Now Neil has also directed additional passion and inspiration to problems of planetary proportions and extended generous support to the Planktos Foundation, a U.S. based non-profit working to save the world's ocean and climate from the effects of global warming.
This June Neil loaned his 100 yr old wooden schooner Ragland and crew to the Planktos Foundation. The Ragland set sail to conduct the first of what Planktos plans to be many ocean science research voyages. On the passage from Half Moon Bay to the Big Island of Hawaii, Planktos scientists began a series of innovative ocean/climate experiments by adding natural iron mineral dust to a small forest sized patch of ocean.
The Ragland, which inspired Young's fascination with "rust", in turn has now delivered her cargo of "rust" (the natural iron mineral dust) to help save the planet. Natural iron mineral dust used in this experiment supplements a scarce iron nutrient in the ocean. When added to the ocean in minute quantities iron is known to stimulate growth of ocean plants, phyto-plankton.
The results of this first Planktos research voyage aboard the Ragland will help us develop techniques and understanding needed to begin growing plankton forests at sea. Oceans cover over 70% of this blue planet and offer more space than we have on land where we can help plants grow and remove some of the CO2 we exhaust into the atmosphere. This experimental work is designed to mimic the natural influence and process of iron nutrients in the open ocean. The natural source of such nutrients in the North Pacific comes primarily via iron bearing dust that blows over the Pacific originating from dust storms in the Gobi Desert in China and Mongolia.
The expected results of this experiment will be to stimulate growth of a plankton bloom, an ocean forest, that over the course of a few months will remove tens of thousands of tons of CO2 as a portion of that plankton bloom sinks like falling leaves into the deep ocean. The rest of the plankton bloom will be hungrily consumed by fish and other sea life.
"Growing more plankton forests at sea is not going to be the total solution to global warming," says Planktos Foundation founder Russ George, who has been studying the concept for several years. "But it could be one very important tool to help rebalance the environment, in both the ocean and the atmosphere."Planktos Press Releases and links to media stories can be found on the Planktos Foundation's website.
Russ George, Director and Founder
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