EcoAlert –Has Iron Dust in Antarctica Stopped Past Global Warming?


Could adding dust to the waters around Antarctica supercharge plankton growth, causing global temperature drops?

New research by Alfredo Martinez-Garcia of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, analyzing marine cores taken from the southern Atlantic Ocean reveals that going back four million years dust levels are twice as high during periods of deep glaciation –strong evidence that iron dust can have a major cooling effect on the planet's climate.

During periods when the Earth will slightly wobble on its axis – known as the Milankovitch cycle – the Earth begins to cool, the continents become more arid, and this in turn kicks up huge dust storms that, ultimately, end up in the Southern Ocean. These dust storms carry huge amounts of iron to the polar region, enough to jump-start the creation of massive amounts of plankton that process carbon dioxide, which is also crucial to keeping the planet cool over time. These iron deposit engines are enough to power theIce Ages.

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