More ocean stuff, this time to do with CO2 … last week Nature published an article on results from a study that put iron-rich fertilizer in the ocean near Antarctica.
A team of oceanographers from Californian marine research institutes dropped 1.7 tonnes of iron sulphate in the sea as part of the Southern Ocean Iron Experiment in 2002. They then used floating robots to measure the carbon flux – and found that lots of biomass was indeed created and consigned to the depths of the ocean, either as dead algae or fish excrement.
Nature has also run a story in 1999 on how and why such an approach would work.
The ever-incisive Russel Seitz has a Tech Central Station article today on the research:
But for once, the initial margin of amazement belongs to the optimists. This observed ratio of return of carbon to iron-conservatively three orders of magnitude — is simply too large to ignore. Nobody in his right mind wants to bet trillions on carbon taxes given the uncertainty and trans-political time frame of the hypothetical impact of CO2 bracket creep, but downshifting the environmental ante from mind boggling fractions of M1 to mere hundreds of millions of dollars makes for a whole new game-one with real players instead of the usual crowd of shills and pigeons herded in by UNEP.
Paradigm shifts happen. Going from gigatons of fuel and CO2 to mere boatloads of iron fertilizer is a change so egregious as to compel hard thought all around.
This bears watching.