Journal Star, Peoria, Monday, Sept. 12, 1994 SciTech Briefs, Study: Ocean iron helped boos
Journal Star, Peoria, Monday, Sept. 12, 1994
Sci-Tech Briefs, Study: Ocean iron helped boost climate
NEW YORK -- Results of an experiment that added iron to a
25-square-mile patch of the Pacific Ocean bolster the
hypothesis that oceanic iron supply influenced ancient climate,
a researcher says.
The iron increased the amount of photosynthesis by tiny
floating plants called phytoplankton, Kenneth Coale and other
scientists report in the Sept. 8 issue of the journal Nature.
Photosynthesis consumes carbon dioxide, a so-called greenhouse
gas that promotes warming. In the past, the hypothesis
suggests, iron blowing continually into some parts of the ocean
in dust from deserts or volcanoes encouraged photosynthesis,
leading to drawdowns of atmospheric carbon dioxide that, in
turn, led to colder climate.
Previous research shows that ice ages were associated with more
arid regions, more windblown iron, higher amounts of ocean
photosynthesis and lower carbon dioxide levels than warmer
periods were, said Coale, of Moss Landing Marine Laboratories
in Moss Landing, Calif.
The new experiment was conducted about 300 miles south of the
Galapagos Islands, in one of several large ocean areas where
scientists suspected that photosynthesis was being hindered by
lack of iron. Coale said the work was not intended to support a
proposal to dump iron in the ocean to head off global warming,
an idea he called irresponsible and infeasible. END OF TEXT
I thought this might give some new perspective on the Earth's
previous Ice Ages. An interesting article in my view, so I hope
people find it provocative.
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank