February 28, 2007
GCRIO Program Overview
Our extensive collection of documents.
Archives of the
Global Climate Change Digest
A Guide to Information on Greenhouse Gases and Ozone Depletion
Published July 1988 through June 1999
FROM VOLUME 3, NUMBER 8, AUGUST 1990
IRON IN THE OCEANS
The theory that biological activity in large
areas of the Antarctic Ocean is limited by a lack of iron is the basis of a
controversial proposal to fight greenhouse warming by fertilizing the ocean with
iron. Recent research by John Martin of the Moss Landing Marine Laboratories
California provides evidence of the importance of iron in regulating the CO2
uptake by marine phytoplankton. According to an extensive article on this
proposal in Chemical and Engineering News (R. Baum, pp. 21-24, July 2,
1990), the National Research Council's Board on Biology hosted two workshops to
explore the possibility of adding iron to the Antarctic Ocean to stimulate
increased CO2 uptake by phytoplankton. One of the workshop summaries, while not
endorsed by the Council, recommends much more research on the idea as well as an
international iron enrichment experiment expected to cost $50-150 million.
Environmental Defense Fund scientists have objected to the philosophy of this
approach and the possible danger of massive tinkering with natural systems.
Martin's research is reported in Nature, pp. 156-158, May 10 (see
PROF. PUBS./GEN. INTEREST, this Global Climate Change Digest issue--Aug.
1990), and an accompanying scientific commentary by A.G. Davies appears on pp.
114-115 of that Nature issue.
Guide to Publishers
Index of Abbreviations