Scientests bury carbon tests

Climate chaos0

One morning each week, a scientist takes a stroll on the barren upper slopes of Hawaii’s Mauna Loa volcano, a basketball-sized glass sphere in hand. At some point, the researcher faces the wind, takes a deep breath, holds it and strides forward while twisting open a stopcock. With a whoosh lasting no more than a few seconds, 5 liters of the most pristine air on the planet replaces the vacuum inside the thick-walled orb.

Once every couple of weeks, a parka-clad researcher at the South Pole conducts the same ritual. At these remote sites and dozens of others, instruments also sniff the air, adding measurements of atmospheric chemistry to a dataset that stretches back more than 50 years. The nearly continuous record results from one of the longest-running, most comprehensive earth science experiments in history, says Ralph F. Keeling, a climate scientist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, Calif. He carries on the effort his father, Charles Keeling, began as a graduate student in the 1950s.

Possible solutions range from boosting natural forms of carbon capture and storage, or sequestration – fertilizing the oceans to enhance algal blooms, say, or somehow augmenting the soil’s ability to hold organic matter – to schemes for snatching CO2 from smokestacks and disposing of it deep underground or in seafloor sediments.

Success in sequestering carbon comes down to meeting two challenges: How to remove CO2 from the air (or prevent it from getting there in the first place) and what to do with it once it has been collected.

Read the rest of the article on Science News

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