Posted on June 13, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Stimulating phytoplankton could backfire
By Summit Voice
One of the ideas that has surfaced most often is adding certain types of nutrients to the oceans to stimulate algae production in the hopes of reducing CO2. But new research shows that the law of unintended consequences always applies, perhaps even more so when experimenting with climate on a global scale.
The new study on the feeding habits of ocean microbes shows that the idea could backfire by disturbing the natural balance of ocean chemistry. After carefully studying diatoms, one type of plankton, the scientists determined that it is uses more iron that it needs for photosynthesis and storing the extra in its silica skeletons and shells. This reduces the amount of iron left over to support the carbon-eating plankton.
“Just like someone walking through a buffet line who takes the last two pieces of cake, even though they know they’ll only eat one, they’re hogging the food,” said Ellery Ingall, a professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology and co-lead author on this result. “Everyone else in line gets nothing; the person’s decision affects these other people.” (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: climate, oceans, Southern Ocean, University of Georgia, National Science Foundation, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Geoengineering, CO2, Georgia Institute of Technology, ocean seeding, Iron fertilization | Leave a Comment »
Posted on August 21, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Geoengineering idea floated as a way to slow global warming
Could brightening clouds help slow the march of global warming? Photo courtesy NOAA.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — With international efforts to limit heat-trapping greenhouse gases faltering, some scientists say it’s worth at least exploring the concept of creating clouds that might reflect sunlight to counter global warming.
Geoengineering has always had a few proponents, as there are always some people who think that we can engineer our way out of any problem. But many of the ideas floated as possible solutions to global warming are just vague theories at best, with little evidence that they could work.
Now, University of Washington atmospheric physicist Rob Wood describes a possible way to run an experiment to test the concept of cloud brightening on a small scale. His idea is described in a paper published this month in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society.
Wood makes it clear he’s not advocating for geoengineering, but wants to encourage more scientists to consider the idea of marine cloud brightening and even poke holes in it. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, global warming | Tagged: climate change, Climate change mitigation, cloud brightening, Cloud reflectivity modification, Environment, Geoengineering, global warming, Greenhouse gas, University of Washington | 1 Comment »
Posted on October 29, 2010 by Bob Berwyn
Geoengineering could pose severe risks to the planet's biodiversity, according to delegates at a global biodiversity conference in Japan.
Futuristic schemes to block solar radiation, and similar measures, should be debated in the UN
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Delegates from the 193-member UN Convention on Biological Diversity will close their 10-day meeting in Japan by considering a de facto moratorium on geoengineering projects and experiments aimed at slowing the pace of global warming.
“Any private or public experimentation or adventurism intended to manipulate the planetary thermostat will be in violation of this carefully crafted UN consensus,” said Silvia Ribeiro, Latin American Director of ETC Group, a nonprofit watchdog group.
Geoengineering refers to large-scale attempts to regulate the planet’s climate with measures like the application of nutrients to the oceans, or futuristic proposals to block a percentage of solar radiation via large-scale interventions in the atmosphere, stratosphere and outer space that would alter global temperatures and precipitation patterns. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, global warming, Summit County Colorado | Tagged: climate, Convention on Biological Diversity, Environment, ETC Group, Geoengineering, global warming, Nagoya, Solar radiation management, Summit County Colorado, Summit County News, United Nations | 2 Comments »