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Dan Whaley Interviewed On The BBC
18 June, 2008 by kevin

Last week, the BBC aired a 20 minute radio show by Peter Day on various entrepreneurial activities to sequester atmospheric CO2.  Climos CEO, Dan Whaley, was interviewed at length on ocean iron fertilization and Climos.

You can dowload the full podcast here.

Dr. Leinen Speaks At “The Risks And Opportunities Of Climate Change” Conference
18 June, 2008 by kevin

At The Risks and Opportunities of Climate Change conference yesterday, Dr. Margaret Leinen presented on Climos and Ocean Iron Fertilization. The video podcast of her talk is available here. Margaret appears at minute 45 of the podcast. Her first slide is #72.

Wally Broecker Op-Ed To Greenpeace In The UK Guardian
18 June, 2008 by dan

Online here

Wallace S Broecker
The Guardian

Wednesday June 18 2008

Deep Divisions

One of the world’s leading climate scientists challenges Greenpeace’s opposition to storing CO2 in the depth of the oceans.

Most of us who are concerned about global warming agree that an important part of any strategy designed to stem the ongoing build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will be to capture and store CO2. Potential storage sites include spent oil fields, saline aquifers, layered basalts and the deep ocean.

While Greenpeace accepts the inevitability that CO2 will be captured and stored, it strongly opposes storage in the deep sea. As it is clear that virtually all the CO2 released to the atmosphere as a result of fossil fuel burning will ultimately find its way to the deep sea, its objection is focused on the “point pollution” created by purposeful injections of CO2. The fear is that such an activity will put at risk benthic biota - the community of creatures and plants in the deep sea - living in the vicinity of the injection sites.

In February 2007, I contacted Bill Hare, a senior scientist at Greenpeace, asking him to reconsider his organisation’s stance against experiments to evaluate the environmental consequences of CO2 injected into the deep sea. I pointed out that if marine disposal proves to be economically favorable, and if push comes to shove, forces more powerful than Greenpeace will probably intervene and deep sea disposal will commence without adequate testing and evaluation.

Hare agreed to reconsider this matter in consultation with members of his and other like-minded organisations. In June 2007, he reported back that no change in policy would be made.

As a scientist, I seek rational decisions. So let me begin by outlining what is known about deep ocean storage.

First, in order to ensure that the injected CO2 has adequate time to mix throughout the deep sea, injection should be at depths greater than 3,500 metres - that is, the depth below which “liquid” CO2 becomes more dense than sea water.

Experiments conducted by Peter Brewer, of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, not only confirm that this is the case but also demonstrate that the CO2 injected rapidly reacts with sea water to form a solid clathrate, which is more dense than both liquid CO2 and sea water. Hence, the injected CO2 would end up on the sea floor as a slush. This would gradually dissolve, releasing the CO2 to the surrounding sea water, where it would react with the dissolved carbonate and borate ions to become chemically bound in the form of bicarbonate ion. As the concentration of carbonate and borate ions is small, the neutralisation would take place gradually as the CO2-rich sea water mixed into the surroundings.

We know that, based on radiocarbon measurements, the residence time of water in the abyssal Atlantic is in the order of 200 years. For the Indian Ocean, it is about 800 years, and for the Pacific about 1,000 years. As the deep Pacific has the largest volume, and is adjacent to earthquake-prone land areas where below-ground storage could not be safely done, it will be a prime target for storage.

A conservative upper limit on the storage capacity of the deep Pacific would be to require that the CO2 concentration in the water returning to the surface not be allowed to exceed the concentration in cold surface water at equilibrium with the atmosphere. Were this the limit to be adopted, then the capacity of water deeper than 1,500 metres in the Pacific would be about 480 gigatons of CO2, or about 130 gigatons of carbon for each 100 parts per million rise in atmospheric CO2 content.

We know enough to say with confidence that deep ocean disposal of CO2 is certainly feasible, but unless small-scale pilot experiments are conducted, information necessary to assess the impact on the macro abyssal biota will remain obscure. The injections could be made from ships equipped for deep sea drilling, and if the CO2 were tagged with radiocarbon, its dispersal away from the sea floor clathrate pile could be sensitively monitored.

Studies of the costs associated with ocean disposal would also be conducted. The CO2 would have to be sent through pipelines from its collection point to a port, where it would be loaded on tankers that would carry it to a floating ocean station, from which it would be piped to the abyss.

Putting aside the opposition by the environmental community, ocean disposal will become a viable option only if the costs are competitive with those associated with storage in hyper-saline continental aquifers.

Reduce stress

As any strategy designed to stem the build-up of greenhouse gases will have adverse environmental consequences, we must seek to minimise their impact. To the extent that we could capture and store CO2 produced by fossil fuel burning, we would reduce the acidification of the surface ocean, and hence the additional stress on coral reef communities. To date, there is no indication that the projected rise in upper ocean CO2 content will have adverse impacts on fish. If so, assuming the limit described above were to be observed, then once spread through the deep sea, the injected CO2 would not adversely impact on benthic biota.

However, I sympathise with those who claim that the benthic world is a fragile one. Hence, before we poke it with CO2, we should do our homework. Therefore, I challenge Greenpeace to relax its stand and allow a pilot project to proceed.

· Wallace S Broecker is the Newberry professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University, US, and is a scientist at Columbia’s Lamont-Doherty Earth observatory.

Post-Kyoto Climate Change Agreement Will Have Expanded Market Mechanisms
13 June, 2008 by kevin

Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, published this commentary on the status of the “Post-Kyoto” climate change agreement. In it, he says that negotiators on the post-Kyoto climate framework still prefer the CDM and market mechanisms as one of the policy solutions to curbing climate change. He writes, “it is clear that expanded, market-based mechanisms will play a central role.” This is good news for carbon offsets, which have been under fire of late. Coverage Of Climos W/ Comments From Ken Buesseler
12 June, 2008 by dan

Carla Gheffi’s article at available here.

A reasonable article.  We note Ken Buesseler’s comments:

According to Ken Buesseler, a senior scientist of marine chemistry and geochemistry at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, scientists have been clear on the fact that the next experiments need to be bigger and larger, regardless if they are commercially funded.

Buesseler is the main scientist who organized meeting last November to provide an update on the science of OIF. Buesseler said he was trying to be a neutral ground to discuss the issues.

As a scientist, Buesseler is interested in how the scientific community can play its part and help reduce uncertainties of technology like OIF. “As a scientist, we can answer these questions. There’s potential,” he told the Cleantech Group.

“Some people seem philosophically opposed form the start,” continued Buesseler. “I think it’s an open question.”

According to Buesseler, so far there have been 12 open ocean experiments, ranging from 1-4 weeks, with 1-2 tons of elemental iron, and over approximately 10 x 10 km in the ocean.

Buesseler said the scientific community would like to expand the experiments to 100 x 100 km, using 10-20 tons of iron so they can see the full growth cycle of plankton and find out where the carbon actually ends up (the bottom of the ocean, or at the surface).

When asked who the people are who have voiced their opposition to OIF, Buesseler said they are the ones who are fundamentally opposed to doing anything to the ocean, which is something he personally disagrees with.

“We’re already changing the ocean,” said Buesseler. “You can’t avoid altering the ocean by continuing to drive cars and emitting CO2. The ocean will change no matter what.”

“One argument against OIF is if you take to the extreme and take every square inch of the ocean and alter it. That’s unacceptable.”

Michael Clegg, Foreign Secretary Of The NAS Clarifies On Call For Geoengineering Research
11 June, 2008 by dan

Additional detail via Additional detail via ScienceNews regarding the statement yesterday by 13 National Academies of Science on the call for additional research into Geoengineering:

The new statement also argues that research could point the way towards developing a stable climate via such things as reforestation and “geoengineering technologies.” Such measures “would complement our greenhouse gas reduction strategies,” it said.

The document didn’t spell out what those geoengineering measures might be, so I asked for clarification from Michael Clegg, Foreign Secretary of the NAS, here in Washington.

“These are essentially engineering approaches to soaking up carbon dioxide,” he explains. “One suggestion that has been made in the past, for example, is the so-called fertilization of the oceans with iron. But none of this has been looked at very carefully from a scientific perspective,” he notes. “So what the statement commits is to organize a conference to look more carefully at some of these possibilities to see whether they’re plausible – whether any of them offer solutions.”

Such a conference could occur within the next 18 months, Clegg says, although he adds that no actual dates have been discussed.

13 National Academies Call For Research Into Geoengineering
10 June, 2008 by dan

In a joint statement, 13 National Scientific Academies (including those from the G8 as well as China, India, Brazil, Mexico, and South Africa) have called for "prompt action to deal with the causes of climate change" via both mitigation and adaptation. The document also calls for research on:

"... approaches which may contribute towards maintaining a stable climate (including so-called geoengineering technologies and reforestation), which would complement our greenhouse gas reduction strategies. The G8+5 academies intend to organise a conference to discuss these technologies."
Andy Revkin at the times covers it here.
IETA White Paper On Offset Design Principles
2 June, 2008 by dan

The International Emissions Trading Association has released a whitepaper with recommendations on carbon offset policy in relation to a forthcoming US federal cap-and-trade program. The paper describes how an offset program should be designed to maximize the benefits that offsets can provide to any climate regulatory framework. The white paper is The International Emissions Trading Association has released a whitepaper with recommendations on carbon offset policy in relation to a forthcoming US federal cap-and-trade program. The paper describes how an offset program should be designed to maximize the benefits that offsets can provide to any climate regulatory framework.

The white paper is available here.

Kevin Whilden from Climos was one of the co-authors along with Aimee Barnes from Ecosecurities and David Hunter from IETA.

Climos Comments On Recent IMO LC And CBD Activity Regarding OIF
2 June, 2008 by dan

Given the recent activity at both the IMO LC and at the recent CBD meeting, Climos has issued a statement summarizing our position.

Available here

Also, Climate Wire covered this story this morning.  We note the following quote from Daniel Shepard which provides some color:

“There is no expert or scientific knowledge out there to even base a decision on one way or another, so they sent it to this London Protocol office, to sort of ask them, ‘Do you think we should ban it?’” said Daniel Shepard, a spokesman for the United Nations, in a telephone interview.

We await the guidance from the IMO LC Scientific Group to be released shortly.

Climos Comments On Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act Of 2008
31 May, 2008 by kevin

The Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act of 2008 is a landmark piece of Federal legislation to address the growing problem of climate change. It is comprehensive and innovative, however it misses the mark on one small detail. You can read our comments below. The Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act of 2008 is a landmark piece of Federal legislation to address the growing problem of climate change. It is comprehensive and innovative, however it misses the mark on one small detail. You can read our comments below.

Climos Comments on the L-W Bill.
Geoengineering Roundtable With The Atomic Scientist
20 May, 2008 by kevin

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has a The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has aroundtable discussion on Geoengineering. Climos is participating along with several other distinguished scientists engaged in research on various large-scale techniques to mitigate climate change, collectively known as geoengineering. There are some very interesting perspectives presented by the panelists. You can read the article posted by Dr. Margaret Leinen and Dan Whaley of Climos, titled "Geoengineering could buy the time needed to develop a sustainable energy economy".

Developing Nations Wary Of Climate Symptoms And Fixes In Oceans
1 May, 2008 by kevin

Climate Wire has published a news article (subscription required) on developing nation's concerns over the impacts to ocean from climate change, as well as the impacts from potential 'fixes' such as ocean fertilization. These statements are part of negotiations happening as part of the Marine Biodiversity Working Group of the UN General Assembly (link to daily summaries). The stated reasons for concern over OIF are because of potential "severely negative consequences on marine ecosystems". Interestingly IUCN argued that OIF and any other related activities should undergo strict environmental impact assessments. Last March, Climos engaged Tetratech to develop the first EIA for ocean iron fertilization.

EU Study: Oceans Absorbing Less CO2 May Have 1,500 Year Impact
17 April, 2008 by dan

Reuters release…

Oceans absorbing less CO2 may have 1,500 year impact
Wed Apr 16, 2008 7:06pm BST

By Sylvia Westall

VIENNA (Reuters) - Global oceans are soaking up less carbon dioxide, a development that could speed up the greenhouse effect and have an impact for the next 1,500 years, scientists said on Wednesday.

Research from a five-year project funded by the European Union showed the North Atlantic, which along with the Antarctic is of the world’s two vital ocean carbon sinks, is absorbing only half the amount of CO2 that it did in the mid-1990s.

Using recent detailed data, scientists said the amount absorbed is also fluctuating each year, making it hard to predict how and whether the trend will continue and if oceans will be able to perform their vital balancing act in the future.

Oceans soak up around a quarter of annual CO2 emissions, but should they fail to do so in the future the gas would stay in the atmosphere and could accelerate the greenhouse effect, a prospect project director Christoph Heinze called “alarming”.

Oceans are like a “slow-mixing machine”. Carbon absorbed in the North Atlantic takes around 1,500 years to circulate around the world’s seas. This means changes to their fragile balance could be felt long into the future, Heinze said at a geoscience conference in Vienna.

Scientists are still debating the reasons why oceans are absorbing less carbon dioxide. While some point to CO2 saturation, others say it could be caused by a change in surface water circulation, triggered by changes in weather cycles.

Heinze described a “bottleneck effect” because of the large amount of manmade carbon dioxide oceans already store.

“The more CO2 the oceans store, the more difficult it will be for them to take up the additional load from the atmosphere and carbon absorption will stagnate even further,” Heinze said.

Some forms of sea life have suffered from the large amounts of CO2 absorbed, because of changes in acidity levels.

“The seafloor is becoming an increasingly hostile environment,” said Marion Gehlen, from the Laboratory of Climate and Environment Science in France.

“This corrosive water means mollusc organisms have a hard time making their shells and eventually they might not be able to do it at all.”

For the scientists there is only one thing humans can do to resolve the problem — reduce emissions by at least 75 percent.

“We must act now. The good news is that while the negative effects can last a long time, the good things we do will also have an effect for the next 1,500 years,” Heinze said.

“It’s cheap and it’s possible to do this but people must have the will to do it.”

(Editing by Mary Gabriel)

PDF of press release here.
“CARBOOCEAN: How much man-made CO2 can the ocean absorb?”

Statement Of The UNESCO IOC Consultative Group On OIF Released
10 April, 2008 by dan

The UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission recently formed an ad-hoc Consultative Group on Ocean Fertilization in part for the purpose of addressing several scientific questions posed by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) London Convention Scientific Group.  Participating were Ken Caldeira, Scott Doney, Ulf Riebesell, Andrew Watson, Phil Boyd, Chris Sabine, Scott Barrett and others.  They have released a statement in advance of the IMO LC SG working session in Guayaquil, Ecuador in May.

Addressed in the statement were three principle questions:

  • What constitutes “large scale” in the ocean?
  • Is there justification of the need for experiments at scales of order 200km by 200km?
  • What is the assessment of the impacts on oceans of experiments at such scales?

A few quotes:

“There is no well-established meaning to “large scale” that would allow it to usefully distinguish between activities that would and activities that would not damage the ocean environment”

“The effects on the fertilized patch of stirring and mixing with water that has not received the fertilization treatment becomes less important near the center of the patch as patch size increases. This would provide incentive to develop experiments at scales of order 200 km by 200 km, this scale being larger than that of typical ocean eddies. For the same reason, it may be easier to assess the influence of surface manipulations on the sinking fluxes of particles when the experiments are at this scale.”

“It is impossible to assess the impacts of experiments through information on spatial scale alone. A host of factors, including rates, amounts, concentration, duration and composition of chemical addition, location, time of year, and so on, could all jointly be determinative of ocean impacts.”

The complete statement is available here. 

Climos Announces Selection Of Tetra Tech To Lead Environmental Analysis Of OIF
27 March, 2008 by dan

Tetra Tech, together with Climos, will develop a Conceptual Model and a Master Environmental Report as part of this process. The Conceptual Model will review the scientific background, experimental history, and recent research results for this technique, in addition to providing a detailed review and exploration of environmental questions and concerns. The Master Environmental Report will provide an environmental management framework to evaluate the characteristics and sensitivities of the affected marine environment. Tetra Tech, together with Climos, will develop a Conceptual Model and a Master Environmental Report as part of this process. The Conceptual Model will review the scientific background, experimental history, and recent research results for this technique, in addition to providing a detailed review and exploration of environmental questions and concerns. The Master Environmental Report will provide an environmental management framework to evaluate the characteristics and sensitivities of the affected marine environment.

The press release is here.
New Hansen Paper On Implications Of Peak Oil For Climate
24 March, 2008 by dan

James Hansen and Pushker A. Kharecha announce a James Hansen and Pushker A. Kharecha announce a new paper modeling the effect of the world reaching Peak Oil production on atmospheric CO2 levels assuming that coal emissions are phased out by midcentury. The conclusion is that 450 ppm is not an unreasonable ceiling by 2100 if rising prices on allowances and offsets can be sustained and efficiencies can be implemented allowing us to stretch existing reserves.

Unconstrained CO2 emission from fossil fuel burning has been the dominant cause of observed anthropogenic global warming. The amounts of ‘proven’ and potential fossil fuel reserves are uncertain and debated. Regardless of the true values, society has flexibility in the degree to which it chooses to exploit these reserves, especially unconventional fossil fuels and those located in extreme or pristine environments. If conventional oil production peaks within the next few decades, it may have a large effect on future atmospheric CO2 and climate change, depending upon subsequent energy choices. Assuming that proven oil and gas reserves do not greatly exceed estimates of the Energy Information Administration, and recent trends are toward lower estimates, we show that it is feasible to keep atmospheric CO2 from exceeding about 450 ppm by 2100, provided that emissions from coal, unconventional fossil fuels, and land use are constrained. Coal-fired power plants without sequestration must be phased out before midcentury to achieve this CO2 limit. It is also important to ‘stretch’ conventional oil reserves via energy conservation and efficiency, thus averting strong pressures to extract liquid fuels from coal or unconventional fossil fuels while clean technologies are being developed for the era ‘beyond fossil fuels’. We argue that a rising price on carbon emissions is needed to discourage conversion of the vast fossil resources into usable reserves, and to keep CO2 beneath the 450 ppm ceiling.
Climos Mentioned In Time Cover Story
21 March, 2008 by dan

Climos was mentioned in this week’s Time Magazine cover story “10 Ideas that are Changing the World” under a section (#6) on Geoengineering. While we generally refrain from using the term Geoengineering– since it’s a general catch-all for approaches that treat the symptoms (i.e. warming, as in Solar Radiation Management or SRM) as well as those that address the cause (greenhouse gasses, as in forms of biological sequestration such as OIF and some other chemical and mechanical approaches)– we applaud the generally thoughtful though simplistic tone of the piece which, in short, was “lets research some of these approaches and better understand what our options are.”

We should add that in drawing a distinction between SRM techniques and OIF and other carbon mitigation approaches we intend no slight. Both have their conceptual place and many of the same arguments and cautions apply to both.

Not everyone appreciated the article of course. It quickly drew negative comments from Bill Becker (Presidential Climate Action Partnership) at Joe Romm’s Climate Progress blog as well as none other than the Sierra Club’s Carl Pope at HuffPo.

We think both pose the same “false dilemma“, i.e. that to research, and potentially eventually to implement, these options implies that they will be used in place of emissions reductions. Clearly they should not be–and we have never heard any credible voice suggest that they should.

Thankfully there is finally a large and growing worldwide motivation to address emissions–even here in the US the momentum towards such legislation is unmistakeable. (Climos plays an active role in such efforts. For instance, you will find us at every California CARB AB 32 Scoping Plan meeting — the next one is April 4th in Sacramento– as well as involved in efforts at the national and international level. )

More specifically, there seems to be a clear and unsubstantiated assumption that adding tools to mitigate carbon will somehow lessen the motivation to address the underlying cause (emissions). Last year the UN organized the planting of 1 billion trees. This is large scale biological mitigation. We did not see any complaints that this would lessen the pressure on emitters–nor should there be. Lets hope the UN and others, perhaps incentivized by market mechanisms (planting trees costs money too), plant many more. Lest we forget: This problem is large and worsening quickly. We need more options, not fewer–let’s understand what they are.

Becker in particular uses selective quotation to support his argument. Citing cautious comments by Dan Schrag from an Eli Kintish  Science magazine interview of Schrag, Anderson, Chisholm and Victor after the recent geoengineering forum at Harvard University, Becker conveniently ignores other comments from Anderson and Victor and even Schrag himself that we need to understand these options.

Victor: I agree completely, and let me just add that, in addition to all those factors, this has to be viewed as part of a rational overall strategy for thinking about the problem. Because if the climate proves to be a lot more sensitive–the data on the sea ice I found terrifying, and the evidence keeps coming in–then we will need a quick-response option that you might deploy for a while. It would be truly outrageous if we didn’t think about that option and probably even do some more work on it, and test some elements of it, so we’re ready.”


Anderson: I think that’s right. In my mind, after transitioning from putting geoengineering in the category of an unacceptable approach, just a very few years ago, I think geoengineering will bring a focus to this debate that no other discussion can engender. And I think it’s a focus of our scientific knowledge–what we do and do not know. It’s a focus on the very intimate link between the energy issue and the climate issue. It brings focus on the political structure, and in particular [on] which political leaders bring the blueprint to the table that would actually lead to the negotiation of international treaties and so on.

When you look at all of them together, that’s when you realize that the rates of all these changes are out of control. Regaining control of the system–the global system, the energy structure, the political system–this is the challenge. And I think that’s why geoengineering carries with it the requirement to look at these things together.”

Even Eli’s title for the interview (visible in the browser title bar) characterizes the consensus of the interview differently: “CLIMATE CHANGE: Scientists Say Continued Warming Warrants Closer Look at Drastic Fixes”.

The Becker and Pope articles both also assume there is a substantial risk of catastrophic unintended consequences from these various approaches, while the truth is that a thoughtful evaluation reveals little evidence to support this– the most widely considered techniques (aerosols and OIF) simulate natural events that have happened relatively frequently in geologic time, and will surely happen again. As Anderson remarks in the Science Magazine interview:

“There’s a really clear mathematical formulation [that] tells you how that system responds to those perturbations. … Nature provides us with very large perturbations that we need to study very carefully, including the glacial ice system, including the ocean steps”

Furthermore, the credible scientific voices considering many of these techniques are only recommending that we contemplate or continue a process of small to moderate scale demonstrations, nothing more. These demonstrations should be done by the world’s top scientists, and the results subjected to peer-review. Environmental leaders should be an integral part of this process.

Several comments on the article were made at the Geoengineering groups forum here and here.

There was also a thoughtful article from David Schnare this week at Scripps News, though not directly related to the Time piece.

New Paper From Winckler, Et Al On Paleo Dust Record
7 March, 2008 by dan

Recent interview on environmentalresearchweb regarding new Winckler, et al paper Recent interview on environmentalresearchweb regarding new Winckler, et al paper;
Mar 5, 2008 Dusting up climate records To date, records of past dust levels in the equatorial Pacific region have been inconsistent, with some showing a rise in dust levels during interglacial periods and others a dust minimum at those times. Now, measurements generated by researchers at Cornell and Columbia universities in the US for three sites in the Pacific Ocean show dust levels consistently 2.5 times higher during glacial periods than for interglacial times, matching the trend for records from Antarctica. "Our study provides, for the first time, a quantitative basis for evaluating the role of dust in past climate change and in changes in biogeochemical cycles," Gisela Winckler of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, US, told environmentalresearchweb. "Our results from a region of heightened climate sensitivity provide a benchmark for the development and testing of new dust models, while also providing vital input for models of climate variability and ocean biogeochemistry." According to Winckler, observations like the team’s are crucial not only in constraining but also in advancing modern climate models. "On top of that, our records may have implications with respect to large-scale iron fertilization of the ocean," she added. Wind-borne dust can be a major source of iron while artificial iron fertilization has been suggested as a method of boosting carbon sequestration in the oceans. The idea is that adding iron boosts growth of phytoplankton, which absorb carbon dioxide through photosynthesis and then die, taking the carbon with them as they sink to the ocean depths. But it’s a controversial proposal – it’s not clear how effectively the process would work in practice, and many people are worried about unforeseen effects. "Accurate reconstruction of dust flux variability in the past may serve as a natural experiment to evaluate the efficacy of fertilization of the ocean through artificial iron addition in the High Nutrient-Low Chlorophyll region of the equatorial Pacific," said Winckler. "While we caution that the idea of iron fertilization is complex and controversial, we believe that assessing the past response to natural variability of iron could enable scientists to develop more quantitative predictions about the possible efficacy of artificial iron addition in the future." Winckler and colleagues used levels of common thorium (232Th) as a proxy for dust in cores taken from three sites in the Pacific. The sites spanned roughly 6000 miles of the Equator, stretching from a spot near Papua New Guinea to a location off Ecuador’s Galápagos Islands. "We find remarkable consistency among the three study sites spanning more than a quarter of Earth’s circumference, as well as between tropical regions and the Antarctic, indicating a synchronous response to climate change by interhemispheric dust sources," said Winckler. The researchers believe that dryer and windier conditions during glacial periods led to increased dust transport. "Dust is a tremendously interesting component of the climate system, and probably the one we know the least about," said Winckner. "Over the last two decades, scientists have extracted a beautiful record of the variability of dust fluxes to polar regions, mostly from Antarctic ice cores, showing that the world during ice ages was much more dusty than the warm/interglacial world. However, we know much less about low and mid latitudes, where it matters because this is where people live and where probably the engine of the Earth's climate system lies." The researchers, who reported their work in Sciencexpress, say that the next step is to obtain similar records from critical regions with the goal of providing a "global dust map", both in the present and in the past. Winckner also plans "to continue the path of getting 'observationists' and 'modelers' together – like in our present work". Abstract of the SciExpress piece: Covariant Glacial-Interglacial Dust Fluxes in the Equatorial Pacific and Antarctica Gisela Winckler, Robert F. Anderson, Martin Q. Fleisher, David McGee, Natalie Mahowald Dust plays a critical role in Earth’s climate system and serves as a natural source of iron and other micronutrients to remote regions of the ocean. We have generated records of dust deposition over the past 500,000 years at three sites spanning the breadth of the equatorial Pacific Ocean. Equatorial Pacific dust fluxes are highly correlated with global ice volume and with dust fluxes to Antarctica, suggesting that dust generation in interhemispheric source regions exhibited a common response to climate change over late-Pleistocene glacial cycles. Our results provide quantitative constraints on the variability of aeolian iron supply to the equatorial Pacific Ocean and, more generally, on the potential contribution of dust to past climate change and to related changes in biogeochemical cycles.

Joint SCOR GESAMP Statement On Ocean Fertilization
5 March, 2008 by kevin

Two respected scientific organizations have issued a joint position on ocean fertilization. These organizations are the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR), and the Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection. The position statement highlights the outstanding scientific questions that need to be considered by any future ocean fertilization activities.

Also discussed is the relationship of ocean fertilization research activities to the emerging global carbon market, including a brief reference to the Climos Code of Conduct:

“We commend efforts by some commercial ventures to create codes of conduct and obtain outside reviews.

Link to the full position statement

Climos Closes On $3.5M Series A Financing With Braemar Energy Ventures
5 March, 2008 by dan

Climos announced the close of a $3.5M Series A financing today with Braemar Energy Ventures and investor/entrepreneur Elon Musk.

The press release
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