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There is still great uncertainty surrounding ocean fertilization, or the addition of nutrients to the surface ocean to stimulate phytoplankton activity, thus increasing ocean CO2 uptake. Much more research is needed to understand the implications of ocean fertilization for marine ecosystems. (Image Credit: Hannes Grobe 21:52, 12 August 2006 (UTC), Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven, Germany)

The Ocean Carbon and Biogeochemistry (OCB) program is a scientific community-driven coordinating body that promotes U.S. research and international cooperation to investigate the ocean’s role in the global Earth system. Projected increases in atmospheric CO2 levels and potential associated changes in the earth's climate have prompted scientists and engineers to devise strategies for removing some of this CO2 from the atmosphere. Strategies involve the addition of micronutrients (e.g., iron) and/or macronutrients (e.g., urea) to the ocean surface or via artificial upwelling technologies (e.g., floating tubes, wave pumping) to stimulate phytoplankton activity, thus increasing photosynthesis and subsequent removal of atmospheric CO2. Understanding the importance of keeping the OCB community connected to ocean fertilization science and policy activities, the OCB Scientific Steering Committee (SSC) recently identified the need for an ocean fertilization subcommittee. With oversight from this subcommittee, the OCB Project Office has developed this website as a clearinghouse of ocean fertilization news and informational resources to support the OCB community.


February 12, 2015: National Research Council released pre-publication versions of two reports  Climate Intervention: Carbon Dioxide Removal and Reliable Sequestration and Climate Intervention: Reflecting Sunlight to Cool Earth(4-page brief available here)

July 15, 2014: The Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation (HSRC) conducted a small scale Ocean Iron Fertilization (OIF) experiment in the North Pacific in 2012. 120 tons of iron compound were deposited in the migration routes of pink and sockeye salmon in the Pacific ocean West of Haida Gwaii over a period of 30 days. The project resulted in a 35,000 km2 plankton bloom that lasted for
several months. The HSRC scientific team collected a significant amount of oceanographic data using autonomous underwater vehicles (Slocum Gliders), Argos Drifter, Multi-Spectral Sonar, Surface Seawater samples, Phytoplankton Tows and other methods. The full open data set can be downloaded for free under the Open Database License:

April 20, 2013:
Second round of iron dumping off coast of Haida Gwaii?

February 21, 2013:
New study addresses geoengineering impact of open ocean dissolution of olivine on atmospheric CO2 

October 23, 2012:
SCOR Working Group 131 ‘The Legacy of in situ Iron Enrichment: Data Compilation and Modeling’   makes data from iron enrichment experiments available - The data of nine experiments (IronEx I and II, SOIREE, SOFeX North and South, SERIES, SEEDS I and II and SAGE) are directly available from BCO-DMO. Data from three further studies (EisenEx, EIFEX and soon LOHAFEX) can be accessed via links to PANGAEA. Data from FeeP will be archived at the British Oceanographic Data Centre.

November 2, 2012:  OCB releases statement on recent iron dumping off west coast of Canada 


Last updated: February 12, 2015