Sunday, 22 July 2012

Climate stuff from the week 16-22/7/12

'Geoengineering with iron might work after all'
In 2009, the results of an experiment, in which seeding of the oceans with iron was tried, had failed. That experiment involved dumping iron filings into the waters, for consumption by algae, causing a bloom, which woul dlock CO2 away, hopefully taking it to the bottom of the sea, and storing it away, as it descended through the water column.
But a later experiment, done in the colder waters of the Southern Ocean, in 2004, has just been published, and the results are far more promising. The researchers have surmised that the higher silicon content of the waters there was integrated into the algae's cell walls, making them more resistant to predation, and improving their chances of surviving their fall through the oceanic waters.
It strikes me that the waters of the Southern Ocean are colder, and less biologically dense than those of the Southern Atlantic, and that this might have improved its chances, also.
Seeding the oceans this way could sequester, at maximum capacity, a tenth of the world's current emissions.
"It's too little to be the solution... but it's too much to ignore."

'Global CO2 emissions continue to increase: report'
CO2 emissions by another 3%, last year, reaching the all-tine high of 34 billion tonnes in 2011 alone!
"Weak economic conditions, a mild winter, and energy savings stimulated by high oil prices led to a decrease of 3% in CO2 emissions in the European Union and of 2% in both the United States and Japan."
In order to actually reduce emissions, we must do two things:
- maintain long-term economic shrinkage
- shift to use of renewable power sources

'Global warming harms lakes: study'
Decades of efforts at lake clean-ups due to nitrogen pollution from leached fertilizer, might be overturned as the activity of cyanobacteria algae increase, spurred by rising temperatures.
Algal blooms might help us, in the oceans, but in lakes, they deoxygenate the water, suffocating other animals, which include, of course, fish stocks.
"The problem today is that mankind is changing two sensitive lake properties at the same time, namely the nutrient ratios and, with global warming, water temperature"
On top of this, the cyanobacteria produce hazardous chemicals - "toxins" - that are harmful to just about everything other than themselves:
"the cyanobacteria Planktothrix rubescens, more commonly known as Burgundy blood algae, has developed increasingly denser blooms in the last 40 years. Like many other cyanobacteria, Planktothrix contains toxins to protect itself from being eaten by small crabs. Burgundy blood algae were first described in Lake Zurich in 1899 and are a well-known phenomenon for Zurich Water Supply. Consequently, the lake water is painstakingly treated for the drinking-water supply to remove the organism and toxins completely from the raw water."

'Greenland glacier loses ice island twice the size of Manhattan'
At 46 square miles (120 square km), this latest ice island is about half the size of the mega-calving that occurred from the same glacier two years ago.
“Northwest Greenland and northeast Canada are warming more than five times faster than the rest of the world,” Muenchow says, “but the observed warming is not proof that the diminishing ice shelf is caused by this, because air temperatures have little effect on this glacier; ocean temperatures do, and our ocean temperature time series are only five to eight years long — too short to establish a robust warming signal.”
"this newest ice island will follow the path of the 2010 ice island, providing a slow-moving floating taxi for polar bears, seals and other marine life until it enters Nares Strait, the deep channel between northern Greenland and Canada, where it likely will get broken up."

At the end of the last ice age, warming was accelerated by a 'sudden' release of nitrous oxide (laughing gas), released by plants and peatlands, as a direct consequence of the recent warming. This could happen again, exacerbating all our climatic troubles.

No comments:

Post a Comment