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Geoengineering experiment off Canadian coast is the world's largest ever

A California businessman apparently dumped over 220,000 pounds of iron sulfate into waters off the Canadian coast in order to test a theory that may hold the key to reversing climate change.

Plankton bloomEnlarge
An illicit and undeniably bold geoengineering scheme was found off the coast of Canada by Guardian newspaper. Above are the satellite images that show a plankton bloom - a result of the iron sulfate that was dumped into the sea. ( Giovanni/Goddard Earth Sciences Data and Information Services Center/NASA/Courtesy)

The world's largest geoengineering experiment was found by the Guardian newspaper off the coast of Canada.

A California businessman apparently dumped over 220,000 pounds of iron sulfate into waters off the Canadian coast in order to test a theory that may hold the key to reversing climate change.

Russ George said that he dumped the iron in the water, which then caused a massive bloom in phytoplankton over almost 4000 square miles that can be seen from space.

The businessman and former chief executive of Planktos Inc, has tried for years to conduct massive algae blooms, particularly around the Galapagos and Canary Islands, apparently in order to earn lucrative carbon credits, the Guardian suggested.

The Guardian said that his efforts were part of the reason international conventions were written barring such geoengineering experiments for fears of possibly environmental calamities.

This time George teamed up with First Nations village on the island of Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands) who were promised a massive jump in salmon populations.

The First Nations group claims it was misled and is now worried about the negative scrutiny the project is getting.

“The people on Masset council and the Haida Development corporation brought this forward with good intentions,” Guujaaw, president of the Haida Nation, told Postmedia News.

“He promised a plankton bloom and he got it. You can see it on the satellite images.”

Postmedia News said that the Canadian government was aware of the incident and currently investigating.

GlobalPost has already reported on the possible promise of iron sulfate geoengineering schemes.

It works by dumping iron sulfate into the ocean to fertilize phytoplankton.

The algae then blooms and traps carbon dioxide through photosynthesis and then when the it dies the gas is dragged to the bottom of the ocean floor, said Live Science.

Recent studies have shown that it may be an effective way to reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

George said that his team is currently monitoring the bloom with equipment borrowed from the US government, reported the Guardian.

"We've gathered data targeting all the possible fears that have been raised [about ocean fertilization]," George told the newspaper.

"And the news is good news, all around, for the planet."

He also claimed that the moratoria by the international community on such schemes was "mythology."

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/science/121016/geoengineering-experiment-canadian-coast-the-worlds-largest-ever