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Ocean fertilization experiment draws fire
A German research ship laden with 20 tonnes of iron sulphate has whipped up a storm of protest as it sails towards the Antarctic, where it intends to dump its cargo into the ocean.
Scientists on the Polarstern, which set sail from Cape Town in South Africa on 7 January, plan an ocean fertilization experiment that some argue will violate international law.
The LOHAFEX experiment will spread 20-tons of iron sulphate particles over a 115-square-mile section of open ocean north of Antarctica — that's about 1.7 times the size of Washington, D.C. The initiative has drawn fire from environmental groups who point out that 200 countries agreed to the moratorium until more evidence was available about its efficacy.
It's becoming clear that when it comes to global warming reversal schemes, deciding who will control the global thermostat is as complex an issue as how such schemes could actually be accomplished. Ocean iron fertilization is considered one of the more promising options for global-scale geoengineering, which aims to slow or reverse the effects of climate change caused by man's burning of fossil fuels.
"The efficacy of iron-induced sequestration of atmospheric CO2 to the deep sea, however, remains poorly constrained," he summarized. "We do not yet understand the full range of intended and potential unintended biogeochemical and ecological impacts."