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Volcanic ash can help reduce carbon dioxide linked to climate change

Volcanic ash can help reduce CO2 associated with climate change

An avalanche of volcanic debris at Soufrierre Hills, Montserrat. Credit: Martin Palmer

Scientists at the University of Southampton are studying ways to remove carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases from our atmosphere believe that volcanic ash may play an important role.

A team from the University School of Ocean and Earth Sciences is modeling the impact of the spread of volcanic ash from a ship in the ocean floor to help amplify natural processes that block CO2 in the seabed. They found that the technique has the potential to be cheaper, technologically simpler and less invasive than other harmful gas removal techniques.

The researchers̵

7; findings were published in the journal Anthropocene.

Man-made climate change is one of the most pressing issues in modern science and politics. The impact of hundreds of years of greenhouse gas emissions is becoming clearer every year, with changes in the environment, including hot flashes, droughts, forest fires and other extreme weather events.

“As a result of the vast evidence, politicians have begun to take steps to incorporate emission reductions into policies, such as the 2015 Paris Agreement, with the long-term goal of ensuring that global average temperatures do not exceed 2 ° C above pre-industrial levels. that to avoid the worst effects of climate change, active greenhouse gas removal (GGR) will be needed, ”explains study co-author and professor of geochemistry at the University of Southampton, Martin Palmer.

GGR techniques remove carbon dioxide and other gases from the atmosphere, thus reducing the greenhouse effect and slowing down climate change in the long run. There are numerous potential approaches to GGR, from simple, such as reforestation, to complex, such as active CO removal.2 from the atmosphere.

Most volcanoes lie near the oceans, and each year millions of tons of volcanic ash fall into them and settle to the seabed. Once there, it increases the storage of carbon in marine sediments and reduces atmospheric CO2 levels. This is important because the oceans are the largest sink of man-made CO2 on the ground.

“One way for the oceans to block CO2 is by storing it in sediments on the seabed such as calcium carbonate and organic carbon. In our work, we discuss how this natural process can be augmented by artificially adding ash to the oceans, “said Jack Longman, lead author and former postdoctoral fellow at the University of Southampton, who now holds a position at the Institute of Chemistry and Biology. Marine Environment (ICBM), Oldenburg University.

Scientists have modeled the effect of the spread of volcanic ash from a ship in the ocean. The results suggest that this method can emit up to 2300 tons of CO2 of 50,000 tons of ash delivered for $ 50 per tonne of CO2 sequestered – much cheaper than most other GGR methods. In addition, the approach is simply to increase the natural process, it does not involve expensive technology and does not require the relocation of valuable agricultural land.

Scientists say further research is needed to test the effectiveness of increased ash deposition in the oceans and to ensure that there are no unintended side effects, but initial indications suggest that it can be applied easily and cheaply in many areas of the ocean. the world.

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More information:
Jack Longman et al., Viability of greenhouse gas removal by artificial addition of volcanic ash to the ocean, Anthropocene (2020). DOI: 10.1016 / j.ancene.2020.100264

Provided by the University of Southampton

Quote: Volcanic ash can help reduce carbon dioxide associated with climate change (2020, September 29), extracted on September 29, 2020 from https://phys.org/news/2020-09-volcanic- ash-carbon-dioxide-climate.html

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