RE: Breaking News: World is 10 deg chillier

From: Damien Broderick (
Date: Thu Jan 25 2001 - 20:58:42 MST

I said:

>Gregory Benford's [negative] take on the proposal [of seeding oceans with
iron to reduce greenhouse waraming]

I now think I was wrong about that. Here's a 1997 paper by Gregory:

< Projections show that since this process would affect only about 16
percent of the ocean area, a full-bore campaign to dump megatons of iron
into the polar oceans probably would suck somewhere between 6
percent and 21 percent of the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, with most
recent estimates settling around 10 percent. Such scary, big-time tinkering
is the extreme; the method would have to be tested at far lower levels.
Still, this mitigation could dent the greenhouse problem, though not solve
it entirely. >


< Large uncertainties remain: How would the iron affect the deeper
ecosystems, of which we know little? Will the carbon truly end up on the
seabed? Can the polar oceans carry the absorbed carbon away fast enough to
not block the process? Would the added plankton stimulate fish and whale
numbers in the great Antarctic Ocean? Or would some side effect damage the
entire food pyramid? Even if the idea worked, who should run such a
program? Additionally, there is some evidence that little of the newly
fixed carbon in the Galapagos experiment actually sank. >

Damien Broderick

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