Journal Nature Publishes Definitive Proof Of John Martin’s Iron Hypothesis
Almost 30 years ago the late great ocean scientist John Martin showed how ocean plants had repeatedly exercised the power, over eons of time, taking up CO2 from the air and plunging their Blue Planet into a series of Ice Ages.
Martin’s lifelong collection of data was immediately pounced upon by attention seeking armchair theorists who eschewed his hard won data and claimed their fantasy mathematical models were the real truth. Many of these critics were/are utterly unscrupulous in competing for imagined research grant money.
It had taken John Martin a lifetime of dedicated study to unravel the Gordian Knot of how ocean pasture plant ecology was inter-twined with vital mineral micronutrients – especially iron that fell upon ocean pastures as dust blowing in the wind. That dust turned phyto-plankton on and off like a switch which drew CO2, the key greenhouse blanket gas, out of the atmosphere dynamically controlling the climate of planet earth.
New research, published today in the leading journal Nature, shows that the key to confirming Martin’s Iron Hypothesis does in fact lie at the bottom of the world just as John had reported 30 years ago. Sediment samples from the seafloor, more than 3 kilometers beneath the ocean surface near Antarctica, support his long-standing hypothesis that more carbon dioxide was dissolved in the deep Southern Ocean at times when levels in the atmosphere were low.
The study produced a detailed and definitive accounting of how ocean plankton and iron rich dust in the wind control CO2, and oxygen going back some 80,000 years! This new paper fleshed out and calibrates in greater detail the ocean paleo-ecology work of the authors which covers a much longer time series of several million years!
To read more about how Martin’s brilliant 1980’s strategy for saving the world by restoring dust, that been dramatically reduced in our present fossil fuel age, can be enlisted to revive oceans to manage the Lion’s Share human CO2 you’ve arrived at the right blog to do your reading. You might start reading how I have followed John’s charted course and proven in the world’s largest ocean pasture scientific study that It Just Works!
The recent study shows that during the most recent ice age, the very deep Southern Ocean near the bottom away from the photosynthetic zone at the surface carried much smaller amounts of oxygen than today.
This proves that photosynthetic algae, or phytoplankton, were taking up large amounts of carbon dioxide near the surface and thus oxygenating the upper layers of the oceans where the vast majority of life thrived.
As dead algae sank to the bottom they were consumed and decayed, as all dead things are when buried. Their decay used up the oxygen near the bottom of the sea in the process. The scientists found chemical fingerprints of the oxygen level by measuring trace metals in the sediments.
“The evidence is a long-sought smoking gun that there was increased deep ocean carbon storage when the atmospheric CO2 was lower,” said Sam Jaccard of the University of Bern, Switzerland, the study’s lead author.
Coauthor Robert Anderson, of Columbia University, added
“The study finally provides the long-sought direct evidence that extra carbon was trapped in the deep sea by the buildup of decaying organic matter from above. … “It’s also clear that the buildup and release of CO2 stored in the deep ocean during the ice age was driven by what was happening in the ocean around Antarctica.”
This research report follows on the heels of another report published in the past few weeks. In that report also about the ocean around Antarctica Icebergs are shown to be sources of wind blown dust, they accumulate that dust over millenia and when they break free of the frozen continent their long accumulated cargo of vital mineral/iron rich dust turns the Southern Ocean green.
This outstanding new research report would have brought a smile to John Martin’s face and perhaps a professorial wag of his finger saying ‘I told you so.’ The variations in carbon-dioxide storage in the Southern Ocean, the report concedes, were probably behind a series of natural “wobbles” in atmospheric levels of about 20 parts per million that took place over thousands of years. This infers that the “wobbles” were almost certainly caused by changes in the amount of iron-rich dust, which nourishes and sustains phytoplankton in ocean pastures, that vital dust was being blown from land onto the ocean surface.
The BS about that notion that iron in the ocean is “fertilizer”
It’s that word “fertilize” that has been used, spun, to create so much misinformation about the John Martin’s Iron Hypothesis, his “Geritol Solution.” Fertilizer for most people infers a dramatic chemical intervention with nature. But when Nature herself “fertilizes” her oceans with dust the amount of iron rich dust needed is an infinitesimal fraction, of what we humans usually apply as “fertilizers.”
Natures oceans get all the benefit they can use from a dose of iron rich dust that is 1/millionth the amount you would nonchalantly add to your lawn! So while dusting the oceans might be called “fertilizing” the half a ship-load of iron that John Martin spoke of in that cartoon above would need to be 1 million shiploads if it were real fertilizer! Take note that there are not even one million ships on this entire planet, hence ‘iron fertilization’ is in fact impossible.
The study offers powerful lessons for today about the power of ocean pastures, today in a desperate state of decline and the potential in their restoration and revival. While the natural 20-part-per million wobbles took thousands of years to happen, carbon dioxide levels have risen that much in just the last nine years, due to human emissions. Levels are now about 400 parts per million, versus about 280 in the early 1800s. “The current rate of emissions is just so fast compared to the natural variations that it’s hard to compare,” said study coauthor Eric Galbraith of the University of Barcelona. “We are entering climate territory for which we don’t have a good geological analog.”
Here’s further proof of the power of dust to revive our oceans and save them and us and what is about to be done!
Here’s a reward for making it to the last of this post.
Critics of John Martin are likely today choking more than ever on his dust!