Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Rogue scientist

I've always been fascinated by the idea of rogue scientists. I had presumed that they existed only in the comic books but now we have a real one, Russ George, who dumped 100 tons of iron sulphate in the Pacific Ocean off the British Columbia coast last July without the knowledge or consent of the Canadian government. The end result was an algae bloom covering more than 10,000 square kilometers of ocean.

There have been a number of articles on this incident (eg Geoengineering: Testing the Waters in the New York Times) but the most interesting is the one in Scientific American because they interview the man himself: Pacific Ocean Hacker Speaks Out. Is Russ George a "rogue geoengineer," salmon savior or something else?
Lots of interesting questions are asked:

  • Any concerns about possible side effects like dead zones?
  • Any concerns about the legality of this effort?
  • Can ocean fertilization really help combat climate change on any significant scale?

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