AccessMyLibrary provides FREE access to millions of articles from top publications available through your library.
BERKELEY, CA -- Three robotic Carbon Explorer floats, launched by scientists from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory during the Southern Ocean Iron Experiment (SOFeX) in January and February of 2002, successfully tracked a patch of iron-fertilized plankton for many weeks through the storm-tossed waters between 50 and 60 degrees south latitude, gathering new evidence for the so-called "iron hypothesis." Research results are reported in the 16 April 2004 issue of the journal Science.
The iron hypothesis holds that by adding small amounts of iron, an essential micronutrient, to ocean waters rich in other nutrients, aquatic plants can be made to bloom vigorously, thus removing enough carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to offset the greenhouse effect.
"This was the first experiment to test the iron hypothesis by comparing observations of iron-amended waters with control observations--on the fast, hourly-to-daily time scales of marine biological processes," says oceanographer Jim Bishop of Berkeley Lab's Earth Sciences Division, who directed the Carbon Explorer studies, "and it was the first to follow such an experiment for months."
A pair of robotic Carbon Explorers recorded and regularly reported, via satellite, more than a four-fold growth …