Ocean iron fertilization stimulates the growth of algae and phytoplankton, which help pull carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This is a potential way to fight global warming, as the algae could pull greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. However, research has shown that dumping iron into the ocean could produce a neurotoxin known as domoic acid. The effects of domoic acid and the use of ocean iron fertilization are still being studied by researchers.
Originally it was believed in the Iron Hypothesis that global warming could help reduce or even reverse climate change by distributing iron on plankton fields in areas where iron levels were low, but nutrient levels of nitrogen, silicon, and phosphorous were sufficient or rich. The idea was that the plankton would be better equipped to speed the carbon cycle and help remove it from the atmosphere and would multiply more quickly. However, a recent study found that most of the carbon from these plankton blooms never reaches the depths of the ocean where it would be removed from the carbon cycle, thus helping to reduce climate change.
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