Stick some more iron in there and double it

The Southern Ocean has started to absorb more greenhouse gases after a period when the vast ocean’s uptake had slumped by about a half, a study has found.

The ocean’s role as a crucial carbon “sink” appeared to be waning throughout the 1990s, but after 2002 it began to rebound to its previous level, absorbing 1.2bn tonnes of carbon in 2011.

The academic studies really do say that we can double that, add another billion, just by dumping iron sulfate overboard. So, why don’t we go do that?

Because (mumble, mumble) NO! is the reason and I still don’t understand why.

31 thoughts on “Stick some more iron in there and double it”

  1. Bloke in North Dorset

    Because for most of the AGW warriors (water melons I believe is the term) AGW is the method of control to impose their socialist world view and fixing the problem removes their raison d’etre.

    I’ve posted on here before a link to the BBC Analysis program about the conference where the water melons were offered a magic wand to fix the CO2 GHG problem and 90% refused it.

  2. Another reason why not is because most of the CO2 increase follows global temperate rise, not cause it. Man’s addition to the CO2 is tiny in global terms. CO2 has risen a lot recently but global temperatures have flat lined for 18 years.

  3. Because (mumble, mumble) NO! is the reason and I still don’t understand why.

    While I’m all for pursuing technological solutions – much better than turning off the AC where I live – we are really, really, really, really, really, bad at figuring out long-term dangers/consequences and of just about anything.

    Oh, and add in that this sort of thing would, right out the gate, become a government funded boondoggle where very little is accomplished, data is ignored, continues to run even if it achieves its objectives and further work would be actively harmful, and – most importantly – well-connected people get paid a loooooot of money to manage the operation.

  4. Bloke in North Dorset
    September 11, 2015 at 6:49 am

    Because for most of the AGW warriors (water melons I believe is the term)

    Watermelon – one word, like the fruit. Green on the outside, red on the inside.

  5. Assuming, just for fun, that it is actually necessary (it isn’t) you face the three stages of any innovation.
    1. It can’t be done
    2. It isn’t allowed
    3. Why the fuck didn’t you think of this before?

    If the powers that be really did think AGW was a real problem, rather than a handy club with which to beat everyone into submission, they’d be building nuclear power stations everywhere and sprinkling iron filings in the ocean. The fact they don’t tells us all we need to know.

  6. I wonder where and at what cost we could pick up billions of tons of iron sulphate to dump in the oceans. Consequences and unintended comes to mind.

  7. I sometimes get the feeling tim bought a billion tonnes of iron sulfate and hasn’t been able to offload it 😀

  8. What caused the rebound in 2002?

    While that’s unexplained intervention with iron or anything else would be daft. And even then it might be unwise.

  9. Yeah, politicians are really going to say ‘You know that Climate Change thing we told you the solution for and have spent trillions of dollars and created vast amounts of regulation based on what we thought would help. Well actually, that was a mistake and an appalling waste of money and from day one there was always a far easier and cheaper way of doing it. We’re really sorry’

    Don’t hold your breath, Tim.

  10. When did the whole global warming thing kick off? About 30 years ago? Took about 10 years for some well paying careers to become established around it. From around then it’s been “only ten years to save the planet”, Every year.
    Whenever someone wants to tell me something, I always ask myself “Why are they telling me this?” Mostly I find – because it’s in my interest – a fair way down the list of possibilities. So far, CAGW hasn’t made half way

  11. From the article:

    “The oceans are about 30% more acidic than they were a century ago.”

    Is that true / meaningful?

    The link it references says:


    “So far, ocean pH has dropped from 8.2 to 8.1 since the industrial revolution, and is expected by fall another 0.3 to 0.4 pH units by the end of the century. A drop in pH of 0.1 might not seem like a lot, but the pH scale, like the Richter scale for measuring earthquakes, is logarithmic. For example, pH 4 is ten times more acidic than pH 5”.

    It’s the change I am referring to, as it acknowledges:

    “The ocean itself is not actually acidic in the sense of having a pH less than 7, and it won’t become acidic even with all the CO2 that is dissolving into the ocean. But the changes in the direction of increasing acidity are still dramatic.”

  12. It’s a waste product from a number of industrial processes. People will pay you to haul it away in fact. And you don’t need billions of tonnes. 5,000 tonnes, one small ship load, would do it for the year.

  13. Tim

    One day you will apply your faculties to the science behind the Global Warming (now Climate Change) Agenda rather than to the cost and sense of the ‘measures’ proposed by the politburo.

    You do not have to be a scientist (just reasonably intelligent and critical) to discover that things just ain’t what they have been telling us.

    Just superfically:
    None of the dire predictions have come true. NONE.
    Nobody can explain the ‘pause’ in global warming (maybe it is not a pause?) and CO2 is still rising (we think).
    There is no consensus (the 97% has been comprehensively debunked). There are more and more top scientists lifting their head above the parapet, although the punishment for heresy can be extreme (Tim Hunt-style).
    There is no proof that warming is a direct result of more CO2.
    There is no proof that the increase in CO2 is due to our activities (although it is clear we produce CO2).
    At 400 ppm we are at an all time low for CO2 in the atmosphere
    CO2 is not a pollutant (despite what the EPA say) The slight increase does seem to be greening the world a little.
    Plant life needs CO2 and more than we have at the moment
    The money is in Green not in not-green.

    Anecdotically, I have been following this for 5 years. When the scare stories come out, they are always rapidly undone (but only those interested hear about it). But, never on one single occasion have I seen a comeback to dismount the undoing.

    I have had interchanges with Greenpeace reps here and in the UK. Puerile, ignorant cut-and-pasters like something out of 1984.

    Oh and Guardian readers to a wo/man consider it all a done deal. We are going to fry. That ought to worry you!

  14. Given that greenhouses in the Netherlands are supplied with CO2 to enhance food production, why is it a good idea to reduce available plant food in the atmosphere again? greening of the Sahara etc.

  15. Bloke inside the M25

    Climate change has been a boondoggle for decades. Originally the big scare was Global Cooling but then along came the hockey stick and so we are all going to fry rather than freeze. What I have never understood is why most of those on the former bandwagon jumped on to the new one and never justified why every thing had changed..

  16. PF

    Did the article say that we know that oceans are acidifying because of…. er, physics. We only measure it in 3 locations, none of which is anywhere near a chalky cliff face.

  17. Bloke no Longer in Austria

    This ocean acidification story is utter arse from first principles.

    The ph value of seawater dramatically changes depending on location/season/time of day. It can swing from 6.x to 9 in a single day. Land run off, sea traffic, ocean currents, sea life etc all affect the values. There’s that fjord in Norway where the value is high because of barrels of heavy water sunk on their way to Germany during WW2 !
    Taking an “average” of ph is as meaningless as an “average” earthquake.

  18. Let’s set up a charity, collect money from donors, and pop over to China to buy a ship-load of waste iron sulphate to dump in the ocean.

    Bulk dry shipping rates are incredibly low at the moment, so it’s the ideal time to launch. You can charter a Panamax-sized ship for $6,000 a day, if I’ve understood the figures correctly.

  19. The acidification scare is based on about 500 measurements over 35 years in Hawaï, the Canaries and the Bahamas. Anyone spot any problems! I am incredulous that anyone would claim anything on such an obviously inadequate data set.

  20. Suppose, for the sake of argument, that the recent lack of warming presages an imminent Little Ice Age. Suppose, ditto, that a bit of ocean modification could tip that into an actual real Ice Age. Would you still be keen on taking the risk?

    Remember, understanding of climate and climate change is so hopelessly inadequate that the global warmongers have got off with their fraud successfully. So would you really want to punt on anyone being capable of usefully (and honestly) appraising the tip-iron-into-the-sea strategy?

  21. The areas of the sea which have the most varied and abundant sealife, are coral reefs which also experience the greatest diurnal variation of pH (see BNLIA). Also they are growing with sealevel rise and periodic bleaching is a perfectly normal event.

  22. Agamammon’s on point: we just don’t understand enough about the oceans, and what we do understand tells us that 5,000 tonnes per annum of extra iron could have significant side-effects. We’re already losing coral reefs and over-fishing is a problem: who wants to do something that might diminish the oceans’ ability to provide resources further?

    It’s a few years old, but I understand that this represents the state of our knowledge fairly well:

    The above article makes the point that, in fact, over-reliance on wind power could be similar in that it takes energy out of the atmosphere and we don’t know enough about what effects that might have on natural ecosystems.

    Some level of ocean fertilisation will be safe, but knowing what that level is, and what effect it will have, is very difficult.

  23. Incidentally, I am a detractor of the precautionary principle as applied to small-scale matters where individuals can choose whether they want to be exposed to whatever risks and benefits might apply; but when it comes to massive engineering projects that could seriously deteriorate the only habitable planet our entire species can access, I’m rather keener on it.

  24. You don’t need to dig into the awful physics to see that AGW is bollocks. By suppressing dissenting views its followers violate the essence of the scientific method (see Karl Popper).
    It’s getting boring and needs to be stopped. I suggest a Private Members Bill that levies fines recoverable from the pensions of government-funded scientists proven to have influenced public policy on the basis of studies that breached best scientific practice.
    That would leave the East Anglia crew and Met Office menage shivering in the dark in their retirement, in like manner to their victims.

  25. “over-reliance on wind power could be similar in that it takes energy out of the atmosphere and we don’t know enough about what effects that might have on natural ecosystems.”

    No windmill blade is 100% efficient. So, from the wind they intersect, a proportion of the energy is extracted as rotation & a proportion end up as turbulence. Which is another way of saying heat. The energy contained in the velocity has to go somewhere. That’s without the heat that’s being emitted from the inefficiencies of the generators themselves. Bearing heat. Resistance heating in the field wiring.
    So any large wind farm is not only disturbing wind patterns, it’s dumping a lot of localised heat into the atmosphere. And hot air, of course, rises. So it’s not just a surface phenomenon.

  26. The southern ocean “warming”, get yourself along to Tassie anytime of the year and tell me about “warming seas” – the very idea is total bollocks.

    Down in the roaring Forties and the Furious Fifties, ‘warm’ is not a word on most peoples frozen lips.

    Cold sea water is a carbon sink.

    The world polar regions are cooling and will continue to cool. We are now thought to entering a prolonged Solar quiescence, which usually coincides with increased volcanic activity and which, in tandem, is not a good combination.

    Do not be deceived by NOAA retro fixing erm recalibrating the T data sets – to hype the alarmist twatterati.

    N.B. any warmist telling you that 2015 will be, “the hottest evah” is being outrageously economical with the truth realists euphemistically name; NOAA/GISS/HadCRut/Penn state University climatology faculty – as, lying bastards.

    Verily, all 2015 T Data sets should be readjusted to take into account a ‘super’ El Nino event but as we know they won’t be.

    Ultimately, CO² rises as a function of increased temperatures and not the other way around, thus, as T rises…… and lagging behind, CO² increases atmospheric concentrations.

    At the death, Remember, cold kills.

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