Jan 28, 2009 | 9
A now-defunct California company back in 2007 attempted to fertilize the ocean off the coast of Ecuador with iron to prod plankton to grow. Such a bloom, it proclaimed, would suck up carbon dioxide (CO2) and then send it to the ocean floor as the one-celled plants died and sank. The company, Planktos, sank last year before that could ever happen. But new research suggests that its CEO Russ George and his ilk may have been on to something: plankton blooms do eliminate more CO2 than regular growth.
Raymond Pollard of the U.K.'s National Oceanography Center in Southampton and his colleagues observed the natural plankton blooms near the Crozet Islands some 1,400 miles (2,200 kilometers) southeast of South Africa, near Antarctica. The waters to the north of the islands are enriched with iron from their volcanic rocks and, each spring, a more than 46,000 square mile (120,000 square kilometer) bloom blossoms.
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