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Published on January 4th, 2009 | by Andrew Williams

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Green Algae Bloom Process Could Stop Global Warming

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January 4th, 2009 by  

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A team of UK scientists have discovered a natural process that could delay, or even end, the threat of global warming.

The researchers, aboard the Royal Navy’s HMS Endurance, have found that melting icebergs off the coast of Antarctica are releasing millions of tiny particles of iron into the southern Ocean, helping to create huge ‘blooms’ of algae that absorb carbon emissions. The algae then sinks to the icy depths, effectively removing CO2 from the atmosphere for hundreds of years.

According to lead researcher, Prof. Rob Raiswell of Leeds University, “The Earth itself seems to want to save us.”

Scientists have known for some time that artificially created algal blooms could be used to absorb greenhouse gases, but the technique has been banned for fear of causing unforeseen side effects in fragile ecosystems. However, based on the UK team’s evidence that the process has been occurring naturally for millions of years, and on a wide scale, the UN has given the green light for a ground-breaking experiment later this month.

The team will seek to create a massive algae bloom by releasing several tons of iron sulphate into the sea off the coast of the British island of South Georgia. The patch will apparently be large enough to be visible from space.

If successful, the technique could be rolled out across vast swathes of the Great Southern Ocean. Scientists calculate that if the whole 20 million square miles was treated, it could remove up to three and a half Gigatons of C02, equivalent to one eighth of all global annual emissions from fossil fuels.

It would be a huge irony if melting icebergs, until now a powerful symbol of the damage caused by global warming, reveal a process that may enable scientists to take steps that might drastically reduce, and potentially even halt, the threat of environmental catasrophe.

Image Credit – nick_russill via flickr.com on a Creative Commons license

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About the Author

is a writer and freelance journalist specialising in sustainability and green issues. He lives in Cardiff, Wales.



  • http://www.facebook.com/GaiusT Gaius Timms

    What about any externalities which may negatively effect ecosystems and the ocean itself?
    Even if they are taken step by step on small scale to transition into large scale experiments, there is no way they can possibly know how this may affect different ecosystems world wide.

  • jaideep

    am trying an expt. to use green algae in a tub at home and having the water recycled periodically if every house were to do it would it not help absorb the carbon and increse the oxygen..

  • jaideep

    am trying an expt. to use green algae in a tub at home and having the water recycled periodically if every house were to do it would it not help absorb the carbon and increse the oxygen..

    • Reneefkaplan

      I would like to try this and am looking for info on how to do this

    • Reneefkaplan

      I would like to try this and am looking for info on how to do this

  • TerraformVenusFirst

    I agree with the others that see this as a reckless experiment. It should be done on a small scale first until the complete results are thoroughly understood. I also wonder if the increase in CO2 in the atmosphere is contributing to the increase in toxic algae blooms world wide.

    The safest course of action is to transition away from fossil fuels much more aggressively. We already have the technology. Solar + Wind + Hydro + Nuclear + Pumped storage and other energy storage methods can replace all our coal plants.

    We may want to keep some of the coal around for steel production but instead of spending 10 billion to research clean coal (which just allows the coal industry to keep it’s status quo for 10 or 20 more years) we could put about 2GW of solar panels on government buildings and make an *actual* difference and actually get our money back over the long term.

  • TerraformVenusFirst

    I agree with the others that see this as a reckless experiment. It should be done on a small scale first until the complete results are thoroughly understood. I also wonder if the increase in CO2 in the atmosphere is contributing to the increase in toxic algae blooms world wide.

    The safest course of action is to transition away from fossil fuels much more aggressively. We already have the technology. Solar + Wind + Hydro + Nuclear + Pumped storage and other energy storage methods can replace all our coal plants.

    We may want to keep some of the coal around for steel production but instead of spending 10 billion to research clean coal (which just allows the coal industry to keep it’s status quo for 10 or 20 more years) we could put about 2GW of solar panels on government buildings and make an *actual* difference and actually get our money back over the long term.

  • Noah

    Jared makes a good point. I thought that at a certain point, algae blooms become too big and create dead zones (lowering O2 in the water). This idea is messing with too many variables that we can’t control. We should be working on variables that we already added (coal and oil pollution).

  • Noah

    Jared makes a good point. I thought that at a certain point, algae blooms become too big and create dead zones (lowering O2 in the water). This idea is messing with too many variables that we can’t control. We should be working on variables that we already added (coal and oil pollution).

  • John Groweg

    I thought algae blooms consume all the oxygen in a body of water and kill off fish. I recall reading about ‘dead zones’ in the Gulf of Mexico where the Mississippi River dumps organic material into the Gulf spurring algae blooms. The dead zone has depleted oxygen and can’t support sea life. I hope these folks have done their homework.

  • John Groweg

    I thought algae blooms consume all the oxygen in a body of water and kill off fish. I recall reading about ‘dead zones’ in the Gulf of Mexico where the Mississippi River dumps organic material into the Gulf spurring algae blooms. The dead zone has depleted oxygen and can’t support sea life. I hope these folks have done their homework.

  • Buddy Ebsen

    I love all these ‘deep thinkers’ with their own pet theories about AGW. They post endlessly on web forums, because that’s the only place their opinionated lunacy is tolerated. Their friends have learned to either nod a lot in agreement, or quickly walk away.

    Look at Dave’s post: he states that the human contribution of atmospheric CO2 is teeny-tiny. You think a 35% increase is insignificant? That’s using Wikipedia as a source, please feel free to quote your more authoritative one. No nutjob blogs please, actual scientific sources only – remember you’re the one posting your pet theory here.

    Dave further states “Nuclear is the only “alternative” that can produce energy on a scale comparable with oil and coal” – please provide a link to the study that corroborates this ‘fact’. Or if its just your own opinion that you just pulled out of your rear end, then how about backing it up with any actual facts of any kind? No? Not even a half-baked theory? I think Pickens would disagree, along with many others.

    Hey, Bob M – if the proof of your ‘normal cyclical pattern’ of climate change has too little history of documentation, then how do you back it up? Where is this documentation by “the scientific community”? Please provide a citation. Or is this another ‘fun fact’ made up to help you hide from your fear?

    Feel free to have your own uneducated opinions, but please stop trying to spread ignorance. Look deeper into yourself for the real reasons for your denial. I think you will find some troubling truths about yourself and your lifestyle.

  • Buddy Ebsen

    I love all these ‘deep thinkers’ with their own pet theories about AGW. They post endlessly on web forums, because that’s the only place their opinionated lunacy is tolerated. Their friends have learned to either nod a lot in agreement, or quickly walk away.

    Look at Dave’s post: he states that the human contribution of atmospheric CO2 is teeny-tiny. You think a 35% increase is insignificant? That’s using Wikipedia as a source, please feel free to quote your more authoritative one. No nutjob blogs please, actual scientific sources only – remember you’re the one posting your pet theory here.

    Dave further states “Nuclear is the only “alternative” that can produce energy on a scale comparable with oil and coal” – please provide a link to the study that corroborates this ‘fact’. Or if its just your own opinion that you just pulled out of your rear end, then how about backing it up with any actual facts of any kind? No? Not even a half-baked theory? I think Pickens would disagree, along with many others.

    Hey, Bob M – if the proof of your ‘normal cyclical pattern’ of climate change has too little history of documentation, then how do you back it up? Where is this documentation by “the scientific community”? Please provide a citation. Or is this another ‘fun fact’ made up to help you hide from your fear?

    Feel free to have your own uneducated opinions, but please stop trying to spread ignorance. Look deeper into yourself for the real reasons for your denial. I think you will find some troubling truths about yourself and your lifestyle.

  • http://planktos-science.com russ

    The measured catastrophic decline of ocean plants in the past 30 years has resulted in 4-5 billion tonnes of CO2 NOT bing converted by photosynthess into living biomass each year. This dcline is due to the greening effect CO2 has on terrestrial plants making better ‘ground cover’ hence less mineral rich dust reaching the oceans.

    The oceans contain at equillibrium about 60,000 billion tonnes of carbon the terrestrial world cotains about 2,000 tonnes. Do the math if we need to mitigate a few billion tonnes of fossil carbon emissions wouldn’t it be logical to restore ocean productivity to the condition it was only 30 years ago and solve more than half the problem by converting CO2 to ocean life instead of acid death.

    We all live on Planet Ocean not Planet Earth. That is where he most immediate and cataclysmic impact of our fossil fueled emissions is happening and fast not at a glacial pace. Replenishment of denied vital mineral miconutrients to the oceans is immediately workable and will cost 1% of the cost of other “climate change” solutions. It wil solve half the problem for a few billion per year buying us time to spend the hundreds of billions required on engineering and political solutions for the remaining half the problem. Read more at http://www.planktos-science.com

  • http://planktos-science.com russ

    The measured catastrophic decline of ocean plants in the past 30 years has resulted in 4-5 billion tonnes of CO2 NOT bing converted by photosynthess into living biomass each year. This dcline is due to the greening effect CO2 has on terrestrial plants making better ‘ground cover’ hence less mineral rich dust reaching the oceans.

    The oceans contain at equillibrium about 60,000 billion tonnes of carbon the terrestrial world cotains about 2,000 tonnes. Do the math if we need to mitigate a few billion tonnes of fossil carbon emissions wouldn’t it be logical to restore ocean productivity to the condition it was only 30 years ago and solve more than half the problem by converting CO2 to ocean life instead of acid death.

    We all live on Planet Ocean not Planet Earth. That is where he most immediate and cataclysmic impact of our fossil fueled emissions is happening and fast not at a glacial pace. Replenishment of denied vital mineral miconutrients to the oceans is immediately workable and will cost 1% of the cost of other “climate change” solutions. It wil solve half the problem for a few billion per year buying us time to spend the hundreds of billions required on engineering and political solutions for the remaining half the problem. Read more at http://www.planktos-science.com

  • Dave

    The total amount of Carbon on Earth is a constant. Learn about the Carbon Cycle. The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is tiny and the human contribution is teeny tiny. It is nature that provides the mechanisms to move the carbon through the cycle. btw, CO2 is plant food, not pollution.

    Speaking of tiny… Alternative energy provides a tiny portion of energy produced. I’m all for it but lets not pretend that solar, wind and geothermal can replace oil and coal. Nuclear is the only “alternative” that can produce energy on a scale comparable with oil and coal.

  • Dave

    The total amount of Carbon on Earth is a constant. Learn about the Carbon Cycle. The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is tiny and the human contribution is teeny tiny. It is nature that provides the mechanisms to move the carbon through the cycle. btw, CO2 is plant food, not pollution.

    Speaking of tiny… Alternative energy provides a tiny portion of energy produced. I’m all for it but lets not pretend that solar, wind and geothermal can replace oil and coal. Nuclear is the only “alternative” that can produce energy on a scale comparable with oil and coal.

  • http://www.ecosalon.com Mike@EcoSalon

    “The Earth itself seems to want to save us.”

    Very ‘Edge Of Darkness’. :)

    Staying the most profound depths of the warming crisis by a few thousand years is certainly enough time for the human race to formulate a better response.

    And it’s not a solution on its own, surely. It’s the same situation as alternate energy sources: it’s part of a range of responses. No need for thousands of Spain-sizes algae fields if it’s used in tandem with other techniques (such as the use of peridotite to soak up carbon dioxide, somehow).

  • http://www.ecosalon.com Mike@EcoSalon

    “The Earth itself seems to want to save us.”

    Very ‘Edge Of Darkness’. :)

    Staying the most profound depths of the warming crisis by a few thousand years is certainly enough time for the human race to formulate a better response.

    And it’s not a solution on its own, surely. It’s the same situation as alternate energy sources: it’s part of a range of responses. No need for thousands of Spain-sizes algae fields if it’s used in tandem with other techniques (such as the use of peridotite to soak up carbon dioxide, somehow).

  • http://www.ecosalon.com Mike@EcoSalon

    “The Earth itself seems to want to save us.”

    Very ‘Edge Of Darkness’. :)

    Staying the most profound depths of the warming crisis by a few thousand years is certainly enough time for the human race to formulate a better response.

    And it’s not a solution on its own, surely. It’s the same situation as alternate energy sources: it’s part of a range of responses. No need for thousands of Spain-sizes algae fields if it’s used in tandem with other techniques (such as the use of peridotite to soak up carbon dioxide, somehow).

  • Frederick

    The oceans naturally absorb and emit CO2. This is GCC folks trying to trump a natural process for their own financial / power benefit….the propping up of a grand hoax.

  • Frederick

    The oceans naturally absorb and emit CO2. This is GCC folks trying to trump a natural process for their own financial / power benefit….the propping up of a grand hoax.

  • Frederick

    The oceans naturally absorb and emit CO2. This is GCC folks trying to trump a natural process for their own financial / power benefit….the propping up of a grand hoax.

  • fong

    funny how he said the earth wants to save us,these researchers are proving the global warming theory wrong a little more everyday,in ten years it will swing the other way and the’ll be trying to figure out who to blame for the next mini ice age.

  • fong

    funny how he said the earth wants to save us,these researchers are proving the global warming theory wrong a little more everyday,in ten years it will swing the other way and the’ll be trying to figure out who to blame for the next mini ice age.

  • fong

    funny how he said the earth wants to save us,these researchers are proving the global warming theory wrong a little more everyday,in ten years it will swing the other way and the’ll be trying to figure out who to blame for the next mini ice age.

  • Bob M

    Global Warming is mostly a lie kicked up by the government and private research institutes who can use it to generate funding. While the average temperature of the earth may be warming each year, it has been documented by the scientific community that this follows a normal cyclical pattern. As humans have only been around for a relatively short period of time, such climate changes are normal, we have simply not had the history to document it. People are spending huge amounts of money to become greener which is excellent. But ultimately thinking that humans are going to be able to curb this cycle, or somehow influence it is rather ridiculous. Even if America goes 100% green, the rest of the world has to follow.

    This article is just another way of proving that the global warming group is off base in their scare tactics. The earth is correcting the CO2 problem via naturally occurring systems.

    thanks for shopping.

  • Bob M

    Global Warming is mostly a lie kicked up by the government and private research institutes who can use it to generate funding. While the average temperature of the earth may be warming each year, it has been documented by the scientific community that this follows a normal cyclical pattern. As humans have only been around for a relatively short period of time, such climate changes are normal, we have simply not had the history to document it. People are spending huge amounts of money to become greener which is excellent. But ultimately thinking that humans are going to be able to curb this cycle, or somehow influence it is rather ridiculous. Even if America goes 100% green, the rest of the world has to follow.

    This article is just another way of proving that the global warming group is off base in their scare tactics. The earth is correcting the CO2 problem via naturally occurring systems.

    thanks for shopping.

  • Bob M

    Global Warming is mostly a lie kicked up by the government and private research institutes who can use it to generate funding. While the average temperature of the earth may be warming each year, it has been documented by the scientific community that this follows a normal cyclical pattern. As humans have only been around for a relatively short period of time, such climate changes are normal, we have simply not had the history to document it. People are spending huge amounts of money to become greener which is excellent. But ultimately thinking that humans are going to be able to curb this cycle, or somehow influence it is rather ridiculous. Even if America goes 100% green, the rest of the world has to follow.

    This article is just another way of proving that the global warming group is off base in their scare tactics. The earth is correcting the CO2 problem via naturally occurring systems.

    thanks for shopping.

  • http://GlobalPatriot.com Global Patriot

    The earth does have its own built in mechanisms for ‘staying alive’ but this idea could also backfire if such a process is artificially enhanced by man and knocks the ecosystem out of balance. We seem to specialize in too-much-of-a-good-thing.

  • http://GlobalPatriot.com Global Patriot

    The earth does have its own built in mechanisms for ‘staying alive’ but this idea could also backfire if such a process is artificially enhanced by man and knocks the ecosystem out of balance. We seem to specialize in too-much-of-a-good-thing.

  • http://GlobalPatriot.com Global Patriot

    The earth does have its own built in mechanisms for ‘staying alive’ but this idea could also backfire if such a process is artificially enhanced by man and knocks the ecosystem out of balance. We seem to specialize in too-much-of-a-good-thing.

  • jimb

    I’m not an expert, but it would seem that ecosystems are nothing more than a stratification of chemicals and substances. Organism that feed on carbon only to die and sink to the bottom of the ocean is a significant part of why the human ecosystem is the way it is.

    All the burning and processing of fossil fuels we suck out of the ground is “de-stratifying” what nature has been doing sense the dawn of life on this planet.

    I certainly hope this works, because we need something. Lets just hope there are no ¨really bad” unforseeable consequences.

  • jimb

    I’m not an expert, but it would seem that ecosystems are nothing more than a stratification of chemicals and substances. Organism that feed on carbon only to die and sink to the bottom of the ocean is a significant part of why the human ecosystem is the way it is.

    All the burning and processing of fossil fuels we suck out of the ground is “de-stratifying” what nature has been doing sense the dawn of life on this planet.

    I certainly hope this works, because we need something. Lets just hope there are no ¨really bad” unforseeable consequences.

  • jimb

    I’m not an expert, but it would seem that ecosystems are nothing more than a stratification of chemicals and substances. Organism that feed on carbon only to die and sink to the bottom of the ocean is a significant part of why the human ecosystem is the way it is.

    All the burning and processing of fossil fuels we suck out of the ground is “de-stratifying” what nature has been doing sense the dawn of life on this planet.

    I certainly hope this works, because we need something. Lets just hope there are no ¨really bad” unforseeable consequences.

  • Billy

    I think the point is that the algae has the ability to break down the emmisions. So it won’t run around in our atmoshphere and ocean.

    Quit being such an annoying pessimist.

  • Billy

    I think the point is that the algae has the ability to break down the emmisions. So it won’t run around in our atmoshphere and ocean.

    Quit being such an annoying pessimist.

  • Billy

    I think the point is that the algae has the ability to break down the emmisions. So it won’t run around in our atmoshphere and ocean.

    Quit being such an annoying pessimist.

  • Joe

    Hundreds, or thousands as you put it, of years is not a “short-term” solution. There isn’t really a danger that this will be accepted as the only solution.

    Our fossil fuels will be depleted long before the eaten carbon emissions resurface. Even if global warming were irrefutably disproved tomorrow we would still move toward more environmentally friendly sources of energy. Electric cars fueled by solar, wind, water etc, are simply more sustainable, promote better national security and provide a future for massive energy companies when the oil, inevitably, runs dry.

  • Joe

    Hundreds, or thousands as you put it, of years is not a “short-term” solution. There isn’t really a danger that this will be accepted as the only solution.

    Our fossil fuels will be depleted long before the eaten carbon emissions resurface. Even if global warming were irrefutably disproved tomorrow we would still move toward more environmentally friendly sources of energy. Electric cars fueled by solar, wind, water etc, are simply more sustainable, promote better national security and provide a future for massive energy companies when the oil, inevitably, runs dry.

  • Tim

    The impending eruption of the Yosemite Super Volcano will also stifle global warming by tossing up roughly 240 cubic miles worth of rock and dust, possibly cooling the earth enough to trigger an ice age.

  • Tim

    The impending eruption of the Yosemite Super Volcano will also stifle global warming by tossing up roughly 240 cubic miles worth of rock and dust, possibly cooling the earth enough to trigger an ice age.

  • Jared

    Ah, the old “don’t worry if we do nothing the planet will fix itself”

    Algal blooms cause massive problems in underwater ecosystems, and in reality are one of the biggest problems that rivers/lakes/coasts face today. Guess what also produces algal blooms, waste runoff from manufacturing plants and fertilizers. These algal explode(or bloom) into massive numbers and absorb all essential resources while blocking sunlight. They choke the life out of the waters they exist in.

    God i hate these pseudo-scientists who publish their bullshit in bad articles.

  • Jared

    Ah, the old “don’t worry if we do nothing the planet will fix itself”

    Algal blooms cause massive problems in underwater ecosystems, and in reality are one of the biggest problems that rivers/lakes/coasts face today. Guess what also produces algal blooms, waste runoff from manufacturing plants and fertilizers. These algal explode(or bloom) into massive numbers and absorb all essential resources while blocking sunlight. They choke the life out of the waters they exist in.

    God i hate these pseudo-scientists who publish their bullshit in bad articles.

  • Jared

    Ah, the old “don’t worry if we do nothing the planet will fix itself”

    Algal blooms cause massive problems in underwater ecosystems, and in reality are one of the biggest problems that rivers/lakes/coasts face today. Guess what also produces algal blooms, waste runoff from manufacturing plants and fertilizers. These algal explode(or bloom) into massive numbers and absorb all essential resources while blocking sunlight. They choke the life out of the waters they exist in.

    God i hate these pseudo-scientists who publish their bullshit in bad articles.

  • http://www.walkerfx.com Steven Walker

    This sounds dangerous to me. Who knows what other side effects dropping large amounts of iron into the ocean could have or the effects of creating such a large algae bloom at once. Humans do not have a good track record when it comes to making judgments about what is and isn’t good for certain ecosystems, and we know the least about the deep sea.

    I’m not saying that this option should not be explored, but people should not be in haste to accept it as a practical healthy solution until research has been exhaustively carried out. Producing a measurable result in the atmosphere is not the only thing that matters here. What’s much more important is that as humans we continue to strive to be eco-friendly in our industries and way of life. We must live in harmony with Earth by understanding and operating within it’s natural tolerances.

  • http://www.walkerfx.com Steven Walker

    This sounds dangerous to me. Who knows what other side effects dropping large amounts of iron into the ocean could have or the effects of creating such a large algae bloom at once. Humans do not have a good track record when it comes to making judgments about what is and isn’t good for certain ecosystems, and we know the least about the deep sea.

    I’m not saying that this option should not be explored, but people should not be in haste to accept it as a practical healthy solution until research has been exhaustively carried out. Producing a measurable result in the atmosphere is not the only thing that matters here. What’s much more important is that as humans we continue to strive to be eco-friendly in our industries and way of life. We must live in harmony with Earth by understanding and operating within it’s natural tolerances.

  • http://www.walkerfx.com Steven Walker

    This sounds dangerous to me. Who knows what other side effects dropping large amounts of iron into the ocean could have or the effects of creating such a large algae bloom at once. Humans do not have a good track record when it comes to making judgments about what is and isn’t good for certain ecosystems, and we know the least about the deep sea.

    I’m not saying that this option should not be explored, but people should not be in haste to accept it as a practical healthy solution until research has been exhaustively carried out. Producing a measurable result in the atmosphere is not the only thing that matters here. What’s much more important is that as humans we continue to strive to be eco-friendly in our industries and way of life. We must live in harmony with Earth by understanding and operating within it’s natural tolerances.

  • Facarus

    20 million square miles to remove one eighth of global annual emissions from fossil fuels… is this a joke?? Spain measures 200,000 square miles, thus to cover the size of 100 Spains of ocean with algea, seems to me somewhat radical… USA is 3.79 million square miles, cover 5 times the size of the states of ocean… seems like a bad idea, hope its a joke or that the figures are wrong. Rivers die because algea created from pollution dont permit the dissolving of oxygen in water… mmmm

  • Facarus

    20 million square miles to remove one eighth of global annual emissions from fossil fuels… is this a joke?? Spain measures 200,000 square miles, thus to cover the size of 100 Spains of ocean with algea, seems to me somewhat radical… USA is 3.79 million square miles, cover 5 times the size of the states of ocean… seems like a bad idea, hope its a joke or that the figures are wrong. Rivers die because algea created from pollution dont permit the dissolving of oxygen in water… mmmm

  • Sean Jesiolowski

    Steve, I don’t believe that any significant amount of carbon will become part of the atmosphere once it resides in the algae on the bottom of the ocean. It doesn’t make sense. Burning the coal produced from the algal compost, however, will put those atoms back into the environment (in the form of CO2). And for acidity, the algae would work as a buffer, neutralizing the pH of the water.

  • Brad (required)

    I thought we were supposed to call it “climate change” now, and pretend every storm was caused by SUVs.

  • Sean Jesiolowski

    Steve, I don’t believe that any significant amount of carbon will become part of the atmosphere once it resides in the algae on the bottom of the ocean. It doesn’t make sense. Burning the coal produced from the algal compost, however, will put those atoms back into the environment (in the form of CO2). And for acidity, the algae would work as a buffer, neutralizing the pH of the water.

  • Brad (required)

    I thought we were supposed to call it “climate change” now, and pretend every storm was caused by SUVs.

  • Brad (required)

    I thought we were supposed to call it “climate change” now, and pretend every storm was caused by SUVs.

    • Craig Allen

      Having the intellectual capacity of a toddler, you must find the world a bewildering place – bless.

  • chemosapien

    steve, your right about the carbon not entirely sinking to the sea floor, rather it would cycle into the ocean ecosystem, but the key that you missed is the carbon will be organically bound (acid level is raised by inorganic carbon(CO2)), thus by turning CO2 into organic carbon the algae bloom will raise the pH, not lower it.

    also, does “thousands of years”, as you say, actually sound “short-term” to you?

  • chemosapien

    steve, your right about the carbon not entirely sinking to the sea floor, rather it would cycle into the ocean ecosystem, but the key that you missed is the carbon will be organically bound (acid level is raised by inorganic carbon(CO2)), thus by turning CO2 into organic carbon the algae bloom will raise the pH, not lower it.

    also, does “thousands of years”, as you say, actually sound “short-term” to you?

  • Steve Albers

    This is just a short-term solution in my view. The carbon will probably stay in the ocean, just more deeply. So over thousands of years it will still be around to potentially mix back into the atmosphere.

    The ocean would also be more acidic with this scenario. Only a small portion of the carbon may get buried in the ocean bottom sediment.

  • Steve Albers

    This is just a short-term solution in my view. The carbon will probably stay in the ocean, just more deeply. So over thousands of years it will still be around to potentially mix back into the atmosphere.

    The ocean would also be more acidic with this scenario. Only a small portion of the carbon may get buried in the ocean bottom sediment.

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