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Posted by on Jul 19, 2012 in Science |

Can you slow global warming by throwing iron into the ocean?

Can you slow global warming by throwing iron into the ocean?

(CC) NASA Goddard Photo and Video

In 2004 a study called European Experiment iron fertilization (EIFEX, for its acronym in English), which was based on the hypothesis that many times in Earth’s history large amounts of dust have fallen into the and have served as food for algae-after absorbing carbon dioxide and subsequently die-sinking to the bottom of the ocean, carrying with them the greenhouse gases, and thus cooling the Earth.

The first hypothesis of the theory, that could stimulate growth of with iron, was proven correct numerous experiments these last decades . However the second part of the hypothesis, through photosynthesis, algae absorbed carbon dioxide and die or be eaten after the carbon sank into the sea, had not been demonstrated until now.

Today the journal Nature published the results of the experiment of 2004 and determined that through the algae, for every atom of iron thrown into the sea at least 13,000 carbon atoms were absorbed from the atmosphere and largely ended in the ocean . Results also suggest that this mechanism was at least partially responsible for triggering the ice ages on Earth.

“The source and sink of carbon between glacial and interglacial periods is the Holy Grail of oceanography. Still can not find it, but this scientific publication shows that this is the way forward, “said Victor Smetacek, German oceanographer Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research and lead author of the publication.

While it seems a good idea to fertilize the ocean with iron sulphate to prevent the greenhouse effect, has also generated some controversy among scientists, as many say their long-term effect could affect the marine ecosystem, causing an overpopulation of algae could bring down the amount of oxygen from the sea.

Link: Dumping Iron Into the Ocean may slow global warming (Slashgear)

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