Friday, March 20, 2015
Ocean Iron Fertilization
Ocean iron fertilization has been presented as a method for removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Adding iron sulfates to the ocean causes phytoplankton blooms, and these phytoplankton create a carbon sink by consuming CO2 and sinking to the bottom of the ocean. One of the largest-scale trials of ocean iron fertilization was the Southern Ocean Iron Experiment of 2002. This study estimates that one atom of iron could remove 10,000 to 100,000 atoms of carbon from the atmosphere. However, ecologists are hesitant to adopt iron fertilization as a large-scale solution to high carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere because effects of this added iron on marine ecosystems remain largely unknown.