Taiwan Research Group Challenges Global Warming Solution

Taiwan Research Group Challenges Global Warming Solution
Photo Credit: Reuters/達志影像

Translated and compiled by Shin-wei Chang and Olivia Yang

“Iron fertilization” is widely recognized as a possible applicable solution to global warming. However, a research team led by Haojia Abby Ren, associate professor of Geosciences at National Taiwan University (NTU), has proved that “iron fertilization” is not beneficial to algae.

To alleviate the impact of global warming, scientists have proposed a hypothesis of “iron fertilization,” assuming that adding iron into the ocean can boost the growth of algae to absorb the carbon dioxide in the air.

However, researchers in Taiwan have found flaws in this hypothesis.

Working with Columbia University, a NTU research group led by Haojia Abby Ren, associate professor of Geosciences at National Taiwan University (NTU), has poured iron into 12 waters around the globe to perform experiments on the “iron fertilization” hypothesis. It turned out algae only thrives in one-third of the areas tested.

The growth of algae requires nutrients other than iron, such as nitrate and phosphate. With the growing amount of algae, consumption of these nutrients also increases in the area. But when currents carry the algae to other waters, the nutrients become relatively scare elements, making algae hard to grow.

This results in iron fertilization not being able to increase the growth of algae worldwide; on the contrary, it would suppress the growth of algae in the equatorial zone. In addition, there is a limited reduction of carbon dioxide, and there would be a lack of oxygen in the ocean.

When asked how to alleviate global warming, Ren says the best solution is to reduce the elimination of carbon dioxide. She also thinks it is important to find a way to store carbon dioxide so that researchers have more time to develop alternative resources.

Edited by Olivia Yang

Sources:
“No iron fertilization in the Equatorial Pacific Ocean during the last ice age” (Nature)
China Times
CNA
Apple Daily
The News Lens
Awakening News Network
National Taiwan University


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