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UW Oceanographer will examine how glacial particles remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere

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A University of Washington oceanographer is involved in a new study to determine how glacial particles react with seawater to remove carbon dioxide. Alex Gagnon is an associate professor of oceanography from the UW. He is one of the investigators in a new funded project. This involves lab and field studies of a natural setting. It could help to understand the ocean's role as carbon removal. Experts believe that this will have to be combined with emission reductions to combat climate change. Ocean Visions is a research consortium. announced Oct. 28 two 18 month grants to evaluate the environmental effects of ocean-based carbon dioxide removal methods by studying natural environments. Ocean-based carbon dioxide removal analogs can be defined as natural marine environments that remove carbon dioxide in the atmosphere through processes that could theoretically replicated, speeded up or done on larger scales. The $220,000 grant awarded to the team will finance a study at the Prince William Sound's edge of glaciers that touch the ocean during high tides. Researchers will determine the rate at which alkaline material is added to rocks around the fjords. This is because glaciers naturally pulverize rock and release fine-grained particles into ocean. To test the relationship between atmospheric CO 2 removal and alkaline powder, the study will measure CO 2 uptake at different water depths. The team will also examine the effects of trace metals, such as iron and zinc, on marine ecosystems. John Crusius is a UW affiliate professor of oceanography, and research scientist at U.S. Geological Survey’s Alaska Science Center. Rob Campbell is a biological oceanographer, chief science officer at Prince William Sound Science Center, and Mary Margaret Stoll is a UW graduate student studying oceanography. The science center's research vessel R/V New Wave will be used by the team to collect samples and then analyze them in the UW lab.



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