Monday, March 23, 2009

Controversial Iron-Seeding Experiment Produces a lot of Algae but Little CO2 Storage

After dumping six tons of iron filings into the Southern Ocean from the German research ship the Polarstern the scientists who conducted this geoengineering experiment have said that although they did manage to stimulate the growth of algae little of the carbon dioxide taken up by these microscopic organisms wound up on the floor of the ocean. Instead, most of the algae entered into the food chain as they were consumed by tiny organisms which in turn were consumed by somewhat larger organisms. One of the scientists, Professor Victor Smetacek, told BBC News that “What it means is the Southern Ocean cannot sequester the amount of carbon dioxide that one had hoped.” This experiment, which was considered as large scale, at least by protesters, covered 300 sq km of ocean. But it seems to be in fact rather small compared to what a company called Climos is planning. BBC News reports that this company plans to carry out an iron fertilization experiment that could cover up to 40,000 sq km of ocean. Considering all the protests surrounding this experiment using the Polarstern it seems almost certain that the protests will be even much larger if it appears that the Climos experiment will be carried out.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Looks like this isn't such a good idea and its good to know this now...I wouldn't be surprised to find alot of the geo-engineering ideas to turn out like this. We should do limited testing of the lot of them so the best can be determined, as it looks like we're not going make the 450ppm limit, at all...and we're going to need a way to cheat when/if we finally start getting our emissions down.