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Just how might it be that the codfish of the North Atlantic are the canaries in the coal mine of rising global CO2?

20.07.2004


Can a dose of Geritol (iron) really save them?

One might not think that our North Atlantic cod are taking their marching orders from the ghost of Genghis Khan but indeed they may well be. It is all about the story of dust in the wind. Here at the Planktos Foundation we have been working on this story of on how the oceans are being degraded by rising CO2. The key is the link between the oceans and land and the dependency the oceans have on dust born iron and other micro-nutrients. It seems the grass is a bit greener in Mongolia and way less greener in the oceans as a result.

In short there is very strong evidence showing that the most responsive terrestrial plant ecosystems are enormously benefited by the present high CO2 levels. This has begun a powerful feedback loop. The dry land short grass ecosystems are an especially important part of the central Asia steppes including much of Mongolia. That short grass has evolved to be able to survive in a very droughty environment where a tiny bit of extra water makes for bumper crops of grass. Aside from rain the major limiting factor for such steppe grass is water lost by evapo-transpiration when the grasses open their stomata (lungs)to exchange gases with the atmosphere seeking the CO2 they need to grow. They have always paid for CO2 by giving up water to the drying effects of the air.



They now benefit enormously by the 40% higher CO2 in the air in terms of water conservation. Thus these steppe grasses are growing just a bit bushier for just a bit longer each spring and this is resulting in a huge benefit to soil conservation and the reduction of dust. Add to this the very large and effective efforts of the governments there to introduce our western remedy for farming in dry lands, winter and spring wheat. This was the cure our Soil conservation Services introduced to stop the Okalahoma dust bowl. We now see from very good data that the number of events of severe dust storms in Mongolia has dramatically declined to only 26% of what it was in the 1950’s and 60’s. That Mongolian dust has historically made up 50% of global dust so this decline is a big time change and the effects are showing.

George Russ | Planktos Foundation
Further information:
http://www.planktos.com

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