwise nutrient-rich ocean region.

    Interestingly enough, each atom of added iron pulled at least 13,000 atoms of carbon out of the atmosphere by encouraging algal growth which, through photosynthesis, captures carbon. As noted above, much of the captured carbon was transported to the deep ocean, where it will remain sequestered for centuries - essentially acting as a "carbon sink."

    "At least half of the bloom was exported to depths greater than 1,000 metres," explains Victor Smetacek, a marine biologist at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, Germany, who led the study.

    The team used a turbidity meter - a device that measures the degree to which water becomes less transparent owing to the presence of suspended particles - to establish the amount of biomass, such as dead algae, that rained down the water column towards the sea floor. Samples collected outside the experimental area showed substantially less carbon being deposited in the deep ocean
    Seeding oceans with iron could help limit global warming

    Well, old rocks should we cover the entire ocean with this?
     
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    Last edited: Jul 19, 2012
  2. Trakar
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    Trakar VIP Member

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    How much carbon would be emitted (using surrent technologies and resources) in the recovery, refinement, transportation and distribution of the Iron required to sustantively impact atmospheric Carbon concentrations? How many eddy current regions are there where we could employ the technique and and how long would it take to drop atmospheric levels back to 1880 levels?
     
  3. chikenwing
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    chikenwing Guest

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    Looking at the spectacular failures we have engineered in past,trying to"FIX" mother nature why would we even think this wouldn't backfire like all the rest.

    Back to the drawing board.
     
  4. Old Rocks
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    Old Rocks Diamond Member

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    No, we should try anything like this in measured and careful test areas. There are bound to be unintended consequences and we need to know and understand how those consequences will play out in a larger application.

    Having said that, if we keep on the path we are on at present, we may find ourselves forced to do geo-engineering without adaquete tests.
     
  5. bobgnote
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    bobgnote BANNED

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    We need to exploit algae, with switchgrass and hemp, as CO2-neutral biomass media, to be processed into ethanol, by ultrasound or other modern methods.
     
  6. Mr. H.
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    Mr. H. Diamond Member

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    Isn't there enough iron in the ocean already? WWI and WWII there must be millions of tons of ships, tanks, and planes down there.
     
  7. bobgnote
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    bobgnote BANNED

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    We need to test media, for causing iron to remove carbon, given the rate of return.

    We need to radically re-green deserts and polluted areas, but if some form of bloom removes 13,000 atoms of carbon, for each atom of iron, hey now. Let's get some little plants and test them.

    I see no reason, why we should not try to use algae, this way, on large oceanic areas, during different seasons.
     
  8. Matthew
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    Matthew Blue dog all the way!

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    Might kill the lower part of the food chain that lives in our oceans. There's risk with doing so.
     
  9. tjvh
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    tjvh Senior Member

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    Nice... We could just dump all of those rusting heaps on the side of the roads into the Oceans. Problem solved.[​IMG]
     
  10. Matthew
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    Matthew Blue dog all the way!

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    No, it must be mashed into a fine powder and spread over the oceans. :eusa_boohoo:
     

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