Sprinkling Mineral Dust in Oceans to Store Vast Amounts of CO2 Might Also Help to Save Coral Reefs

“Geoengineering Impact of Open Ocean Dissolution of Olivine on Atmospheric CO2, Surface Ocean pH and Marine Biology”in Environmental Research Letters (Jan. 2013, v8 n1 014009; doi:10.1088/1748-9326/8/1/014009) / by Peter Köhler, Jesse F Abrams1, Christoph Völker, Judith Hauck and Dieter A Wolf-Gladrow

[Business Green]  Sprinkling billions of tonnes of mineral dust across the oceans could quickly remove a vast quantities of climate-warming carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, according to a new study.

The proposed “geoengineering” technique would also offset the acidification of the oceans and could be targeted at endangered coral reefs, but it would require a mining effort on the same scale as the world’s coal industry and would alter the biology of the oceans…

Dissolving mineral dust in the ocean makes sea water more alkaline and able to absorb more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The mineral olivine is attractive because it would dissolve within a year or two – delivering near-instant carbon reductions – and is present below the Earth’s surface around the world. Köhler’s research, published in Environmental Research Letters, found that sprinkling three billion tonnes of olivine would remove almost 10 per cent of man-made carbon emissions from the atmosphere…


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