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Phytoplankton flourishes as Kasatochi’s ash fertilizes the ocean 8 October 2010

Posted by admin in Alaska, current research, Kasatochi.
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The eruption of Alaska’s Kasatochi volcano in August 2008 has led to a surge in the population of phytoplankton in the North Pacific, says a paper in Geophysical Research Letters authored by a horde of scientists from institutions in Canada, the USA and the UK, led by oceanographer Roberta C. Hamme of the University of Victoria, British Columbia. An unusual storm system meant that the ash deposited by the volcano was transported across a very wide area of the north-eastern Pacific, and the iron content encouraged the growth of phytoplankton (for which iron is a key nutrient), producing one of the largest plankton blooms ever recorded in this region. Scientists have recently suggested that volcanic ash fertilization of the ocean in this way can occur, but, as Professor Hamme notes in the very useful summary of the Kasatochi paper she has made available as a PDF on her website (wish more scientists would do that), this is the first time conclusive evidence has been obtained to support the hypothesis.

Because phytoplankton (which are the basis of oceanic and freshwater food chains) consume carbon dioxide and release oxygen, seeding the oceans with iron to encourage their growth has sometimes been suggested as a means of diminishing atmospheric CO2. However, the evidence of the naturally-occurring Kasatochi seeding episode is that the process is not very efficient and that it would take a lot of iron to make even a small difference.

  • Roberta C. Hamme et al. ‘Volcanic ash fuels anomalous plankton bloom in subarctic northeast Pacific’, Geophysical Research Letters, 37 (2010), doi:10.1029/2010GL044629. [abstract]

How volcanoes feed plankton – ScienceNow, 5 October 2010
Effects of volcanic eruption dash promising global warming theoryGlobe and Mail, 5 October 2010
Volcano ‘seeded’ ocean bloom – UPI.com, 6 October 2010

The Volcanism Blog


1. R. de Haan - 9 October 2010

Obviously it has become impossible to write any scientific report without referring to the CO2 Hoax.

2. Simon - 9 October 2010

Have you read the paper, Ron? I’d like to hear the reasoned and well-evidenced critique that doubtless lies behind your comment.

3. Eddie Mertin - 14 October 2010


Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide and Aerosols: Effects of Large Increases on Global Climate

S. I. Rasool 1 and S. H. Schneider 1 1

Institute for Space Studies, Goddard Space Flight Center, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, New York 10025
Effects on the global temperature of large increases in carbon dioxide and aerosol densities in the atmosphere of Earth have been computed. It is found that, although the addition of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere does increase the surface temperature, the rate of temperature increase diminishes with increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. For aerosols, however, the net effect of increase in density is to reduce the surface temperature of Earth. Because of the exponential dependence of the backscattering, the rate of temperature decrease is augmented with increasing aerosol content. An increase by only a factor of 4 in global aerosol background concentration may be sufficient to reduce the surface temperature by as much as 3.5 ° K. If sustained over a period of several years, such a temperature decrease over the whole globe is believed to be sufficient to trigger an ice age.

“Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsiblity to bring that about?”- Maurice Strong, founder of the UN Environment Programme

More at…


“My three main goals would be to reduce human population to about 100 million worldwide, destroy the industrial infrastructure and see wilderness, with it’s full complement of species, returning throughout the world.”-Dave Foreman, co-founder of Earth First!

“We must make this an insecure and inhospitable place for capitalists and their projects. We must reclaim the roads and plowed land, halt dam construction, tear down existing dams, free shackled rivers and return to wilderness millions of acres of presently settled land.”- David Foreman, co-founder of Earth First!

The people working to bring on the industrialized civilizations collapse have struck another, even harder blow. They won’t stop their goal of returning most of the planet to wilderness.

“Climate change is real. Not only is it real, it’s here, and its effects are giving rise to a frighteningly new global phenomenon: the man-made natural disaster.”- Barak Obama, US Presidential Candidate

“Global Sustainability requires the deliberate quest of poverty, reduced resource consumption and set levels of mortality control.”- Professor Maurice King

“A total population of 250-300 million people, a 95% decline from present levels, would be ideal.”- Ted Turner, founder of CNN and major UN donor

“If we don’t change, our species will not survive… Frankly, we may get to the point where the only way of saving the world will be for industrial civilization to collapse.”- Maurice Strong quoted in the September 1, 1997 edition of National Review magazine.

“[The Earth Summit will play an important role in] reforming and strengthening the United Nations as the centerpiece of the emerging system of democratic global governance.”- Maurice Strong quoted in the September 1, 1997 edition of National Review magazine.

“[I am] a socialist in ideology, a capitalist in methodology.”- Maurice Strong as quoted in Macleans.

“[The Great Depression left me] frankly very radical.”- Maurice Strong quoted in the September 1, 1997 edition of National Review magazine.

“Unless we announce disasters no one will listen.”- Sir John Houghton, first chairman of IPCC and the person responsible for establishing the future emphasis of the IPCC reporting.

Smells like a hoax to me. I’ve learned a lot more at http://wattsupwiththat.com/ you oughta try it.

4. Simon - 14 October 2010

I’m not surprised to hear you are a WUWT fan. It shows. There’s no point debating cut-and-paste, cherry-pick quote merchants like you. When you have substantial arguments based on an understanding of the science you might be worth listening to.

5. Michael Finn - 14 October 2010

The Rasool & Schneider paper comes from 1971, things have moved on since then. Do some proper research Eddie, perhaps looking at *all* the relevant work instead of just the bits that suit you. That’s what real scientists do.

6. Que Me - 21 October 2010

Maybe this will help solve the greenhouse effect? Maybe…

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