UK team clears path for massive ocean iron fertilization trial  

Posted by Big Gav in ,

Cleantech.com (quoting the unreliable UK Daily Mail) has a post on a geoengineering experiment planned to take place off the Falklands - UK team clears path for massive ocean iron fertilization trial. As usual, my view remains that doing these sorts of things instead of limiting carbon emissions is insane (though I do accept Jamais' argument that we need to know what works in case we find ourselves in a runaway global warming situation with no hope of return).

British scientists have given validation the prospect of using ocean iron fertilization as a natural way to reduce carbon emissions, reports the UK's Daily Mail.

Scientists on the Royal Navy’s HMS Endurance off the coast of Antarctica reported that melting ice releases tiny particles of iron, which then feed algae that consume carbon.

That method has been replicated by scientists seeding the ocean with iron flakes before (see Plankton to the rescue). But the findings show the process occurs naturally and can thus be replicated on larger scales without fear of harming the marine life, the team says. Leeds University Professor Rob Raiswell led the research.

Such fears have prompted several bodies governing the ocean to prohibit ocean-iron fertilization projects (see Despite opposition, ocean iron fertilization forging ahead). In October, the governing body for ocean-fertilization projects issued a resolution impeding the prospect for commercially driven experiments in the foreseeable future (see Murky waters for commercial ocean fertilization projects).

San Francisco-based Climos is still in the field, working with those environmental groups to get more data about ocean iron fertilization. One-time rival Planktos (OTC: PLKT.PK) has changed names and is planning to enter the copper-mining business (see Planktos drops ocean-iron dreams as it changes hands, direction).

But the British researchers' findings have prompted the UN to approve a large-scale experiment to seed the ocean with several tons of iron sulphate 800 miles southeast of the Falklands.

The experiment aims to see how much algae sinks a couple miles below the surface, trapping the carbon for hundreds of years, and how much remains close to the surface, which could release the carbon back into the atmosphere.

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