Low efficiency of nutrient translocation for enhancing oceanic uptake of carbon dioxide
Article first published online: 21 AUG 2009
Copyright 2009 by the American Geophysical Union.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans (1978–2012)
Volume 114, Issue C8, August 2009
How to Cite
2009), Low efficiency of nutrient translocation for enhancing oceanic uptake of carbon dioxide, J. Geophys. Res., 114, C08009, doi:10.1029/2008JC004792., , , and (
- Issue published online: 21 AUG 2009
- Article first published online: 21 AUG 2009
- Manuscript Accepted: 28 MAY 2009
- Manuscript Revised: 8 APR 2009
- Manuscript Received: 29 FEB 2008
- ocean pipes;
- export production;
- biological pump
 Anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are steadily increasing the concentration of this greenhouse gas in the Earth's atmosphere. The possible long-term consequences of this elevated concentration have led to proposals for a number of large-scale geoengineering schemes that aim to enhance or augment natural sinks for CO2. One such scheme proposes deploying a large number of floating “pipes” in the ocean that act to translocate nutrient-rich seawater from below the mixed layer to the ocean's surface: the nutrient supplied should enhance the growth of phytoplankton and consequently the export of organic carbon to the deep ocean via the biological pump. Here we examine the practical consequences of this scheme in a global ocean general circulation model that includes a nitrogen-based ecosystem and the biogeochemical cycle of carbon. While primary production is generally enhanced by the modeled pipes, as expected, the effect on the uptake of CO2 from the atmosphere is much smaller, may be negative, and shows considerable spatiotemporal variability.