Oceans Treated with Iron dust Reduces Carbon: Study
A recent study done by a team of international experts suggest that, depositing the iron dust in the seas can help to transfer the carbon from the atmosphere and embed it on the ocean floor for centuries in order to deal with the changing climate.
This study that emphasizes on the use of ocean fertilizers to fight global warming, it somehow remained ignorant to the damaging effects this same concept would cause on the marine life.
According to the study, Iron dust when deposited into the ocean stimulates the growth of tiny plants that carry with them the capacity to trap the carbon to the ocean bed when they die.
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It was in the year 2004 that the scientist had deposited nearly 7 tonnes of iron sulphate in to the ocean. This acts like an important nutrient for the marine plants. They then noticed that nearly half of the heat trapping carbon in the resulting bloom of diatoms, a type of algae, sank below 1,000 meters.
According to Reuters, "Iron-fertilized diatom blooms may sequester carbon for timescales of centuries in ocean bottom water and for longer in the sediments," the team from more than a dozen nations wrote in the journal Nature.
The damaging effects of global warming are quite evident, after the huge chunk of ice being separated from the Greenland glacier that is as big as the size of Manahatten city. Plus earlier studies have revealed that due to global warming, the seas on the east coast are rising at an alarming level causing a threat to the wetland habitats. Such drastic changes in the climate multiply the chances of floods, mudslides drought and higher sea levels
Though the study provides a convincing proof that carbon is being absorbed by algae and settles to the ocean bed, but it failed to recognize whether the carbon exists in the upper layer of the ocean where it can easily mix back into the air.
Large-scale experiments with ocean fertilization using iron are currently banned by the international London Convention on dumping at sea because of fears about side-effects.
"I am hoping that these results will show how useful these experiments are," lead author Victor Smetacek of the Alfred Wegener Institute in Germany told Reuters. "It's a crying shame, honestly," he said of the moratorium, which he said meant that even small-scale experiments were too complex and costly for researchers. Ocean fertilization should be overseen by the United Nations and should not be eligible for carbon credits under U.N. treaties. Private companies should not be allowed to run experiments so that proper oversight can be ensured."
Ocean fertilization is one of the proposed techniques for slowing climate change. This technique is known as "geo engineering".
"Most scientists would agree that we are nowhere near the point of recommending ocean iron fertilization as a geo-engineering tool," Ken Buessler of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in the United States wrote in a commentary in Nature.
"If the 50 percent figure for algal bloom biomass sinking to the deep ocean is correct then this represents a whole new ball game in terms of iron fertilization as a geo-engineering technique," said Dave Reay, a senior lecturer in carbon management at the University of Edinburgh who was not involved in the study."Maybe such deliberate enhancement of carbon storage in the oceans has more legs than we thought but, as the authors acknowledge, it's still far too early to run with it," he said.