Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Geritol Solution (con't)

The following video shows how even crystal-clear water systems can become clogged with algal blooms when too many nutrients enter the water system. Is this a foreshadowing of what will happen if we seed the oceans? Unfortunately, we will have to “do the deed” to get the results; and, there may be no way back from the brink this time.

Link for those unable to view (K): click here

This second video has amazing photography and should be viewed for that reason alone. It discusses just one of the many phenomena that overfishing and global warming are causing in the oceans. It is relevant because one of the mixes that causes algal blooms is overfishing and global warming.

Link for those unable to view (K): click here

This is my second concern:

The "iron hypothesis" was first suggested by John Martin, a much-revered oceanographer at the Moss Landing Marine Laboratory in California, who died before his idea could be properly tested.

In the 1990s scientists established they could produce unnatural algal blooms by adding iron dust to the waters; and, they would be able to force blooms when they normally would not occur. This, along with the fact that the iron hypothesis had been promoted by such a revered scientist as John Martin, convinced some scientists that by stimulating plankton growth they could draw more CO2 from the atmosphere. This CO2 might be sequestered in the ocean depths for many centuries when the organic matter formed by photosynthesis sinks to the ocean floor.

However, it was important for the phytoplankton (who eat the algae) to sink quickly to about 300 metres, beyond the range of the zooplankton (who eat the phytoplankton.

Martin’s idea was given a few small-scale tests; but, it was found that zooplankton multiplied as quickly as the phytoplankton. The result was the animals quickly ate the organic material formed with the iron was added. Instead of the carbon sequestering by the phytoplankton sinking to the ocean floor, it was emitted into the sea and back into the air by the feeding of the zooplankton. Despite this, the scientific community is still considering this one of the forerunners in the fight against global warming.

Fortunately for all concerned, Planktos, has failed to get enough funding to go forward with planned tests. Grist.org reports the Planktos website (which I failed to find) as posting this: "A highly effective disinformation campaign waged by anti-offset crusaders has provoked widespread opposition to plankton restoration in the environmental world."

Unfortunately for all concerned, there are other unscrupulous companies ready to take Planktos' place in the big-money game of carbon offsets.

I find it interesting that the self-proclaimed eco-restoration company is in the process of changing its name to Lobo Resources and going into the gold mining business.

Many scientists are coming out against seeding the oceans. Chris Field, of the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology, says that the absorption of increasing amounts of carbon dioxide is the main cause of ocean acidification. "It may be possible to store excess carbon in the ocean, but you'll be acidifying the ocean when you do it, and causing a dramatic change in the the ocean's ecology, with no known effects."

Ken Caldeira, also of the Carnegie Institution, says "there's no practical way to verify" that ocean seeding would sequester any additional carbon. "It's far-fetched to claim you help ocean ecosystems by disturbing them," he said. Caldeira was co-author of a portion of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report that dealt with ocean-carbon capture.

In “Global Iron Connections Between Desert Dust, Ocean Biogeochemistry and Climate,” the authors – one of them Robert Duce, Distinguished Professsor of Oceanography and Atmospheric Sciences at Texas A&M University – conclude that dust, especially the iron in the dust, could have a global impact on the Earth far greater than anyone has believed. Robert Duce stated:
“So there are some very big questions to be asked. If global warming is occurring as widely believed, what effect does this dust and its iron have on global warming? Would increasing the amounts of atmospheric dust cause the climate to cool because the dust would scatter more of the sun’s energy back into space? How does this iron-dust specifically affect marine productivity, and could changes in this productivity affect climate by taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere to fuel the growth of marine plants?

“We clearly need more research on this problem,” Duce adds. “This does not affect just one part of the Earth – it affects the entire Earth systems – land, atmosphere andn ocean. If this dust is changing significant atmospheric and marine life processes, we need to know about it. We definitely need a better understanding of the iron-dust cycle to find out what the long-range impacts could be for all of us.”

Next blog, I'll tie up the loose ends on this topic.

1 comment:

kathi said...

Great stuff, P. Can't wait to hear your take on the huge filters w/fuel reclamation.