Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Iron From Antarctic Rocks Fuels Algae Growth

timothy posted about a year ago | from the earth-rocks-it-totally-rocks dept.

Earth 40

MTorrice writes "The Southern Ocean around Antarctica is a significant carbon dioxide sink. Phytoplankton in the ocean pull down a large amount of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Oceanographers have wondered where these photosynthetic microbes get enough iron to fuel this process. A new study (abstract) suggests that iron leached into the sea from rock weathering and bacterial activity on Antarctica may be part of the answer. Climate change could actually accelerate this iron release, leading to larger blooms of phytoplankton and more carbon dioxide uptake by the ocean, the researchers say."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

What the Earth is a buffered system? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43840905)

That has to be bullshit because we know climate change is real and man made. The planet is doomed unless everyone rides their bike to work and eats rice cakes.

Re:What the Earth is a buffered system? (3, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#43840947)

That has to be bullshit because we know climate change is real and man made. The planet is doomed unless everyone rides their bike to work and eats rice cakes.

I'm sure it will please you to know that your straw man has helped to sequester just a bit of carbon that would otherwise have remained in the atmosphere!

Re:What the Earth is a buffered system? (3, Funny)

OakDragon (885217) | about a year ago | (#43842783)

That has to be bullshit because we know climate change is real and man made. The planet is doomed unless everyone rides their bike to work and eats rice cakes.

I'm sure it will please you to know that your straw man has helped to sequester just a bit of carbon that would otherwise have remained in the atmosphere!

But if you burn that straw man, you'll release it back again!

Re:What the Earth is a buffered system? (2)

Internetuser1248 (1787630) | about a year ago | (#43843523)

I love this particular idiotic argument, it cracks me up. "The earth is a self regulating system therefore whatever humans do to it, it will just compensate, therefore we can pollute as much as we want."

My reply is always "Your body is a self regulating system therefore whatever you do to it it will just compensate. You can prove the validity of your hypothesis about the planet by simply quaffing a few litres of industrial bleach."

Re:What the Earth is a buffered system? (4, Interesting)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year ago | (#43841079)

The ocean acting as a buffer isn't a good thing, this causes ocean acidification which chemically attacks coral and shelled sea creatures.

Re:What the Earth is a buffered system? (4, Interesting)

Zocalo (252965) | about a year ago | (#43841267)

It can get much worse [wikipedia.org] than that since the algal bloom can also reduce oxygen levels in the water, wiping out a much larger chunk of marine ecosystems than coral and shell fish. Depending on the individual blooms, it could be a good thing and provide a respite from rising CO2, but it might also be a case of out of the frying pan and into the fire...

Re:What the Earth is a buffered system? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43842907)

We'll just balance is by breeding more whales into the ecosystem to eat the microbes and algae... but then we'll be stuck w a bunch of whales. Nantucket should be pleased.

Re:What the Earth is a buffered system? (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | about a year ago | (#43844751)

Mmmm.... Whale...

Re:What the Earth is a buffered system? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43843657)

It's not the algal bloom that reduce oxygen, but the later decomposition of said algal cells at depth that reduce the oxygen.

Re:What the Earth is a buffered system? (1)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year ago | (#43841805)

Seeing how badly our coral ecosystems are damaged, NASA people were commenting about this two decades ago from satellite imagery... We really aught to consider those a high priority for preservation. In my opinion.

Re:What the Earth is a buffered system? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43842619)

http://www.redorbit.com/news/science/1112785085/caribbean-coral-die-off-man-021513/

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2010/10/20/206901/coral-bleaching-die-off-worst-ever/?mobile=nc

By the way bacteria has very complex interdependence with PH. So this is still most likely an underlying factor that is being overlooked. If you ever had an aquarium as a kid you know you have to keep it very stable.

Captcha: eighties, when mainstream science started figuring this stuff out. Yet it got neglected and ignored.

By the way those fancy video games you like to disparage were much simpler back then. I suppose you were just educated by Saved by the Bell?

Re:What the Earth is a buffered system? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43842229)

Says the guy who apparently spends his days playing fucking video games.

Really, all these Slashdot people who think they are qualified to even speak to the subject.

What a waste of bandwidth.

Re:What the Earth is a buffered system? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43842401)

The ocean has been quite acidic in the past, and we still have coral.

Re:What the Earth is a buffered system? (1)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year ago | (#43842449)

This bears my further investigation... how long ago? And how fast did things change...

If we change the acidity quick enough before adaptation can manage to slowly change our ecosystems than your argument is invalid.

I'm thinking a century instead of thousands of years.

Re:What the Earth is a buffered system? (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year ago | (#43842655)

Re:What the Earth is a buffered system? (1)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year ago | (#43842705)

Just want to say thanks for the links GameboyRMH

Re:What the Earth is a buffered system? (2)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year ago | (#43842689)

A short jaunt to wiki tells me what I want.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocean_acidification [wikipedia.org]

This rate is 100 times faster than any changes in ocean acidity in the last 20 million years, making it unlikely that marine life can somehow adapt to the changes.

Thankfully wiki has citations too. Wiki link is dead, but theres this article http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2011/04/ocean-acidification/kolbert-text [nationalgeographic.com]

Anyway I did A lot of reading Nat Geo and other articles between video games. Also talking to people about and discussing it and getting their opinions.

Re:What the Earth is a buffered system? (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about a year ago | (#43843003)

can be a great thing if we toss some iron into the seas, the critters with shells will multiply and get the pH up. problem solved

Re:What the Earth is a buffered system? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43841169)

The Earth is a buffered system. But there are limits as to how much and how fast such systems can occur. And, as anyone who has taken basic high school chemistry can attest, any buffered system can be overwhelmed.

Re:What the Earth is a buffered system? (3, Informative)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#43841393)

Also anti-buffered, eg. when the Siberian permafrost melts.

Re:What the Earth is a buffered system? (2)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#43841547)

It's all a matter of time scale. The crust will eventually re-absorb whatever we manage to dump into the atmosphere, but it will be too late for us. :-)

Mwhahahaha.... (4, Interesting)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year ago | (#43840945)

http://deusex.wikia.com/wiki/Panchaea [wikia.com]

Dystopian Future HO!

The officially stated purpose of Panchaea is to counter the effects of the global warming. In order to do so, the facility promotes growth of phytoplankton by dispersing iron into the ocean. The underlying expectation is that more carbon will be trapped in biomass and then deposited on the ocean floor as sediment.

Re:Mwhahahaha.... (1)

CrimsonKnight13 (1388125) | about a year ago | (#43841447)

Nice reference to a game I thoroughly have enjoyed (except the endings!).

Re:Mwhahahaha.... (1)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year ago | (#43841755)

I agree it was a fun game. I also agree about the endings. Unfortunately it really missed its full potential. I think due to time constraints with the storyline.

Re:Mwhahahaha.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43844821)

The WiiU version of Deus Ex: Human Revolution will probably be the definitive version, as the boss fights were redone by Eidos and not farmed out like they were for the PC/360/PS3 versions, as well as having all the DLC integrated into the story, as well as several other great features (if they manage to make it so you could actually max out your Augmentations, or add new ones to Jensen's arsenal that would be sweet, and if they added a whole new mission hub like Montreal, I would be sold so fast your head would be spinning)

Re:Mwhahahaha.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43845457)

Cool. I don't have a Wii U. But if a friend ever does grab one I might borrow it =)

I thought the boss fights were kind of insane. Though I beat them all on "Give me Deus Ex" without changing the difficulty.

I also derped up and took the biochip upgrade from L.I.M.B. which made that last 'boss' fight really interesting hah. Ended up bringing a turret down with me. Made all the difference.

I probably won't replay my steam copy anytime soon. But I was really glad I just opted to use force on this play through. Otherwise I probably would have had to let Malik die. Not really big on the extreme cheese needed to save her with a stealth/pacifist run. And honestly that was a poignant moment for me. Because she would have died in my run through the game otherwise.

tarollkore (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43841035)

Need advice. (3, Funny)

grub (11606) | about a year ago | (#43841113)


Does this mean I should cancel my Prius order and go for an Escalade instead?

Re:Need advice. (5, Funny)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year ago | (#43841351)

Do not worry, fuel prices and energy costs will continue to inflate faster then inflation of fiat currency =) And celebrity boobs.

You made a good choice!

Re:Need advice. (1)

RoboRay (735839) | about a year ago | (#43841443)

Either way, you'll be labeled "pretentious" by everyone who sees you in it.

Re:Need advice. (1)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year ago | (#43841825)

Paint it with graffiti and put gold rims on it and you will be a pretentious baller ;p

Wait... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43841237)

I thought "Researchers" were busy jail braking cell phones and figuring out ways for people to get shit for free.

Busy guys, these "Researchers".

Re:Wait... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43841361)

"Researchers" have mod points too!

Is it.. (1)

wbr1 (2538558) | about a year ago | (#43841783)

Is it fast enough, or large enough to make much of a difference? Looking at the huge amount of carbon we are adding, I would say no.

Getting popcorn for the upcoming comment battle.

Re:Is it.. (2)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a year ago | (#43843979)

Well, phytoplankton remove an average of 4x their weight in CO2 over their lifetime. The oxygen doesn't count, there's carbon in their waste and then some in their bodies which move up the food chain and are eventually deposited on the sea floor when large predators die.

Plankton outweight all other sea animals combined.
Plankton are only out numbered by Bacteria as far as individual organisms go...
Plankton already sequester 30% of all CO2 released on earth (trees are like 2%)

So yes, plankton blooms could easily remove all the CO2 we're dumping into the atmosphere. But seeding the ocean with iron would put green peace in a tizzy... because their real goal has nothing to do with Global Warming.

Iron from Anartic doesn't rock (3, Funny)

shadowofwind (1209890) | about a year ago | (#43843431)

I saw them a couple of years ago at Ozzfest. They're basically an Iron Maiden / Iced Earth copycat, with the pretentiousness of an 80's hair band but even less talent.

Is this a geo-engineering possibility? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43850165)

I wonder if geo-engineers use could these or more findings like this. We have many sources of iron far from the Antarctic that could be imported to encourage the growth of carbon abosorbing algae. For example, acid mine drainage is very rich in iron. The trick would be doing it without too much impact to the natural ecosystems (coral, fish, etc.) and cost, of course. Considering the potential economic costs and ecological damage across the entire world from climate change, some environmental impacts and cost MIGHT be justified if it could significantly change the world's carbon balance. I don't say that lightly, however.

Re:Is this a geo-engineering possibility? (1)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year ago | (#43854397)

I think we have the science and technology to figure it out to some degree. It would require a bit of engineering and a lot of investment. And possibly a few governments working together. As well as marine biologists, engineers, and probably some types of scientists.

But I think on a scale of 0 to 1, its closer to 1 =)

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?