How oceans could be used for carbon capture on a big scale

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This week:

  • How oceans could beryllium utilized for c seizure connected a large scale
  • Dam! Beavers airs a methane occupation successful the Arctic
  • Humidity makes a sweltering flat that overmuch harder to unrecorded in

How oceans could beryllium utilized for c seizure connected a large scale

A vessel  connected  the water

Planetary Technologies is utilizing vessel to undertake an water c seizure experimentation that involves adding 'antacids' made of stone dust, specified arsenic magnesium hydroxide, to the water to neutralize dissolved CO2. Researchers instrumentality measurements from the vessel aft the antacid was added to the water, on with a reddish dye that helps way however the antacid spreads. (Planetary Technologies)

Scientists person said we're poised to overshoot the 1.5 C warming people enshrined successful the Paris Agreement, and that successful bid to return to 1.5 C by 2100, we would request to region immense amounts of c dioxide from the atmosphere.

Carbon seizure from smokestacks oregon the air, utilizing exertion and tree planting, has received a batch of attraction and funding. But past week, a fewer 100 scientists astir the satellite argued that much attraction should beryllium paid to carbon seizure successful the ocean.

"The ocean's c contented is 50 times larger than what is successful the atmosphere. Its sheer size besides means that ocean-based clime solutions tin beryllium scaled to importantly mitigate clime risk," they wrote successful a letter posted connected the web leafage of Ocean Visions, a non-profit umbrella radical for universities and oceanographic institutions focused connected ocean-climate restoration solutions.

The problem? Even scientists cognize small astir the effectiveness, risks oregon impacts of water c seizure solutions. 

Kate Moran, president and CEO of Ocean Networks Canada and a spokesperson for the scientists who wrote the letter, said much accusation is important for making argumentation decisions astir water c capture.

"We bash request to, arsenic a corporate community, get down probe needed to recognize these issues, and it's beauteous urgent," she said successful an interrogation from the Canadian Coast Guard vessel Tully disconnected the seashore of B.C., wherever she is doing immoderate of that research.

The missive was signed by a fig of scientists from the Canadian steadfast Planetary Technologies, including its main water scientist, Will Burt. Planetary Technologies ran its archetypal water tests of its c seizure exertion successful Halifax harbour this week (see photograph above).

Burt hopes the missive helps the nationalist "build immoderate assurance that what we're doing is … wide believed scientifically to beryllium worthy exploring."

WATCH | Scientists anticipation antacid could assistance relieve clime change

Scientists anticipation antacid could assistance relieve clime change

Halifax Harbour is getting a dose of Tums to spot if that volition assistance region c from the atmosphere. Paul Withers has the story.

By now, you mightiness beryllium asking, "OK, but what kinds of solutions are we adjacent talking about?" 

They autumn into 2 main categories: biotic and abiotic.

Biotic water c removal is akin to planting trees connected onshore to sorb CO2, but it involves marine oregon coastal ecosystems and plants. The c they store is called blue carbon, and it tin involve:

Seaweed oregon "macroalgae" specified arsenic kelp. The c tin aboriginal beryllium sequestered — for example, by sinking it to the water floor. (That's 1 of the solutions Moran was researching connected the Tully past week.)

A graphic showing a vessel  towing a enactment     with seaweed attached that is falling to the oversea  floor.

Microscopic organisms called microalgae oregon phytoplankton, encouraged to turn by fertilizing the water with nutrients specified arsenic iron.

A vessel  dropping pinkish  nutrients into the water  containing greenish  dots that correspond  microalgae

Plants successful coastal ecosystems, specified arsenic tidal brackish marshes, mangrove forests oregon seagrass meadows. Restoring degraded coastal ecosystems doesn't conscionable store carbon, it besides reduces emissions from sources similar erosion.

A coastal ecosystem with a mangrove and seagrasses, with fish.

Abiotic solutions include:

Ocean alkalinity enhancement. This is

being tested by Planetary Technologies

. It involves adding "antacids" made of stone dust, specified arsenic magnesium hydroxide, to the water to neutralize dissolved CO2. This converts the CO2 into unchangeable minerals and salts, efficaciously removing it from the c cycle. Like a sponge that's been squeezed out, the h2o regains the capableness to sorb much CO2 from the atmosphere. In the photograph above, you tin spot Planetary Technologies' researchers taking measurements from a vessel aft the antacid was added to the water, on with a reddish dye that helps way however the antacid spreads. Burt says this exertion should besides reverse

ocean acidification that harms coral reefs and shellfish


Yellow particulate  coming retired  of a tube  connected  the enactment     and from a vessel  connected  the h2o  goes into the water.

Electrochemical water c dioxide removal. This exertion uses energy to abstracted seawater into acidic and alkaline solutions. Each of those solutions uses a antithetic method to region CO2 from seawater (one of them is precise akin to water alkalinity enhancement). California-based Captura and Montreal-based Deep Sky program to

test this exertion successful eastbound Quebec successful 2024


Pipes from a mill  spell  into the water  with arrow going some  ways and CO2 successful  the water

Planetary Technologies' Burt said that portion reducing emissions is by acold the champion instrumentality for tackling clime change, "we're going to request much than that." 

Ocean c seizure "could beryllium a truly cardinal player." 

Emily Chung

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Reader feedback

Gaille Musgrove responded to last week's communicative connected invasive species:  

"I unrecorded northbound of Toronto successful a township called Adjala-Tosorontio. I emotion it here. Unfortunately, I person invasions of each kinds of works taxon that I person ne'er seen before. Something called crushed clover (no narration to existent clover) has dispersed each implicit my property. It choked retired my writer and is invading my gardens. We besides person thing called canine strangling vine, which has pulled down a obstruction and killed galore trees. 

"In the 46 years that we person lived here, we person mislaid each of our butternut trees, each of our beauteous beech trees and present thing is eating our spruce trees. It is precise distressful."

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The Big Picture: Beavers airs methane occupation successful the Arctic

Two outer  images of the Arctic, the 2nd  with noticeably much  ponds.

Two outer shots, from 1980 and 2019, show the fig of ponds created by beavers successful the Arctic. (Ken Tape et al./Scientific Reports/Worldview satellite)

Climate alteration is helping beavers colonize the Arctic, and those beavers are successful crook causing much clime change. A study by Alaskan researchers that looked astatine aerial and outer photos of Alaska's Arctic tundra betwixt 1949 and 2019 (see below) recovered that dams built by beavers created 11,000 caller ponds betwixt 1980 and 2019.

A caller survey by the aforesaid team finds those ponds are releasing methane, a almighty greenhouse gas, accelerating clime change. The methane is produced arsenic vegetation flooded by the dams rots successful the lack of oxygen, and arsenic the spreading h2o thaws the surrounding permafrost. The researchers accidental this means beavers successful the Arctic volition initially summation the merchandise of methane, though they don't cognize what the semipermanent impacts volition be.

Interestingly, portion beavers whitethorn beryllium atrocious for clime alteration successful the North, they're being recruited to support against the impacts of wildfires and droughts successful places similar California. Research shows that areas with beavers are much resilient to wildfire impacts and person much unfastened h2o during droughts compared to areas without beavers.

Hot and bothered: Provocative ideas from astir the web

  • Filmmakers person launched a petition calling connected Toronto's International Film Festival to driblet sponsorship from RBC, noting it's 1 of the world's biggest financiers of fossil fuels.

  • A California precocious schoolhouse is offering paid pupil internships for clime action with the purpose of preparing the students for greenish jobs. Bonus: The students person saved their territory $850,000 US connected a $2.9-million vigor budget.

Humidity makes a sweltering flat that overmuch harder to unrecorded in

A antheral   stands successful  a doorway of his apartment.

Sridharan Vankeepuram lives successful an flat connected the occidental borderline of downtown Montreal. On hot, sunny days, the aerial wrong his country tin beryllium hard to bear. (Louis-Marie Philidor/CBC)

On a blistery summertime day, the aerial successful Sridharan Vankeepuram's country tin beryllium astir unbearable.

"It feels similar a furnace inside," helium said.

His tiny chamber — crammed with a azygous furniture and desktop machine — doesn't get overmuch cooler astatine night, particularly erstwhile it's humid, arsenic is often the lawsuit during a Montreal vigor wave.

Vankeepuram has spent the past 2 years successful an aging ceramic gathering connected the occidental borderline of Montreal's downtown, portion completing his MBA astatine Concordia University. One time successful July, Vankeepuram's country felt similar it was 39 C erstwhile taking the humidity into account.

To amended recognize the challenges of surviving successful utmost vigor arsenic the clime changes, this summertime CBC News installed sensors successful 50 homes that were either wholly oregon partially without aerial conditioning crossed 5 Canadian cities, including Montreal.

(CBC utilized "heat index" to measurement the operation of aerial somesthesia and humidity, alternatively than humidex, a akin scale developed successful Canada.)

The sensors took somesthesia and humidity readings each 10 minutes. In immoderate places — peculiarly successful apartments successful Toronto, Windsor and Montreal — the humidity made the residences consciousness overmuch hotter. Winnipeg and Vancouver, which thin to person drier heat, were the different 2 cities featured successful the project.

For fractional of the 56 days measured, Vankeepuram's country didn't driblet beneath 26 C, the threshold considered unsafe for seniors and those with pre-existing conditions if they're exposed to it for a prolonged period. And Vankeepuram's country consistently felt adjacent warmer, due to the fact that of the humidity.

Knowing helium would determination retired aft graduating, Vankeepuram didn't put successful an aerial conditioner. On the worst days, helium took aggregate showers oregon brought a bucket of crystal h2o into his room.

For others, the consequences tin beryllium much dire. Humans chill down by sweating, but erstwhile the aerial is saturated with moisture, that doesn't enactment arsenic well.

"The much humid it is successful the air, the harder it is for that process to occur," said Prof. Daniel Gagnon, a researcher astatine the Montreal Heart Institute. "We mightiness inactive nutrient sweat, but alternatively of it evaporating, it volition drip disconnected onto the level and past we suffer each of its cooling power."

Gagnon, an subordinate prof astatine the schoolhouse of kinesiology and workout subject astatine the University of Montreal, reviewed CBC's information and recovered it striking that though Montreal escaped the worst of the Canadian summer's heat, the temperatures wrong often felt similar much than 30 C with the humidity factored in.

"We request to origin successful humidity arsenic well, due to the fact that a fixed somesthesia mightiness beryllium comfy if it's precise dry, but go precise uncomfortable if it's precise humid, and the body's effect to those environments volition besides beryllium different," Gagnon said.

Research isn't conclusive connected whether humidity increases the likelihood of mortality successful cases of utmost heat, but it nevertheless puts strain connected the body. 

During a historical 2018 vigor wave, 66 radical died successful Montreal — and 80 per cent of those radical died successful their homes.

Gregory Walton, a 51-year-old who lives successful an flat successful Windsor, Ont., said nights are particularly difficult. In his apartment, the somesthesia astir ne'er dropped beneath 26 C during the play CBC monitored and, with the humidity, it felt similar astir 32 C connected 1 peculiarly muggy day.

Overall, successful Montreal, Toronto and Windsor, precocious rates of comparative humidity sometimes added arsenic overmuch arsenic 5 to 7 degrees to however blistery a residence felt.

Here are the highest vigor scale measures our sensors recorded, by city:

  • Windsor: 39.

  • Montreal: 39.

  • Toronto: 38.

  • Winnipeg: 37.

  • Vancouver: 34.

Climate scientists say hotter, much humid summers are likely successful the coming years, arsenic the satellite warms, mostly due to the fact that of the burning of fossil fuels.

According to Environment and Climate Change Canada, a humidex successful the mid- to high-30s is erstwhile the mean steadfast idiosyncratic should beryllium much careful. Above 40 is considered highly precocious and each unnecessary carnal enactment should beryllium avoided.

Dr. David Kaiser, subordinate aesculapian manager astatine Montreal Public Health, said implicit the agelong term, amended municipality readying and changes to lodging volition assistance bring down the vigor — and humidity — indoors.

In the much contiguous term, Kaiser said the astir at-risk would payment from having an aerial conditioner. British Columbia precocious announced a $10-million programme for escaped aerial conditioners for those astir susceptible to the heat.

"I deliberation it's important from a wellness perspective that if you person an aerial conditioner astatine location and it works, you're not going to dice successful a vigor wave," Kaiser said.

Benjamin Shingler

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Editor: Andre Mayer | Logo design: Sködt McNalty

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