The benefits and side effects of dissolving particles in our ocean’s surfaces to increase the marine uptake of carbon dioxide (CO2), and therefore reduce the excess amount of it in the atmosphere, have been analysed in a new study. (Credit: © honzakrej / Fotolia)

‘Rock Dissolving’ Method of Geoengineering to Mitigate Climate Change Would Not Be Easy

Jan. 18, 2013 — The benefits and side effects of dissolving particles in our ocean’s surfaces to increase the marine uptake of carbon dioxide (CO2), and therefore reduce the excess amount of it in the atmosphere, have been analysed in a new study.

The study, published Jan. 22 in IOP Publishing’s journal Environmental Research Letters, assesses the impact of dissolving the naturally occurring mineral olivine and calculates how effective this approach would be in reducing atmospheric CO2.

The researchers, from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, Germany, calculate that if three gigatonnes of olivine were deposited into the oceans each year, it could compensate for only around nine per cent of present day anthropogenic CO2 emissions.

This long discussed ‘quick fix’ method of geoengineering is not without environmental drawbacks; the particles would have to be ground down to very small sizes (around one micrometre) in order to be effective. The grinding process would consume energy and therefore emit varying amounts of CO2, depending on the sort of power plants used to provide the energy.

Read more: 'Rock dissolving' method of geoengineering to mitigate climate change would not be easy — Science Daily.

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