OCS methodology

Plankton Carbon Sequestration Today


Amphipod (photo by Uwe Kils)
Plankton naturally sequester over 2 billion metric tons of CO2 every year to the deep ocean (DOE Center for Research on Ocean Carbon  Sequestration (DOCS)).

Phytoplankton today are nutrient-limited in large regions of the oceans.

Restoring Phytoplankton Levels

NASA has estimated that some oceanic regions have seen a drop in phytoplankton of 20-30% since 1980 (Behrenfeld et al, Nature, Dec 2006). This drop appears to be highly correlated to global warming of surface waters, which have the potential to stratify the ocean further and reduce the upwelling of nutrients to phytoplankton.

Overcoming this nutrient deficit can restore productivity and improve phytoplankton carbon recycling, enabling phytoplankton to contribute to atmospheric carbon dioxide reduction.

Following Nature’s Example

Behrenfeld, et al, 2006 have determined that the stably stratified ocean has experienced reduced overturning and primary productivity that is 10-30% lower than in the previous decade. 

Using wave-driven ocean pumps it is possible to help restore natural upwelling to levels corresponding to the previous decade and restore phytoplankton productivity to the stably stratified ocean. 

Mt. Pinatubo Example



In June 1991, Mt. Pinatubo erupted in the Phillipines, emitting 40,000 tons of mineral dust into the stratosphere. (Watson 1997)
  • The dust settled onto the world oceans over a period of two years, providing micro-nutrients to the world oceans in the process.
  • CO2 reduction put a noticeable dent in the global atmospheric CO2 curve that was measurable and quantifiable (Duggen, Croot, Schacht, Hoffman 2007)




Mt. Pinatubo Erruption, 1991. USGS

Carbon Dioxide Curve     O
   


Conclusion

By replicating the conditions of natural ocean upwelling, free-range aquaculture of phytoplankton in the mid-gyres of the ocean enables us to:

  • Preserve the plankton population
  • Recycle carbon to the mid-ocean 
  • Indirectly lower the temperature of the oceans
  • Preserve the coral reefs
  • Preserve the arctic environment
  • Minimize the rise in sea level