Ocean fertilization for geoengineering:A review of effectiveness, environmental impacts and emerging governance

Williamson, Phillip ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4149-5110, Wallace, Douglas W.R., Law, Cliff S., Boyd, Philip W., Collos, Yves, Croot, Peter, Denman, Ken, Riebesell, Ulf, Takeda, Shigenobu and Vivian, Chris (2012) Ocean fertilization for geoengineering:A review of effectiveness, environmental impacts and emerging governance. Process Safety and Environmental Protection, 90 (6). pp. 475-488. ISSN 0957-5820

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Dangerous climate change is best avoided by drastically and rapidly reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Nevertheless, geoengineering options are receiving attention on the basis that additional approaches may also be necessary. Here we review the state of knowledge on large-scale ocean fertilization by adding iron or other nutrients, either from external sources or via enhanced ocean mixing. On the basis of small-scale field experiments carried out to date and associated modelling, the maximum benefits of ocean fertilization as a negative emissions technique are likely to be modest in relation to anthropogenic climate forcing. Furthermore, it would be extremely challenging to quantify with acceptable accuracy the carbon removed from circulation on a long term basis, and to adequately monitor unintended impacts over large space and time-scales. These and other technical issues are particularly problematic for the region with greatest theoretical potential for the application of ocean fertilization, the Southern Ocean. Arrangements for the international governance of further field-based research on ocean fertilization are currently being developed, primarily under the London Convention/London Protocol.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding Information: We are grateful for the guidance and advice provided by the Surface Ocean Lower Atmosphere Study (SOLAS) research community, and by secretariat staff of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC) and the London Convention/London Protocol (LC/LP) in the preparation of this synthesis. We also thank Phoebe Lam for her significant input to early discussions, and reviewers for their constructive comments. PW's contribution to this study was supported by the UK Natural Environment Research Council.
Uncontrolled Keywords: geoengineering,governance,iron,negative emission technologies,ocean fertilization,southern ocean,environmental engineering,environmental chemistry,chemical engineering(all),safety, risk, reliability and quality,sdg 13 - climate action ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/2300/2305
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
University of East Anglia Research Groups/Centres > Theme - ClimateUEA
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 06 Mar 2023 10:30
Last Modified: 20 Mar 2023 12:46
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/91374
DOI: 10.1016/j.psep.2012.10.007

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