4 Geoengineering Attack Plans to Fight Climate Change

As the war on global warming heats up, some scientists argue that meddling with the environment might be the only way to save it.

By Emily Masamitsu
Source: Popular Mechanics
Illustrations by BlandDesigns

Published in the June 2007 issue.

The researchers sailing aboard Weatherbird II aren’t studying global warming. So they’re trying to end it. The ship’s three-year mission, funded by for-profit eco­renewal firm Planktos. For it is to seed oceans with iron-rich dust, which should trigger plankton blooms.

Iron in oceans for plankton. So the Weatherbird II is already spreading iron in its wake.  And it is only one of several extreme geoengineering attack plans on the table.
Coral garden on a seamount in the North Atlantic. Seamounts are oases of the open ocean, rich in marine life, and provide a stop over for migratory species such as whales, turtles and tuna, and host congregations of deep sea fish, all vulnerable to impacts of human activities.
© IMAGDOP / University of the Azores

 

 

Plankton

More plankton means more carbon dioxide can be pulled out of the atmosphere and trapped in the seas.

The project is the first large-scale effort in a controversial field, known as geoengineering. One that aims to actively combat global warming. Despite the risk of unintended environmental side effects. So the Weatherbird II is already spreading iron in its wake.

And it is only one of several extreme geoengineering attack plans on the table.

Finally and for the entire story from Popular Science including geoengineering.

THE GOAL:

Reverse plankton die-offs and reduce atmospheric CO2 levels by seeding oceans with iron, a key nutrient for plankton.

THE PLAN:

Up to 600 tons of granulated iron ore will be spread in the Pacific, Atlantic and Antarctic oceans, where plankton levels have fallen steeply. Planktos says the iron won’t act as a pollutant, since it will be consumed. Shoreline plankton blooms can cause oxygen depletion, but Planktos says it’s not a problem in deep seas.

TIMETABLE:

The Weatherbird II set sail in April; Planktos expects to see blooms this summer.

 

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