Following up on a story we brought to you a couple of months ago, the iron fertilization project in the South Atlantic Ocean has not produced the results expected by researchers.
To recap, the project by British scientists aimed to increase the amount of carbon dioxide-absorbing algae in the ocean off of South Georgia Island by adding extra iron to the water. Ideally, the extra algae would remove a large chunk of CO2 in the atmosphere and then sink far below the surface, permanently sequestering the CO2.
As expected, great amounts of algae did bloom, but there was an unexpected glitch. Instead of the algae sinking to the bottom of the ocean, they were eaten by copepods, which were then eaten by amphipods, which meant a lot less CO2 was absorbed and sequestered than thought.
Basically, the CO2 that was removed was "almost negligible" as one researcher put it. I guess it's back to the drawing board.
written by Fred, July 20, 2009
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