Nanoparticles – Ocean Fertilization
Music; Ambience: Water bubbling
JM: When we last heard from Virginia Tech professor Michael Hochella on this program, he was taking water samples in a Montana stream near a mine. Michael discovered that instead of sinking, nanoparticles – extremely tiny bits – of iron and other minerals were being transported swiftly from the mines downstream to the ocean. Now it turns out that iron nanoparticles in the ocean could affect climate change. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.
MH: Scientists and engineers are considering reducing the temperature of the planet as it continues to rise through climate change through the burning of fossil fuels to control the temperature of the planet by purposefully dumping iron containing nano particles into the oceans which help fertilize the oceans. There have been, in the last couple of years, iron fertilization experiments where they literally take boats out into the Southern Ocean and they dump tons of iron sulfate for example, into the oceans and sure enough the phytoplankton populations doubled. Very quickly! Within a couple of weeks.
JM: The more phytoplankton, the more photosynthesis that takes place and the more carbon dioxide that is removed from the atmosphere and absorbed into the ocean ecosystem.
MH: This process is very controversial, therefore, it behooves us to study the ocean fertilization process very carefully as modern science to the best of its ability can do. To look at the upsides and the downsides to see if this becomes something we wanna try in future. Hopefully, we can do it in in a controlled intelligent way. And the new field of geo-engineering is trying to do just that.
JM: Pulse of the Planet is made possible by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.