Does Iron Fertilization Lead to Enhanced Carbon Sequestration? A Synthesis of Polar Star Results.

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This research synthesized activities related to work conducted as part of the Southern Ocean Iron Experiment (SOFeX) which investigated the effects of iron fertilization on enhanced carbon sequestration. The primary interest was in the fate of sinking particles which carry carbon to the deep ocean, where it can be sequestered from the atmosphere for >100-1000 year time scales. This was accomplished through direct measurements of thorium-234, a naturally occurring particle reactive radionuclide that traces shallow particle export; SF6 measurements to track the position of the Fe fertilized region; and the collection of ancillary data and samples to augment the study ... continued below

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Buesseler, K.O. December 1, 2002.

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This research synthesized activities related to work conducted as part of the Southern Ocean Iron Experiment (SOFeX) which investigated the effects of iron fertilization on enhanced carbon sequestration. The primary interest was in the fate of sinking particles which carry carbon to the deep ocean, where it can be sequestered from the atmosphere for >100-1000 year time scales. This was accomplished through direct measurements of thorium-234, a naturally occurring particle reactive radionuclide that traces shallow particle export; SF6 measurements to track the position of the Fe fertilized region; and the collection of ancillary data and samples to augment the study of major C, nutrient and elemental budgets as well as appropriate samples for biological study. Results of this work show a small, but progressively increasing flux of particulate organic C to depth as a consequence of Fe fertilization. This is the first data set to show any effect of Fe fertilization on C sequestration in the Southern Ocean. The changes in particle export during SOFeX are significant, but only possible to detect given what is arguably the largest 234Th data set ever collected as part of an oceanographic experiment. Most prior 234Th studies, simply use a steady-state approximation and ignore advective and diffusive fluxes in the calculation of 234Th fluxes. High resolution time-series of average 0-50m 234Th activities in and out of the Southern patch find a clear steady decrease in 234Th flux that is slightly larger in vs. out of the Fe fertilized patch. This decrease must be included in the full 234Th flux calculation and the deliberate tagging of this water mass with SF6 combined with time-series sampling allowed for a careful evaluation of this non-steady state (NSS) term. Likewise, the addition of SF6 allows for the evaluation of vertical exchange (via the gradient of SF6 below the patch) and dilution effects (after correction for atmospheric losses). In most set tings these physical terms are small, but must be considered before the data can be finalized. The SF6 results considered in context of the 234Th mass balance has improved the current NSS model by the addition of physical transport.

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OSTI as DE00834386

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  • Other Information: PBD: 1 Dec 2002

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  • Report No.: DOE/ER/63528-1
  • Grant Number: FG02-03ER63528
  • DOI: 10.2172/834386 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 834386
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc780501

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  • December 1, 2002

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  • Dec. 3, 2015, 9:30 a.m.

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  • June 10, 2016, 5:56 p.m.

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Buesseler, K.O. Does Iron Fertilization Lead to Enhanced Carbon Sequestration? A Synthesis of Polar Star Results., report, December 1, 2002; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc780501/: accessed November 17, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.