Adventure

Mineral Seeding: The Answer to Climate Change?

Researchers plan ocean additive

A sprinkle of fairy dust may be all it takes to put the brakes on global warming. Researchers in Germany have found that seeding our oceans with olivine, a common Earth mineral named for its color, might speed up the absorption of carbon dioxide. Other upsides may include the tempering of ocean acidification, which has destroyed vast swaths of precious coral reefs and upset fish populations.

If only geo-engineering were so simple. As it turns out, there are a number of obstacles beyond the inherent risks involved in tampering with our ecosystem on a massive scale:  

To carry out such a project would require in the range of a 100 bulk tankers and shipping vessels to be used to distribute the minerals "10 times a year," requiring the frequent usage of ships needed for international business purposes. Further, the ocean-wide changes caused by the distribution of minerals could affect the species composition of plankton populations, which form a key component of essentially every marine ecosystem.

The plan would be far from the first attempt at ocean seeding. In October it was discovered that entrepreneur Russ George had dumped 100 tons of iron sulphate in the Pacific Ocean in an attempt to spawn an artificial plankton bloom. The experiment violated a number of international treaties and has so far had no discernable effect. But by all means, let’s keep at it.

Support Outside Online

Our mission to inspire readers to get outside has never been more critical. In recent years, Outside Online has reported on groundbreaking research linking time in nature to improved mental and physical health, and we’ve kept you informed about the unprecedented threats to America’s public lands. Our rigorous coverage helps spark important debates about wellness and travel and adventure, and it provides readers an accessible gateway to new outdoor passions. Time outside is essential—and we can help you make the most of it. Making a financial contribution to Outside Online only takes a few minutes and will ensure we can continue supplying the trailblazing, informative journalism that readers like you depend on. We hope you’ll support us. Thank you.

Contribute to Outside
Filed To: News
More Adventure