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Ocean Iron Fertilization - Why Dump Iron into the Ocean

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» Overview

» General Information

» Selected Scientific Publications

» Conference Presentations and Posters

» Photo Gallery

» Related Links

In the late 1980's, the late John Martin advanced the idea that carbon uptake during plankton photosynthesis in many regions of the world's surface ocean was limited not by light or the major nutrients nitrogen and phosphorus, but rather by a lack of the trace metal iron. Correlations between dust input to the ocean (which is the major source of iron) and past climate changes and CO2 levels, led Martin's to exclaim "Give me half a tanker of iron and I'll give you the next ice age". Over the past decade, scientists have been looking at the ocean iron cycle in more detail to better understand these links. At the same time, in light of increasing greenhouse gas CO2, there has been commercial interest in fertilizing the ocean with iron as a possible mitigation strategy to reduce atmospheric CO2. Our group has been focused on the export of C, or flux of sinking particles that would be associated with waters either artificially enriched with iron, or such as might be found naturally in association with dust inputs or for example in melt waters surrounding Antarctica.

Ocean iron fertilization.

General Information
Exploring Ocean Iron Fertilization: the scientific, economic, legal and political basis
A symposium held September 26 and 27, 2007

Effects of Ocean Fertilization with Iron to Remove Carbon Dioxide from the Atmosphere Reported
April 2004 News Release from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Fertilizing the Ocean with Iron
1999 Annual Report from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

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Selected Scientific Publications
Buesseler, K.O., J.E. Andrews, S. Pike, M.A. Charette, L.E. Goldson, M.A. Brzezinski and V.P. Lance (2005). Particle export during the Southern Ocean Iron Experiment (SOFeX). (PDF) Limnology and Oceanography, 50: 311-327.

Charette, M. A. and K. O. Buesseler (2000). Does iron fertilization lead to rapid carbon export in the Southern Ocean? (PDF) Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 1, Paper 2000GC000069.

Buesseler, K.O., Boyd, P. W., (2003), Will Ocean Fertilization Work? Science, 300, 67-68. (Article available online: see reference #77).

Buesseler, K.O., J.E. Andrews, S.M. Pike and M.A. Charette (2004). The effects of iron fertilization on carbon sequestration in the Southern Ocean. Science, 304: 414-417.

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Conferences Presentations and Posters
PowerPoint Presentation
Why dump iron in the oceans? Lessons learned from ocean iron fertiliztion experiments (PDF)

PowerPoint Presentation
USCG Polar Star overview and SOFeX export results (PDF)

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Photo Gallery
SOFeX team
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SOFeX team & captain. (Photo by Leah Houghton)   Arrival at McMurdo Station Antarctica to join Polar Star cruise. (Photo by Peter Croot) Polar Star in McMurdo. (Photo by Leah Houghton)

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Related Links
» Southern Ocean Iron Experiment- Jan/Feb 2002- cruise web site
» ASLO Ocean Fertilization Symposium, April 2001
» Choose Web site
» SCOPE Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment

U.S. National Science Foundation

We gratefully acknowledge the support of the U.S. National Science Foundation.

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