Ocean fertilisation is a new method of geoengineering aimed at boosting the absorption of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere by phytoplankton; microscopic ocean plants that live en masse on or near the floors of our oceans.
Geoengineers believe that after blooming, phytoplankton die and sink to the ocean floor, carrying with them the CO2 that they had used during photosynthesis while they were alive. Some of this sinking material will return to the surface of the sea through up-swelling, but not all of it. Scientists think that a small but substantial portion of this carbon remains on the ocean floor and is eventually stored in the form of sedimentary ocean bed rock.
How Iron Could Save Our Planet
Unlike Spin Casino Canada, the future of the planet is not to be gambled with! This incredible form of geoeingineering is now being viewed as a way to increase the absorption of CO2 from our atmosphere by phytoplankton and other microscopic plants. Ocean fertilisation, also called bio-geoengineering, requires iron and nitrates to be dissolved into the surface waters of certain oceanic areas.
This encourages a boom of phytoplankton, which would speed up their absorption of carbon dioxide. For this system to be effective, fleets of ships covering most of our seas would need to continuously pump iron strategically into the waters to keep the plankton thriving. Officials believe that the system could take decades to unfold, but that once it is in place, it could be pivotal in our battle against the changing climate.
Further Testing is Needed
Some researchers claim that the balance of CO2 in the atmosphere would likely not be affected even by large-scale ocean fertilization projects. A number of small-scale oceanic climate studies have been carried out so far, and they have revealed that phytoplanktons’ absorption of CO2 not as significant as originally anticipated.
However, other studies point out that much of the atmosphere’s carbon does not sink into the ocean floor, but instead stays in the zooplanktons’ bodies near the ground. Zooplankton are microscopic organisms that feed on the bodies of phytoplankton. It has been shown through these studies that local growth in marine phytoplankton populations attract more amphipods and other zooplankton that consume and integrate dead phytoplankton into their own bodies.
A Promising Solution to Climate Change
Other researchers have argued that accelerating plankton bloom development might interfere with crucial marine food chains and may cause other ecological issues. As an example, in introducing the iron and nutrients used in ocean fertilisation, some species of phytoplankton may be more efficient at using these minerals than others. These species may reproduce far more quickly and out-compete other phytoplankton that are slower to adapt. The zooplankton that feed on them may also end up benefiting if this is the case.
In another instance, some damaging species of phytoplankton such as red tide dinoflagellates may flourish on bio-geoengineering nutrients and wreak havoc on the ecosystems they live in. Additionally, since oxygen promotes the decomposition of organic matter, massive clusters of sinking phytoplankton bodies may deplete the oxygen in deep ocean ecosystems. For now, ocean fertilisation needs more testing and research, but if all goes according to plan, it might be integral to our plans for saving the planet and preventing climate disaster in the future.