Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A 'green' experiment backfires

It is to laugh . . . A German report shows that politically-correct environmental experiments can sometimes backfire - with unexpected results!

The German-Indian polar experiment LOHAFEX, where iron sulphate was dumped into the ocean to foster the growth of carbon dioxide-absorbing plankton, has proved ineffective in mitigating global warming.

The Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research explained that the addition of iron to 300 square kilometres of the South Atlantic did promote plankton growth, but they were unexpectedly eaten by small crustacean zooplankton before they could absorb more of the greenhouse gas.

“Nevertheless, despite the hard work under difficult circumstances, LOHAFEX has been an exciting experience laced with the spirit of adventure and haunted by uncertainty quite unlike other scientific cruises,” said Dr. Victor Smetacek, co-chief scientist from the Alfred Wegener Institute, which took the German research boat Polarstern on the journey.

Based on the preliminary results, the team doubts that iron fertilisation will lead to a removal of significant amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere, the statement said.

Such experiments are called geo-engineering and have been highly controversial among environmentalists because of their unpredictable results.

. . .

Researchers from the Alfred Wegener Institute said that the experiment had left behind “no trace other than a swarm of well-fed amphipods.”

Bold print is my emphasis. There's more at the link.

Nature eats scientists' experiment! I love it! I trust the amphipods were duly appreciative of their newly-provided food source . . .


1 comment:

LabRat said...

I'm glad it was something as harmless as amphipods! Iron is a major limiting resource in nature- especially for BACTERIA. They could very easily have gotten a much nastier result.

Stupid, stupid, stupid!