Please select your home edition
Edition
Insun - AC Program

'So long and thanks for all the plankton,' say Antarctic whales

by Sail-World on 13 Mar 2009
Polarstern and friends .. .
The flagship German research vessel of the European Union and her science crew of 50 scientists from Germany, India, and around the world have just finished a controversial project to give iron to the Antarctic Ocean, which they claim has been depleted from the world's oceans by CO2 emissions. Here they tell the story.

The Polarstern departed from its Southern Ocean pasture a day or so ago. The ship and her dedicated scientists had prescribed and on January 27th administered 10 tonnes of iron to a several hundred sq. kilometer patch of ocean.

The iron was just the tonic the ocean needed and within days a verdant ocean pasture began to bloom. Ocean satellites picked up an image of the bloom on Valentines Day, what better gift for Mother Earth, than her ocean restored and growing nutritious plankton for every form of sea life from tiny krill to the great whales and everything in between fish, penguins, seals, and seabirds.

The project, years in planning, had run into a brief tempest and delays whipped up by the spin of dark green organizations as it was about to begin.

Claims that the work would be in violation of some mysterious laws, were quickly proven to be false. Those spinning the claims were the same dark greens who in many statements have declared that they are against mitigation of climate changing CO2 that involves the production of carbon offset credits.

As EU president Vaclav Klaus stated earlier this week, environmentalists are less concerned about any crisis posed by global warming than they are eager to command human behavior and restrict economic activity.

The EU president has that right even though his skepticism on the topic of global warming, wrought by the obvious casting of the topic as a political fodder by the dark greens, is ill advised.

He's hardly alone in his choosing to oppose the idea of climate change when faced with such obvious politicization of the important topic. More intelligent and caring leaders prevailed in Germany reversing a nefarious order by German environment minister that threatened to stop the project as the ship arrived in mid January in the Southern Ocean.

Ocean replenishment and restoration as proven possible by this experiment might remove seven times as much CO2 from the air as the Kyoto Protocol calls for. The oceans pastures have been decimated by high CO2 resulting in billions of tonnes of lost plant life in just a few decades.

Replenishing the mineral micro-nutrients, esp. iron, can restore those pastures and turn billions of tonnes of CO2 into ocean life instead of acidifying ocean death.

Here at Planktos Science we are tickled green that the LohaFex ocean replenishment and restoration project has gone so well. The tonnes of iron replenished are now growing what will be millions of tonnes of plankton biomass which in turn will produce hundreds of thousands of tonnes of krill and other zooplankton.

The next step on that food chain are the baby calves of the Southern Ocean Great Whales as the new pasture is within their traditional nursery. The food chain formula tells us to expect tens of thousands of tonnes of whales being nourished from this wonderful gesture led by Chief Scientists Victor Smetacek and Wajih Naqvi, our most heartfelt thanks to you both.

For more information on ocean replenishment and restoration visit www.planktos-science.com

....................................

Both German and Indian scientists were involved in the controversial project. Here is the other side of the story, as other marine scientists, involved in a recent conference in Kochi ‘Marine Ecosystems ‘MECOS-09’ claimed that the ocean fertilisation experiment needed much more discussion. Here is the report from Kochi:

There is need for a national debate on whether India should be involved in such a project, was the reaction of several scientists who participated in the four-day international symposium on which concluded recently in Kochi.

The scientists participating in the marine ecosystem conference said that the experiments which include addition of trace amounts of iron which leads to rapid algal growth leading to phytoplanktons blooms.

'When I spoke about the issue at a conference in Dhaka, the participants almost threw me out. So strong was their reaction,' said E Vivekanandan, senior scientist, Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Kochi. 'The Antarctica ocean is rich with the nutrients nitrate, phosphate and silicon, but phytoplankton growth is limited by the supply of iron which is a crucial ingredient of all organisms.

'Iron is highly insoluble in sea water so it is quickly lost in sinking particles. Addition of trace amounts of iron to these waters, whether from natural sources or by artificial iron fertilisation, result in the rapid algal growth leading to development of phytoplankton blooms,' said S Prasanna Kumar of the National Institute of Oceanography, Goa.

LOHAFEX is a joint project developed by the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), Germany, and the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO).

According to Ashish Fernandes, Oceans Campaign, Greenpeace India, the LOHAFEX experiment is not just a bad idea, it is also illegal and a clear violation of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) moratorium on ocean fertilisation passed last year in May.

That the German and Indian governments, both signatories to the CBD and both supporters of the moratorium are now involved in this illegal experiment defies logic, he said. The joint scientific team conducted the iron fertilisation experiment till March 17 aboard the German research vessel ‘Polarstern’.

The expedition took off from Cape Town on January 7 with a team of 48 scientists, including 29 from the India. The experiment had been put on hold by the German government following protests from environmental groups.

LOHAFEX, (Loha is the Hindi word for iron, Fertilisation EXperiment) is part of the Memorandum of Understanding between the AWI and the NIO signed by the heads of their respective parent organisations, the Helmholtz Association, Germany, and the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research.

................................

Letter from Reader:

Sender: Ben Dickson

Message: I am annoyed at your article. It ignores the proven negatives of oceanic fertilization, which are essentially mass algae blooms. I find it incomprehensible that no one considers that one of the largest marine environmental disasters, the Gulf-of-Mexico dead zone, is caused directly by fertilization coming off the Mississippi river. The result of this experiment en-masse is more oxygen dead zones.

Furthermore, the 'acidic death' comment ticks me off. Ocean acidification from carbon dioxide requires that the basic scientific knowledge buffers to be false. The ocean has just too many salts to drastically alter the pH of the system. Oceanic life evolved in periods where CO2 was at ten times current levels and they were fine. Greenhouse experiments have shown no negative side effects on any oceanic life that they have tested at 1000 ppm. Don't take my word for it. I ask you to find a single actual study (not supposition, an actual observation-based experiment) that shows that high CO2 concentrations will negatively affect ocean life. There may be decent reasons to advocate carbon regulation, but that is not one of them.

..................................
Southern Spars - 100Wildwind 2016 660x82Mackay Boats

Related Articles

Crystal ball-gazing for the Rolex Fastnet Race winner
The outcome of the Royal Ocean Racing Club's biennial flagship event will depend on the weather. The outcome of the Royal Ocean Racing Club's biennial flagship event will depend on the weather: A brisk start should favour the big boats; a light start and lively finish the smaller ones.
Posted today at 11:27 am
America's Cup - Video from the Great Sound - May 23
Latest video coverage Bermuda's Great Sound as the teams in fresher breezes. Latest video coverage Bermuda's Great Sound as the teams sail in fresh breezes with two days to go to the start of racing. However according to Predictwind.com the breeze will be gusting to over 30kts at race time (5.00pm local time) on Friday May 26, and unless the forecast changes, racing is unlikely to take place with a 24kt wind limit in place,
Posted today at 3:45 am
America's Cup - Russell Coutts - 'Never give up'
Sir Russell Coutts, the current CEO of Oracle Team USA, has won the America’s Cup five times and is now CEO of ACEA It wasn’t a given that sailing would be my life. I was studying structural engineering when I entered the Olympics in 1984. It was a good interruption to win a medal [a gold in the Finn class sailing] but it was an interruption all the same, so by the time I graduated the 1987 crash had happened and there wasn’t a lot of work.
Posted today at 3:16 am
America's Cup - Video from the Great Sound - May 22
Latest video coverage Bermuda's Great Sound as the teams in fresher breezes. Latest video coverage Bermuda's Great Sound as the teams sail in fresher breezes. Sail-World's Richard Gladwell arrived in Bermuda on the night of May 23. Tomorrow May 24, is a national holiday - Bermuda Day - oddly enough, we hope to start coverage of the 35th America's Cup tomorrow, with there being 1 day and 19 hours left until the first race - according to Cup Countdown at Immigration
Posted today at 2:13 am
Volvo Ocean Race unveils ultimate leadership programme
Launching in the edition after 2017-18, the Global Team Challenge will form the centerpiece of the on-water part This race will provide the ultimate challenge for amateur sailors, including those with no prior experience, giving employees a unique experience of offshore and ocean racing, under the highest standards of training and management, but nonetheless in conditions close to those faced by the professionals.
Posted on 23 May
NBC Sports Group to present more than 40hrs of coverage of 2017 AC
NBC Sports Group will present more than 40 hours of coverage of the 2017 America’s Cup from Bermuda across NBC NBC Sports Group will present more than 40 hours of coverage of the 2017 America’s Cup from Bermuda across NBC, NBCSN and the NBC Sports app, beginning this Friday, May 26, with coverage of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers on NBCSN.
Posted on 23 May
Volvo Ocean Race to strengthen historic connection with Southern Ocean
The changes include a commitment to race activity in every calendar year and a proposed non-stop lap around Antarctica The race has launched a Host City tender process for three editions after the upcoming 2017-18 race – with a commitment to there being race activity of some kind in each and every calendar year. That marks a clear evolution from the current situation, which features a gap of over two years between races.
Posted on 22 May
America's Cup - Emirates Team New Zealand back on the Great Sound
After being forced off the water for several days, Emirates Team New Zealand's AC50 returned to the Great Sound After being forced off the water for several days, Emirates Team New Zealand's AC50 returned to the Great Sound, today. As well as having her damage from the second day of Practice Session 5 repaired, several new features have been added. Certainly she looked impressive in the lighter winds that prevailed today.
Posted on 22 May
America's Cup - Video from the Great Sound - May 21
Video coverage from Bermuda's Great Sound Video coverage from Day 2 of Practice Session 5 in Bermuda. The racing was marred by a serious collision involving Land Rover BAR and Emirates Team New Zealand - with the Kiwis getting a hole punched in the topside of their boat close to the water line, after they were rammed by the British Challenger.
Posted on 22 May
America's Cup - Final major Practice Session ends in a wimper
Final practice racing period has concluded ahead of the 35th America's Cup - with full practice on only two days Ahead of the start of the 35th America’s Cup, just a week away, (Friday May 26th), the final week of practice racing on the Great Sound had everything. In the final analysis, the six teams only had two full race days out of the five, with light winds restricting sailing. On a third day two teams sailed one race only.
Posted on 20 May