Scientists from Germany’s Alfred Wegener Institute have been given approval to proceed with a controversial plan to dump several tons of iron into the Southern Ocean. A recent study from the University of Southampton has shown that seeding the ocean with iron can lock carbon away from the atmosphere permanently, but many environmentalists are concerned about the scheme’s long-term effects.
The University of Southampton study showed that a natural source of iron at the northern boundary of the Southern Ocean tripled the growth of phytoplankton in the area. When marine algae and phytoplankton die, they take vast quantities of CO2 with them to the bottom of the ocean, leading to permanent carbon sequestration.
Results from previous ocean fertilization studies, however, are often contradictory, and researchers do not have data on the long-term effectiveness of iron-dumping. At this point, we’ll only find out the impact of ocean fertilization on local ecology after Alfred Wegener’s scientists complete their experiment.
Photo Credit: CC-licensed by Flickr user mischiru
Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.
Electrifying Industrial Heat for Steel, Cement, & More
I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it! We just don't like paywalls, and so we've decided to ditch ours. Unfortunately, the media business is still a tough, cut-throat business with tiny margins. It's a never-ending Olympic challenge to stay above water or even perhaps — gasp — grow. So ...