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Thread: Climate change mitigation: fertilising the ocean

  1. #1 Climate change mitigation: fertilising the ocean 
    Forum Freshman kristian's Avatar
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    I've got a question for any biologists here, especially marine biologists:

    Could you use the oceans as a giant CO2 sink by fertilising it with respectively iron and phosphorus? I've read that there are different limiting nutrients in the different parts of the sea, and that in some areas you could get a huge increase in biomass growth by fertilising with iron.

    Is this correct?

    What could be the side effects of such an operation?


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  3. #2  
    Forum Ph.D. Nevyn's Avatar
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    Wouldn't the fish get poisoned, after all, if quantaties of elements suddenly appear in strange amounts it could have an adverse affect


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  4. #3  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard icewendigo's Avatar
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    Im not a biologist, a chemist or anything, but, wouldn't most of the iron sink to the bottom?(or does the phosporous make it boyant)
    Wouldnt it be more likely to simply oxidize(rust) rather than capture CO2? hum


    I kind of think that solutions that require altering the existing ecosystem might cause bran new problems of their own.
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  5. #4  
    Forum Professor Pendragon's Avatar
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    Another possible side effect is that if adding a metal to the oceanwater alters the salinity sufficiently this could in turn alter ocean currents. I don't know what kind of quantities of iron and phosphorus we're talking about, but as Icewendigo mentioned these big interventions in nature can easily cause unforseen new problems.
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  6. #5  
    Forum Ph.D.
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    you're forgetting that the sea is the only CO2 sink already. Dead photosynthetic plankton (which produce O2 during their lifetime) fall to th bottom of the oceans with carbon which traps it there. It is one of the only ways of permanently reversing CO2 emisions.
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  7. #6  
    Forum Freshman kristian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robbie
    you're forgetting that the sea is the only CO2 sink already. Dead photosynthetic plankton (which produce O2 during their lifetime) fall to th bottom of the oceans with carbon which traps it there. It is one of the only ways of permanently reversing CO2 emisions.
    No, I'm very aware of this. The idea would be to amplify this mechanism.
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