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Can Adding Iron To Oceans Slow Global Warming0

Can Adding Iron To Oceans Slow Global Warming0 Can Adding Iron To Oceans Slow Global Warming

Published at Thursday, 31 January 2019. Global Warming. By .

"At best, this technology appears to be speculative in terms of its ability to permanently sequester carbon," says Lisa Speer at the Natural Resources Defense Council. "And at worst, it could turn out to be a disastrous experiment that could have major impacts on the ocean ecosystems that billions of people rely on for food and for employment and for life itself." Speer says it's usually very hard to track what happens to carbon in the ocean. Adding iron can potentially trigger toxic algae blooms. There's even some research suggesting that fertilizing the ocean with iron can end up producing nitrous oxide, which is a potent greenhouse gas.

Within a few weeks, the algae died and clumped up like snowflakes. Those particles fell down into the deep, "and we were able to track the particles sinking out of the surface layer all the way down to the sediments." In fact, they fell rapidly through more than two miles of ocean water. "By the time we left more than half the bloom had sunk out to the deep," Smetacek says, "and we are confident that the remaining half also sunk out, but after we had left."

The premise of this experiment is that algae growing in the oceans around Antarctica can't grow fast because it's starved of an essential nutrient: iron. Victor Smetacek at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, Germany, says iron in the ocean is as precious as water is for plants on the land.

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