Climate Hacking Scheme Could Load the Ocean With Neurotoxins
2010 03 20
By Andrew Moseman | DiscoverMagazine.com
Of all the planet hacking possibilities floated as last-minute ways to stave off a climate catastrophe (building a solar shade for the Earth, injecting the atmosphere with sunlight-reflecting aerosols, etc.), iron seeding seems one of the more practical and feasible ideas. The scheme calls for the fertilization of patches of ocean with iron to spur blooms of plankton, which eventually die, sink, and sequester carbon at the seafloor.
Twelve small experiments over the last decade in several ocean locations (red dots) consistently showed that intentionally adding iron results in phytoplankton blooms. (Data courtesy of NASA SeaWiFS Project.)
However, worries over the consequences of tinkering with the ocean ecosystem have held up plans to attempt this. And now, in a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers claim that such a plan could risk putting a neurotoxin into the food chain.
Iron seeders have targeted the large swaths of ocean surface with high levels of nitrate and low chlorophyll, where an injection of iron could potentially turn a dearth of plankton into a bloom. But too many phytoplankton can be a bad thing, especially when it comes to members of the genus Pseudonitzschia. This alga produces domoic acid, which it spews into the surrounding seawater to help it ingest iron [ScienceNOW].
Sea lions off California have gotten sick from the toxin. In Canada, three people died in the 1980s from eating shellfish that themselves had eaten Pseudonitzschia.
Seeding experiments—about a dozen have taken place so far—had not shown the production of domoic acid. But oceanographer Charles Trick was not convinced, because those previous tests had harvested the plankton in the ocean but not tested them until the researchers returned to shore. So, for their study, the researchers examined water samples taken from open-ocean tracts in the sub-Arctic North Pacific Ocean where iron-fertilization experiments were conducted [AFP]. The results were not encouraging.
Pseudonitzschia collected in midocean and subjected to shipboard experiments produced plenty of domoic acid. “We found there is a lot of toxin out there,” he said. “If we were to seed with iron, the amount of toxin would go up” [The New York Times]. In fact, Trick says, the concentration of Pseudonitzschia doubled, which increased how much domoic acid was in the water. In turn, the preponderance of the acid allows more Pseudonitzschia to grow, in a sort of feedback circle.
Trick says he doesn’t think the acid would make it all the way up the food chain to people, though birds might ingest it. But, he says, this is another sign that tinkering on the planetary scale can be fraught with unintended consequences.
The brilliant swirls of green and blue in the midst of the deep, blue Atlantic Ocean off Argentina were created by multitudes of tiny marine plants (phytoplankton) that draw carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to grow. Intentionally adding iron to the ocean would fertilize more phytoplankton blooms. Could this help reduce the buildup of greenhouse gases? (Image courtesy of NASA)
Phytoplankton blooms draw down carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. They are eaten by zookplankton, which produce pellets and aggregates of carbon-containing fecal matter (above), which sink into the depths, where the carbon can be sequestered from the atmosphere. How much carbon would actually be sequestered via ocean iron fertilization is an open question.
Article from: DiscoverMagazine.com
Fertilizing the Ocean with Iron
EPA has Announced that Greenhouse Gases are a Danger to Human Health
75 Reasons to be Skeptical of "Global Warming"
Climategate U-turn as scientist at centre of row admits: There has been no global warming since 1995
The war over ’Snowmageddon’ Global warming, huh?
NASA Global Warming Alarmist Endorses Book That Calls For Mass Genocide
John Coleman’s hourlong news special “Global Warming – The Other Side”
Big freeze could signal global warming ’pause’ (Nice recovery!)
U.K. Citizens Wish Global Warming was True (Video)
The Church of Global Warming
Leading Global Warming Crusader: Cap and Trade May INCREASE CO2 Emissions
Former UN Environmental Advisor, Peter Taylor, gives a brief discussion about solar cycles and climate science. (Video)
Latest News from our Front Page
Pope Francis named Time’s ‘Person of the Year 2013’
2013 12 11
Pope Francis, the first Jesuit pontiff, elected nine months ago, was named Time magazine’s Person of the Year for 2013, leaving whistleblower Edward Snowden in second place, the magazine revealed on Wednesday.
The iconic title goes each year to the one chosen by prominent US magazine Time as the individual who had the most influence on the world and news over ...
Equal Opportunity Killing
2013 12 11
Nancy Pelosi called it the “selfie of the year": the group snapshot of the first four women to make it through Marine infantry training.
"Fearless," as Pelosi describes them. "Badasses," as onlookers have labeled them. Here is an acerbic quote from an article on Gawker:
These women have now definitively proven what fatuous Congressional oldsters for so long prevented other women from ...
(NOOOOOOOO!) JPMorgan files patent for Bitcoin-style payment system
2013 12 11
These guys never stop. I respect that about JP (in the way that I respect the Empire in Star Wars) and there is something to be said for an idea so disruptive that it attracts the sharks at JP.
But given this, if one doesn’t trust Bitcoin, don’t even consider trusting JPMorgan’s version of it.
(From The FT)
JPMorgan’s proposed system involves creating ...
New ‘Revelations’ on Kenya Mall Massacre: There were only FOUR shooters – who escaped alive
2013 12 11
21st Century Wire says…
From the onset, the Kenya Mall Massacre was riddled with odd circumstances and dramatised media coverage, so much so that it is very difficult not to skeptical about the official narrative of what happened, and who was involved. That narrative continues to unravel…
As 21Wire reported in late September, the attack which took place at the Westfields Shopping ...
Record outdoor radiation level that ‘can kill in 20 min’ detected at Fukushima
2013 12 11
Outdoor radiation levels have reached their highest at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant,warns the operator company.Radiation found in an area near a steel pipe that connects reactor buildings could kill an exposed person in 20 minutes,local media reported.
The plant’s operator and the utility responsible for the clean-up Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) detected record radiation levels on a duct which connects ...
|More News » |