Ocean fertilization `fix` for global warming discredited by new research

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Research performed at Stanford and Oregon State Universities suggests that ocean fertilization may not be an effective method of reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, a major contributor to global warming. Ocean fertilization, the process of adding iron or other nutrients to the ocean to cause large algal blooms, has been proposed as a possible solution to global warming because the growing algae absorb carbon dioxide as they grow.

However, this process, which is analogous to adding fertilizer to a lawn to help the grass grow, only reduces carbon dioxide in the atmosphere if the carbon incorporated into the algae sinks to deeper waters. This process, which scientists call the 'Biological Pump', has been thought to be dependent on the abundance of algae in the top layers of the ocean. The more algae in a bloom, the more carbon is transported, or 'pumped', from the atmosphere to the deep ocean.

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