"I wish to strongly emphasise that our experiment was developed on the basis of purely scientific issues in order to better understand the role of iron in the global climate system. A large number of reports are circulating on the Internet and in the international press claiming that the Alfred Wegener Institute is conducting the experiment to test the geo-engineering option of ocean fertilisation as a means to sequester large quantities of carbon oxide from the atmosphere. This is definitely not the case," Lochte defends herself against these insinuations. "We are upset that such a controversial discussion was ignited on the basis of wrong, internationally propagated information. We hope that through this experiment we will be able to contribute to a better understanding of ocean biogeochemistry and pelagic ecosystem functioning."
After several days of pre-examinations, the team of scientists on board Polarstern has in the meantime found a closed eddy that is suitable for the experiment. It is located at Lat. 48S and Long. 15 30′W. First, a drift buoy with a position tracking device will be deployed near the centre of this eddy. From this point, Polarstern will then spread dissolved ferrous sulfate along a spiral trajectory in the upper 15 metres of the water layer. The fertilisation will take approximately 30 hours. Immediately after the termination of the iron input, numerous biological, chemical and physical parameters will be continuously measured inside and outside the fertilised area, and ecological changes in all layers of the water column from the surface to the seafloor in 3,800 metres depth will be monitored for 40 days. The plankton community biomass is expected to increase substantially about two weeks following fertilisation, and the fate of the organic matter produced will b
|Contact: Margarete Pauls|
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres