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Geoengineering Our Oceans

Updated on November 13, 2017
Rayan Milkton profile image

Rayan Milkton, is an Architect(Software), whose hobbies include creative writing.

One way we know that climate change is affecting our oceans, is through melting ice — an overt way. Another, is by increased acidity or decreased oxygen intake or by disappearance of plankton. These changes will in turn badly effect the balance of gases in our atmosphere. One way of stemming this rot, is by geoengineering our oceans, not the best, but a viable solution. For example, by simply churning them on a smaller scale, by bringing cooler waters from the deep.

Increased acidity in oceans is caused by disappearance of megafauna — large fish and whales — and this indirectly kills some species of phytoplankton. Planktons, naturally can’t swim, so some of them survive by hitching a ride on ocean currents, to better areas — which are cooler and less acidic — while the others would simply adapt. A larger species of phytoplankton, useful in sequestering carbon, which feed on excess nitrogen and phosphorous, derive their food from excreta of whales and fishes. Phytoplankton takes in carbon dioxide and release oxygen. They act like lungs, in another way. In fact, they are responsible for half the content of oxygen present in our atmosphere, the other portion of oxygen is through our trees. Phytoplankton prefer colder waters, they dislike warm and acidic waters. Whales and other sea mammals bring colder waters from the deep to the surface, through their activities. Hence the absence of predatory species, will indirectly result in disappearance of phytoplankton, which would in turn affect our food chain.

One possible remedy is by seeding the ocean with some chemicals, like ferrous sulfate, which could help phytoplankton to boom and die-off. But this could cause chemical imbalances — unwanted chemical deposits on the ocean floor — in the ocean in the long run, thereby affecting other species in the ocean. Whereas the other remedy, a more natural one, would be by geoengineering part of our oceans.

Some researchers would recoil at such an idea, even calling it as tinkering with our ecosystem, but it would be a necessary evil.

Geoengineering mimics by pumping water from the deep to the surface — cooler water and nutrients — helping phytoplankton survive, thus balancing our ecosystem, in a more natural way.

© 2017 Rayan Milkton


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