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Artificial Upwelling

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What is Artificial Upwelling?
Artificial upwelling is a geoengineering strategy that involves bringing relatively nutrient-rich waters from depth up to the surface ocean to stimulate phytoplankton activity and draw down atmospheric CO2.

Deployment of the single pump off the back deck of the research vessel Kilo Moana. Photo: Karin Bjorkman, SOEST.

Wave-Powered Ocean Pumps
This strategy involves the use of wave-powered ocean pumps to bring nutrient-rich deep water to the surface to stimulate plankton blooms (Karl and Letelier, 2008). Initial experiments with the wave-powered pumps were performed at Station ALOHA ~80 miles off  the coast of Oahu.

Artist's rendering of floating tubes proposed by Lovelock and Rapley (2007). (Illustration by Jack Cook, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

Floating Tubes
This strategy proposed by Lovelock and Rapley (2007) involves the deployment of thousands of plastic tubes (~300-600 feet long and ~30 feet in diameter) in the oceans, bridging nutrient-poor surface waters with colder, nutrient-rich waters at depth. In addition to mixing via natural wave motion, a one-way valve would pump nutrient-rich deep water through the tubes to the ocean surface, stimulating phytoplankton activity.


Last updated: March 5, 2010