Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Fertilizing the Ocean with Iron


Interesting experiment. With so many fishes turning up dead in the oceans in the last few years, it makes you wonder if it is not related with some of these experiments.

Unresolved Questions
Twelve small experiments have shown that blooms of phytoplankton consistently result from intentional addition of iron to the ocean. But the efficacy and ecological impacts of iron fertilization remain uncertain, particularly with larger-scale experiments. If and when a new round of experiments is begun, these questions will be first on the list:

  • How long will carbon be sequestered in the ocean?
  • How deep is deep enough to accomplish this?
  • How can sequestration efficiency be increased?
  • How does the ocean food web change during and after a bloom?
  • Which phytoplankton and grazers raise sequestration efficiency?
  • Which parts of the ocean are best for iron fertilization?
  • What size and what shaped patch should be fertilized?
  • How often and how continually should iron be added?
  • What kinds of currents and surface conditions give the best results?
  • How can the amount and fate of carbon from a bloom be verified?
  • How could effects downstream of experiments be detected?
  • How could the production of other greenhouse gases be monitored


WHOI : Oceanus : Fertilizing the Ocean with Iron

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