iron fertilization

Upsala Glacier, Argentina, where scientists collected glacial dust samples. When glaciers move across bedrock, they scrape against it (see glacial grooves in the foreground), and grind it into smaller particles, which may then get blown out to sea. The turquoise blue water of the lake in the background is caused by the milkiness of the fine glacial dust suspended in it.  (Elizabeth Shoenfelt)

Iron Chemistry Matters for Ocean Carbon Uptake

An interdisciplinary team of scientists has discovered that, contrary to general scientific belief, iron in nondissolved particle form can stimulate phytoplankton growth, and that the chemical form that particulate iron takes is critical to ocean photosynthesis.

by |June 23, 2017
With the right mix of nutrients, carbon-capturing phytoplankton grow quickly, creating blooms visible from space. (Robert Simmon and Jesse Allen/NASA)

Iron Fertilization Won’t Work in Equatorial Pacific, Study Suggests

Over the past half-million years, the equatorial Pacific Ocean has seen five spikes in the amount of iron-laden dust blown in from the continents. In theory, those bursts should have turbo-charged the growth of carbon-capturing algae, but a new study shows that the excess iron had little to no effect.

by |May 16, 2016