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Dead Zone Remediation

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I have been reading about the oceanic dead zones which appear due to fertilizer runoff, algal blooms, and consequent dieoff and oxygen consuming decomposition. See link. I have devised several solutions to the dead zone problem, which I propose as a package solution.

1: Dead zones occur because fertilizers concentrate at the river mouth. This could be ameliorated by building large concrete walls at the river mouth and channeling the flow into a spout, jetting the water farther out to sea in areas which are better mixed and less amenable to algae. This might also flood cites at the river mouth, such as New Orleans.

2. Dont let the algae die. The problem is that the algae dies and rots. If the bloom could be sustained, perhaps the oxygen generating capacity of the live algae would balance that consumed by the rotting algae. Thus more fertilizer could be added to the river during runoff-poor months.

3. Oxygen-breathing filter feeders. Whales dont care if the water is dead. Humpbacks and other big filter feeders have feeding patters established millenia ago. They may not realize that our activity has laid out a smorgasbord for them in these zones. I propose whales be relocated into the zones at the height of the algal blooms. Once they realize how fat they can get, they will return year after year to graze away the bloom.

bungston, Jun 21 2004

Dead Zones http://www.sciencen...s/20040605/bob9.asp
[bungston, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 06 2004]

Iron fertilization http://www.scienced...10/001016073756.htm
[bungston, Jul 27 2005]


       This is a hard one to comment on, not being at all marine biologically aware. The link suggests that there are 'dead zones' of ten of thousands sq km in size, which would suggest step 1 might require some very powerful jets...   

       Introducing additional fertilizer for step 2... doesn't sound good to me, with limited understanding of the effect the stuff has.   

       The whale bit sounds viable, but I wonder if whales would enjoy fertilizer in their algae areas.   

       I'm neutral on this, only because I don't really grasp what the effects of each step would be.   

       (btw, rectifying the flaws in Stephen King's 'Dead Zone' novel might be easier)
Lacus Trasumenus, Jun 21 2004

       Nor sure about (2), but (1) and (3) may work from a technical or scientific point of view. (1) requires longer pipeline and special mixers which is an economic hurdle. (3) could fail because whales are carnivores (krill) and won't feed on algae.   

       Could BUNCO develop a kit using something vegetarian? Your sea monkeys need vitamine C from freash sea cabbage! Don't let your monkeys suffer from scurvy!
kbecker, Jun 22 2004

       Would the area be deep enough for whales? You said that the fertilizers were concentrating at river mouths, surely that means the areas are still quite close to shore and shallow?
harderthanjesus, Jun 22 2004

       It occurs to me that all this fertilizer dumped into the ocean might actually help ameliorate greenhouse gases. Algal blooms photosynthesize, tying up CO2. If this could be accomplished in water deep enough that dying algae sank deeply and did not decompose, that CO2 could be effectively removed out of the atmosphere and eventually converted to limestone.   

       This is similar in principle to what was done by those amazing wholebakers who seeded the waters off anarctica with iron and produced a huge algal bloom - they devised this method as a possible means for depletion of atmospheric CO2 (linked).
bungston, Jul 27 2005


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