Thursday, 30 June 2011

Ocean dumping that fights climate change

Really interesting article in the latest Green World magazine called Save the whale, Save Ourselves? by Dr Luke Rendell from the University of St Andrews. It turns out that saving whales would not only protect magnificent species themselves - it would also help protect the human from climate change. Nice example of joined up, systems, thinking. Oceans absorb an awful lot of climate changing carbon emissions. However, the amount absorbed depends in part on the amount of iron present in sea water. Experiments where iron has been dumped into the ocean have shown increased, temporary plant growth and thus increased carbon uptake - but such artificial dumping could itself be highly damaging and unsustainable. If only there was a good source of iron, naturally available in-situ - there is and its called whale poo! Whales eat eg krill, or squid...concentrate and naturally make available iron to plants in the sea in their poo (eg Humpback Whale poo pictured). So, protect whales, whale numbers increase, whale poo increases, ocean plant growth is improved, more carbon is taken up and this helps fight climate change, which helps us through...natural carbon capture and storage. We should protect whales whatever mind you.

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