Sunday, June 4, 2017

How to double the biological productivity of the ocean!

I am continuously disappointed to see that nobody is discussing one of the biggest potential solutions to the future world food crisis. The action I propose is to increase the biological productivity of the ocean. As I see it we ought to be able to double the amount of phytoplankton - single celled algae and the like - currently growing in the ocean by means of artificial upwellings of ocean bottom water.

The point of this is that in the ocean *shit sinks*. This simple fact is what limits the amount of life in the ocean because the average depth of the ocean beyond the edge of the continental shelf is about 4km. Sunlight is absorbed by sea water at the rate of about 90% per 75 metres of depth. Ie only 1% gets to 150m down, 0.1% gets to 225m, 0.01% gets to 300m, and so on. So at the bottom it is pitch black but that is where all the plant food goes to. Without hurricanes and tropical cyclones to stir up the waters now and again or cold currents bumping into the edge of a continental shelf or the odd island chain, the oceans would be pretty much devoid of living things.

What we humans need to do is create artificial upwellings through the generation of centrifugal surface currents - in effect, upside down vortices. This can be achieved using very simple technology in the form of wind driven pontoons linked end to end in great circles. Each such floating circle would need to be at least 4km across, to be on a par with the ocean depth and so 13km or more in circumference. By using wind and wave energy these pontoon rings can be made to circulate continuously and thus drag surface water around with them; centrifugal inertia of this moving surface water will take it outwards and water from below will come up to replace it inside the ring.

This process will lead to cold, nutrient rich, bottom water rising to the surface and mixing with warmer water at the surface, and being heated by daytime sunlight. Vastly more phytoplankton will be able to grow near the surface which will both sequester far more carbon dioxide than currently *and* provide food for far more animal life than currently.
In other words this is how we can sequester carbon dioxide, combat ocean acidification, and sustainably support more than enough fish to supply protein for the extra billions of people *and* regrow ocean ecosystems.

IMO this is a no-brainer!

[copied from my post to Facebook group
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