UW OCEAN 400 - Lecture Notes (4 pages)

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Lecture Notes



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Lecture Notes

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Pages:
4
School:
University of Washington
Course:
Ocean 400 - Chemical Ocean

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From Philip Boyd New Zealand National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research TESTING THE WATERS Twelve small scale experiments over the past decade in several ocean locations red dots consistently showed that intentional iron additions do result in phytoplankton blooms that help draw down carbon dioxide from the air But the experiments have not determined how much carbon is transferred and sequestered in the deep sea rather than quickly recycled back to the atmosphere Will Ocean Iron Fertilization Work I n this age of satellites it s fairly easy to answer the basic question of whether adding iron to the ocean can stimulate a plankton bloom When storms over land blow iron rich dust into the sea satellite images show marbled swaths of green phytoplankton spinning across waters previously blue and barren Satellites also show plankton blooms near the Gal pagos and other islands where iron rich deep waters naturally well up to surface Even blooms spurred by experimental additions of iron to the ocean can be detected by satellite and shipboard scientists conducting the experiments reported an almost instantaneous change in the color and even the smell of the water Twelve experiments so far have not looked so closely at the trickier questions of how much carbon dioxide taken up by a bloom is drawn out of the air and transferred into the deep sea and how long it remains sequestered there As yet scientists have turned up only partial answers Philip Boyd of the New Zealand National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research summarized the 12 experiments at an ocean iron fertilization conference convened at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution WHOI in September 2007 and in an article in Science magazine earlier last year Four took place in the northwest Pacific two were in the equatorial Pacific and six were in the Southern Ocean All 12 reported up to 15 fold increases in the chlorophyll content of surface waters Chlorophyll is the sunlight capturing molecule in



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