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Have you contacted your scientist today ?

This is new. This is nice ! I have been in contact with the Real World. On scientific congresses, we scientists all tell each other that should engage with the public and actively participate in the public debate. And we all nod and concur, and in the end, I am not entirely convinced this will be the case. Until recently…

Not too long ago, I received a mail with two questions on our work, by someone who signed as a “Concerned Layman”. I was intrigued by the mail, its contents and the writer. I read the questions several times, and started formulating the answers in my head, being excited that someone had taken the effort to send me questions about my research. I know this may sound silly, but I really got excited about this. In my opinion, this is what everyone should actually do when they consider themselves “Concerned Lay(wo)man” about a scientific subject, be it climate change, medical research or quantum physics. In many cases, academic scientists are payed with taxpayers’ money. So it only seems reasonable that we scientists reserve some time to answer questions arising from the public, doesn’t it ? On a personal level, I think this is exactly how society should function nowadays, especially with the endless possibilities of connecting to one another. If you have a question about a specific subject, why not contact a specialist to clear matters up ?

Because I wanted to take some time to answer the questions in a clear and understandable way, I immediately mailed the person back, saying I would take a day or two. What followed was a nice exchange of emails, which left both of us a lot wiser. The wisdom I gained by answering the questions of our Concerned Layman resides in being shown which questions arise in the Real World in response to scientists generating knowledge. Issues that may be entirely obvious to us -working in a particular field and being immersed in that knowledge on a daily basis- , may be at least a cause for concern in others that find themselves outside of that bubble. Therefore I would like to thank the first Concerned Layman for contacting me, and initiating what is the first of hopefully many Question and Answering (Q&A) sessions. I sincerely hope we are setting a trend for those who puzzle over certain subjects, and so lower the threshold for contacting your “local” scientist.

With the explicit consent of our “Concerned Layman”, I decided to publish the questions and my answers, as I believe these are both relevant and contemporary, and may be playing in more people’s minds.

Q1 – “If ordinary electrical power sources, such as coal fired power plants, were used to transport and grind olivine, would the amount of CO2 neutralized be more than the CO2 emitted by the plant?”

A1 – In principle, yes. That is the entire thought behind this approach, to capture (far) more CO2 than is emitted during the grinding and transport process [of the olivine]. In fact, the CO2 “penalty” should be as low as possible to allow for actual atmospheric CO2 uptake (that is, thát CO2 that was already in the atmosphere to begin with, before grinding a gram of olivine…). In a scientific publication by Hangx and Spiers from 2009 (both University of Utrecht, The Netherlands at that time), the authors show a graph (Fig. 4, page 762, bottom right corner) where the CO2 cost of grinding is set against the final grain size. Smaller olivine grain sizes facilitate a faster dissolution reaction, due to higher surface area per unit volume. In another publication by German colleagues (Moosdorf et al. 2014), the proportion of CO2 costs for each “activity” during the mining, grinding and transport is calculated, based on publicly available information, showing a very low contribution to the CO2 penalty by mining and transport, and a relatively high contribution by the grinding process. Even so, after accounting for the penalties, more than 60% of the capability of olivine to capture CO2 would still be available to do just that, capture CO2. The issue is the speed with which that chemical reaction occurs.

Q2 – “If the [olivine dissolution] reaction was done in a separate pool where the water could be heated to start an exothermically sustained reaction, could that speed up the CO2 uptake, whereby the material could then be dumped into the sea?

A2 – The (geo)chemical dissolution reaction of olivine is already an exothermic reaction. Once initiated, and although very slow, it will sustain itself, without extra addition of energy. In fact, the reaction releases a little energy, in the form of (minute) heat. For more specific information on this, see the work of Prigiobbe et al. (2009).

The matter of warmer water to speed up the process is indeed a matter under investigation. We suspect (following simple physics and chemistry) that olivine would indeed dissolve faster in warmer waters. Regarding the use of a separate warm pool, I can tell you that the pool would have to be very large in order to start making a difference. To answer your question correctly, I assume that by “the material”, you mean the water (of the heated pool, as you proposed in your question) in which olivine has dissolved and of which the alkalinity [= the acid-buffering capacity] has (dramatically) increased. The point is then to have large volumes of olivine dissolve in our warm pool, and subsequently dump that high-alkalinity water into the sea, in order to neutralise the ocean acidification. Seawater with lower acidity (due to olivine neutralisation) can then act again as a sink or sponge for atmospheric CO2 (as it has been doing forever), and start taking up more. That is what we have measured (time and again) in our own experiments. Now, to use a pool as a preparatory step, means that there is an outflow into the ocean. And this outflow will be immediately diluted, once it runs into the ocean, much like as if you would run a hot-water faucet directly into an outside pool in winter, in the hope of creating a warm jacuzzi. Eventually, after adding a lot of warm water and if your winters are not too strong, you might even manage to increase the temperature of your pool. If you leave the hot water on for weeks or even years, you might even get yourself a warm pool. But at tremendous costs in terms of water, heat (CO2) and money. You see here the problem of upscaling. In order for the higher-alkaline “pool” water to have immediate climatic effect on our acidified ocean, we would need a “pool” that is so big, with a large stirrer to keep the water mixed and the olivine dissolving, and with such an enormous outflow, that it would become 1) very costly 2) energy consuming (and thus CO2) and 3) logistically difficult to manage. That is why we are trying to find out how effective and ecosystem-friendly it would be if we would introduce large volumes of olivine directly into the marine environment, and let nature do the work for us. We discuss these ideas and issues in a recent publication. We are trying to find this out in controlled, experimental environments, and are doing modelling exercises between numerous scientists, each with their own expertise.

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Give me your carbon dioxide, your atmospheric heat…

By Tiago Fioreze – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6111892

The ocean, our super hero ? Will those vast expanses of salty water, reaching down to lightless depths, be our planet’s saviour ? In an interview with Eos magazine, none other than our own Phil Renforth (yes, the same with whom we walked the rugged shores of Hawai’i), explains in a very accessible way how the ocean may assist us in combating effects of climate change. More specifically, Phil explains how raising the ocean’s alkalinity -it’s acid buffer capacity- may help to sequester more CO2 from the atmosphere. This is of course a shared research interest, as we collaborate on several fronts. The interview in Eos was done to accompany a scientific article Phil published in the journal Reviews of Geophysics, on the same subject. It would be silly to repeat what Phil has to say, so I invite you sit down and read it here. Enjoy !

The peak is nigh…or is it ?

Since 2007, the government of The Netherlands -a small but densely populated and strongly industrialised country in north-western Europe- by virtue of the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (NEAA) or Planbureau voor de Leefomgeving (PBL) in Dutch, has been annually releasing data on global trends in CO2 emissions. In the beginning, the NEAA/PBL issued no actual report, but merely provided processed data on their website, accompanied by explanations and interpretations in Dutch. However, from 2008 onwards, the NEAA/PBL also offered supporting texts in English, while since 2010 it is possible to download full reports (in English) in PDF format. The newest report was just released, and reports on the data from the year 2016. Strikingly, it appears that global CO2 emissions have stabilised in the period 2015-2016. This may indicate that the so-called Peak Emissions (the point after which emissions start to drop) may be in sight.

Peak Emissions are a sign that the de-carbonisation of our society is actually happening. It means that the measures being taken by politicians, consumers and industry are actually taking effect. It does not mean that we are not emitting CO2 anymore, because we are. Some 35 billion tons all in all, over 2016 alone. The leading independent British daily newspaper The Guardian also picked up on the Dutch report and published a very accessible article on it. Peak Emissions are of course always determined in hindsight, but it certainly marks the possible beginning of a hopeful trend.

UK launches the World’s first negative emissions research program

When a scale tips over too far towards one side, placing more weight on the other side will help to balance it out again. That is exactly what is meant by “Negative Emissions”. It means that to restore the global carbon balance, heavily perturbed by anthropogenic (carbon) emissions, humankind needs to create or enhance processes that draw down carbon [dioxide] from the atmosphere. The Earth itself is quite capable of balancing the fluxes of carbon into and down from the atmosphere, but does so at a slow, geological pace. Over time scales that run in the thousands, if not millions of years, more CO2 in the atmosphere will lead to more dissolution of rocks and minerals, thereby effectively consuming the CO2 and so working towards another balance. However, our Industrial Revolution is only 200 years old, and when it comes to carbon emissions, we have been industrious indeed. We have been emitting so much carbon in such a short period of time, that the Earth’s climate system is starting to react accordingly. Certainly, without any intervention, transport of CO2 to the deep oceans and more mineral dissolution would restore the carbon balance over the next centuries. But those are time scales, which rather exceed our normal frame of reference. Growth and development (of our society, our “ecosystem”, if you will) can prosper in more stable and predictable environments, whereas the climatic events to be expected -should the currents trends continue- will be a far cry from those stable conditions. It would thus be a proper expression of self-preservation to prevent such extreme and potentially dangerous climate change from happening, correct ?

If we would be so inclined to reverse the current trend, Mother Earth would need a little hand in re-setting the carbon balance. One way is obviously to turn down our emissions, by deep de-carbonisation of our economy, fast. However, the surplus carbon emissions already present in the atmosphere, will continue to cause climate change, until the balance is again set. But, as discussed above, that would exceed our normal working time frame, and leave us moreover feeling rather powerless in the face of imminent climate change. The other way is to increase the uptake of carbon from the atmosphere, and render the CO2 inert. While re-designing our economy, and creating incentives for industrial and societal collaboration for low- or no-carbon energy, we may simultaneously sequester as much CO2 as is needed. Negative emissions may thus buy us some time, and avert the point of no return. In fact, the latest Assessment Report (AR5) of the International Panel on Climate Change explicitly states (paragraph SPM.4.2.2, page 21 in the Summary for Policy Makers) the need for negative emissions to steer Earth’s climate back to a cooler state, with significantly less CO2 in its atmosphere. A recent peer-reviewed scientific publication in the journal Environmental Research Letters discusses the research efforts into negative emissions, concluding that a fast up-scaling is needed, which in turn depends on (greatly) increased research efforts.

Now, I am not an explicit advocate of one or the other climate change mitigation approach. But I am a fervent supporter of increased research efforts in that direction. If we do not start researching the consequences and potential pitfalls of climate engineering from this very moment onwards, we will never be able to expect our leaders to make well-informed and (most importantly) evidence-based decisions in the (near) future. In the UK, a 8.6 million-pound (9.8 million euro or $11.5 million USD) national research programme has been initiated, to investigate the “potential, as well as the political, social and environmental issues surrounding [the] deployment” of negative emissions technologies (NETs). We wish the researchers involved much success and good luck in their work, and are of course hoping to collaborate in the future.

Strike two !

 

Another publication of our work has made it to the scientific press ! This time, it is a so-called “review”. A review is a type of scientific publication in which the authors make a compilation of what is known on a certain subject, and expand on it with knowledge and scientific opinions of their own. As any other scientific publication, reviews also go through a rigorous peer-review process to ensure that the reasoning follows the scientific “rules” in a proper way.

The review we wrote is on how to use enhanced weathering of olivine in seawater, in order to combat ocean acidification and ultimately, to soak up CO2 from the atmosphere. In this review we discuss and explain the mechanisms of enhanced olivine weathering in seawater, the latest findings and potential future applications. Also, we shine a light on subjects that need strong research focus, if these approaches and techniques are ever to be implemented in the real world. As it is a scientific publication it is rather technical, but much less so than the paper in our last post. We therefore invite you to read it and share it, and get back to us if you have any questions. The article is Open Access and can be viewed and downloaded here.

Official citation:

Meysman F. J. R. and Montserrat F. (2017) Negative CO2 emissions via enhanced silicate weathering in coastal environments. Biol. Lett. 13: 20160905.

A publication is born !

Yes ! We did it ! After a lot of concerted effort, working with a team of scientists from all over Europe, each specialised in different aspects of enhanced weathering, we published a scientific paper on the effects of enhanced weathering of olivine in seawater. The paper was published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology (ES&T, in short), and can be found on their website. I think it is safe to say that we managed to publish the most complete work on this subject up till now. Of course, at the end of the day, we are still left with numerous questions, but we’ve experimentally proven that it works ! Olivine dissolution increases the pH (lowers the acidity) and increases CO2 uptake by the seawater. The article is Open Access and can be obtained here.

For those readers who are not scientists (marine, climate, geo-engineering or otherwise) and who are wondering what the paper actually is about, I will try to explain our research in a more accessible way (please do let me know whether I succeeded in doing so…).

There are numerous claims that if olivine is ground to the size of fine sand grains and dumped in the ocean, it would actually enable the sea to take up more carbon dioxide from the air, while at the same time combating ocean acidification. However, this process has only been proven in model simulations or under ideal -and thus unrealistic- conditions. What we have done is taken certain quantities of olivine sand grains of ca. 150 micrometer (15% of a millimeter, see picture at the end of this post) and let those dissolve in bottles of seawater, while the bottles were constantly shaken on a rotational shaker table. A rotational shaker table is a piece of laboratory equipment (picture below), on which you can place bottles or jars or other containers in a fixed manner. The table part with the bottle holders can then be set to freely turn in circles (rotate) with a given number of rotations per minute (rpm) so that the contents of the bottles are constantly mixed.

The rotational shaker table used in our experiments. The aluminium plate on which the bottle holders are fixed, can spin freely, with a pre-set number rotation per minute (rpm).

Then, we opened the bottles at regular times (every 2 to 7 days) and took a bit of seawater out, so we could analyse its composition and chemistry. Our first and most important finding is that we actually could measure the fact that over time a) the seawater became less acidic and b) the CO2 buffer capacity also increased, leading to more CO2 being captured by the seawater from the air.

Of course, we made sure that we used a proper control group. In the context of a properly conducted experiment, this means that you introduce a group to control for the effect of the olivine. In other words: how do you know the effect you measure comes from the substance/treatment you introduced, if you do not have a control group ? So, in order to make sure that it was the olivine that was causing the seawater de-acidification and increase of its buffer capacity, we also dissolved another mineral in seawater at the same time. For this, we used pure quartz minerals. Quartz is a highly inert mineral, meaning that it hardly reacts or dissolves in (sea)water. Ordinary beach sand is basically quartz, and does not have the properties that olivine has, in that it does not (should not) influence the seawater chemistry. When we analysed the seawater of the control (quartz) group, we found just that: no changes in either acid-level or buffer capacity. Conclusion: olivine has indeed the capacity to make our seas less sour.

Our cooking ingredients from left to right: seawater, olivine sand and quartz powder

The second part of our study, was essentially a repetition of the first part. Only now, alongside bottles of natural seawater, we used a series of artificially made seawater mixtures, in which we dissolved the olivine sand. The artificial seawater mixtures had a different composition, meaning that we replaced certain compounds for others. The reason seawater is so salty, is that it has (surprise !) a whole lot of different salts dissolved in it. Rain (fresh water) falls on land, and dissolves a tiny amount of the rocks and earth minerals it runs past. The ultimate fate of all fresh water is to arrive in the world’s oceans, where it eventually evaporates as fresh water, while the dissolved compounds stay behind in the ocean. After millions of years of dissolving rocks and evaporation-rain cycles, the concentration of dissolved compounds can even be tasted as different types of salts. By far the most common salt in seawater is sodium chloride, yes table salt ! But there are also several other salts in seawater, that contribute to the salty-ness, mostly magnesium and calcium salts. So, what we did in the second part of our experiments, is replace the calcium and the magnesium salts for sodium salts. In that way, the artificial seawater would be as salty as before, but made with different kind of salts. What we wanted to know, is if olivine would dissolve in a “different type of seawater”, would it also display a different dissolution “behaviour”

And what we observed was indeed different. We first replaced only calcium and saw that the dissolution went faster, which translated into faster de-acidification and more CO2 taken up from the air. When we also replaced magnesium, the dissolution went about 2 to 4 times faster ! The response of the seawater was off the charts: the pH increased with more than 0.1. The pH scale is a logarithmic scale, meaning that from pH = 6 to pH = 7 is a ten times increase, while from pH= 6 to pH = 8 is a hundred times increase. To place it in perspective: the ocean’s acidity has decreased by about 0.1 in recent years, which gave rise to the concern of many marine and climate scientists. In our experiment, we managed to actually counteract part of that pH change. Also, as a consequence of us replacing magnesium in the artificial seawater mixture, the CO2 buffer capacity increased much more than in natural seawater. Of course, we cannot take out all the magnesium from seawater, nor do we need to, but it shows us that magnesium in seawater seems to put a brake on the effects of olivine in seawater.

All in all, it seems that the olivine dissolution we measured in our experiments lines up pretty well with what had been predicted in all sorts of model simulations in the literature, and even is a tad faster. But we are the first ones to prove it experimentally !

And now for the remaining questions and challenges. What about the secondary (or side) effects of olivine dissolution on the marine ecosystem ? The main reaction products of olivine dissolution are increases in pH, buffer capacity (alkalinity), dissolved CO2, dissolved magnesium, dissolved silica and dissolved nickel. Now the first three are actually the desired effects, in terms of climate change mitigation. Even number four, an increase in dissolved magnesium in seawater, is not expected to cause any negative effects, because the natural concentration of magnesium in seawater is already much higher than what olivine would add.

Dissolved silica is used by certain groups of microscopic algae in seawater. In turn, these algae would benefit from this “fertilisation” effect, grow faster and would then suck up more CO2, right ? Hmm, yes… But, imagine a sudden (much) higher silica concentration in the seawater. This may (not necessarily, but possibly) cause more intense growth of these groups algae. Algae do not have eternal life and such sudden bursts (also called “algal blooms”), have a tendency for massive die-offs. If such amounts of algae suddenly die, it means a lot of food for bacteria, who will use a lot of oxygen from the seawater to eat up all that dead organic matter. In some areas in the world’s oceans, this already happens in a more or less “natural” way, and really lowers the oxygen concentration in the sea. This leads to the development of so-called “dead zones”, because you can imagine that not a lot of sea organisms (fish, shrimps and crabs, clams, worms etc.) are able to live in under such conditions. I am not saying that this will happen, but it is definitely something we need to find out, before thinking about applying olivine in natural systems.

The sixth and perhaps most pressing, consequence of olivine dissolution is a marked increase in nickel. Nickel is officially counted as a heavy, and potentially toxic, metal. Although there is some research on whether and how toxic nickel is to marine organisms, the overall effect is not very clear. Nonetheless, the potential impact of nickel needs to be clarified as soon as possible. The last thing one wants to do is to try and solve a climate problem, only to find that another aspect of that solution is just as damaging for the ecosystem one is trying to protect.

Olivine grains of different sizes. The olivine on the left is that used in our experiments, while that on the right comes from the lava rocks around Papakolea beach in Hawai’i.

In the last part of our study, we investigate how well our results would do in a real-life situation. We take the example The Netherlands, a country famously known for the fact almost half of it is below sea level and protected from the sea by a large system of dunes. To maintain the coastline, and prevent the hinterland from being exposed to the wrath of Neptune’s, the Dutch government is required by law to perform yearly supplements of sand along the coastal zone. In the last decade, the yearly volume of sand used to maintain the coastline was 12 million cubic meter (424 million cubic feet). That volume is already becoming more because of sea level rise due to climate change. We made a calculation, using the values on how fast the olivine dissolves in seawater, and how much carbon dioxide (CO2) it captures as a consequence. We then imagined that those 12 million cubic meter sand actually consisted of the same olivine sand we used in our experiments. Using the calculation mentioned before, we found that the yearly “olivine sand supplements” along the Dutch coastal zone could capture about 5 % of the yearly CO2 emissions of The Netherlands. This may seem a bit low at first sight, but there are many natural processes in that sandy sea bottom that would considerably speed up the olivine dissolution. It is thus very likely that those 5 % would turn out higher. In any case, we think it would be very important to have a look at those naturally occurring coastal processes, and investigate how they influence the olivine dissolution when applied to a truly natural situation. But that is a story for another (upcoming) publication !

Our take home message ? Dissolving olivine in seawater indeed counteracts ocean acidification, by increasing the alkalinity, and consequently sucks up CO2 from the atmosphere. It sounds like the perfect medicine against climate change, but it is very important to realise that there are secondary effects, which need to be investigated in detail. It is also very important to answer the question whether olivine dissolution would be feasible to apply at a (very) large scale.

For more information on how olivine dissolution may be used in seawater, we expect a review article to come out quite soon. Keep an eye on this website for the latest news and research outcomes. If you have any questions, or want thing clarified, please drop us a line via the contact form !

Enhanced weathering in the spotlights

It has been quite a while since I updated the blog. So, let’s pick up where we left last year… With media attention for geo-engineering, and enhanced weathering in particular.

In a recent editorial, the scientific journal Nature Geoscience turned the spotlight directly to enhanced weathering and its potential to contribute to negative emissions, the net removal of CO2 from the atmosphere. Click here for the direct link. In the last post, I found out that the popular science website IFLScience picked up on an interview in the New Scientist, when I was visiting a conference on Ocean Acidification in Tasmania. Again, I cannot say it often enough how nice and important it is to be covered by more popular science media. In this way, a far larger -and in essence, more important- audience is made aware of what is achieved in the realm of Academia.

As such, I wanted to put down a list of media that have covered our story in the past years. Just to show that the use of enhanced weathering of olivine against ocean acidification, both from a scientific and climate change mitigation standpoints, is considered an interesting option. Also, I wanted to provide useful links, with extra narratives, that makes those articles so much easier digestible than your average scientific article.

Being a scientist I have to stress here -and stress it I will- that I do not endorse or dismiss any climate engineering action per sé. What I DO promote, wholeheartedly, is research into these approaches. How else are governing bodies going to decide whether to pursue a certain path of climate change mitigation approaches, if they do not have the scientifically checked facts on the table ? I know that the last sentence might even sound a bit odd in the “post-truth” era we appear to be living in, but I stand by my point.

Anyhow, without further ado…our media coverage during the past years:

2016: New Scientist publishes an interview, which gets picked up by IFLScience

2015: One of the bigger Dutch national newspapers, de Volkskrant, publishes an article on olivine

2014: During a very interesting, multi-disciplinary conference on climate engineering in Berlin, several media approach us and cover the story of how olivine works against sour seas and sucks up CO2. The scientific journal Nature published an editorial in the News section, and the well-known US-based newspaper The New York Times published a long article.

Also, I was once asked for some comments on an article in Geology about how ant colonies enhance underground olivine rocks and so increase CO2 uptake. These were done in a German newspaper (Sueddeutsche Zeitung) and a Swiss one (Neue Zuercher Zeitung).

 

 

I *beep* love science !

The currency of science is (sadly, sometimes…) publications. “Publish or perish” is the oft-used adagium, to illustrate how much of a Red Queen we have to be as a scientist. Think of researchers needing to publish for scientific survival, as a person running on a conveyor belt at full speed… If that person (the scientist) stops running (publishing), (s)he will fall and be whisked off the stage. Harsh ? Hmm, yes… Unfair ? No, not really. Because, science needs to stay as up-to-date as possible to provide well-founded facts and answers to questions big and small. Of course, publications in high-impact journals constitute the biggest trophy one can proverbially shoot. But, how many people read such publications actually ? Not that many, is the fair answer. That is why I find it so incredibly cool that the popular (but accurate) scientific website IFLScience has picked up on the interview in New Scientist and published an article about our work. With the sole purpose of explaining and distributing real science to real people, IFLScience uses no-nonsense language, straight to the point, without dumbing it down.

 

OLIvOA at international Ocean Acidification conference

highco2hobart_1

Being home for only some weeks after our Hawai’ian adventure, I had to pack my bags again by the end of April. This time, I would travel entirely to the opposite end of the world, to the Tasmanian capital of Hobart (Australia). A colleague of mine, Dr. Andrew Lenton, of the Australian research institute CSIRO, had asked me to come and give a talk at the Fourth International Symposium on The Ocean in a High-CO2 World. Andrew works with large-scale biogeochemical models and because we knew each other from the climate mitigation research community, he told me this symposium would be the perfect stage to give a presentation on how olivine could be used against ocean acidification. I did not have to think too long before I accepted. Of course I wanted to be a week long among the greatest minds involved in researching the ocean’s future trends !

The entire conference was a big success. Apart from bringing together hundreds of scientists from all over the world, the symposium comprised a public townhall meeting, in which climate change and ocean acidification was explained to the general public. This was a very special experience, as the plenary hall filled up to the rim with “normal” people, who came to listen to scientists (also known as “not so normal people”), doing their best to deliver an interesting, yet accessible story. The turnout was enormous, and the questions were both plentiful and valid. I for one had the impression that people were not being told by your (stereo)typical scientist about climate change, but rather educated and informed on a voluntary basis, with genuine interest on both sides.

Walking among these researchers who had dedicated the last decade(s) of their careers to researching the state of the ocean and listening to the talks in the beginning of the week, the main message appeared grim: “We are facing unprecedented rates of warming and acidification, on top of the environmental pressures which have been going on for almost just as long: pollution and over-fishing.” However, as the week took shape, I managed to talk to many of these great researchers, hailing from many different sub-disciplines, becoming more and more confident that my presentation was going to fit in very nicely. It felt a bit odd, though. It was almost missionary, to bring this message of hope against Ocean Acidification. Sure, our experiments were done in the laboratory or in simplified systems, but still…the results were so consistent and the implications so compelling, that I felt very excited to present them. Finally…the hour had come to bring my work to the stage. On the one-but-last day of the conference, I stepped up unto the dais and gave my presentation, which was well received, I might add. Apart from some nice questions right after the presentation, I received many positive reactions. Also, people seemed very much surprised that there is a possibility for remediation at all, even though research into this subject is still very preliminary. To my surprise, the attention for my presentation even spread further than the conference. I was contacted by the science journal, New Scientist, to comment on the work we are doing with olivine against ocean acidification. And by the next week, the interview appeared in their new issue. Very nice to have the research receive such attention !

 

 

OLIvOA has moved !

iousp_front_anchor

During the second half of 2016, OLIvOA headquarters was forced to move. Due to a change in institutional situation (read: I found a good working position elsewhere), OLIvOA has moved with me to my new work spot: São Paulo, Brazil ! The new headquarters are located at the Department of Marine Ecology, Conservation & Management at the Instituto Oceanográfico of the University of São Paulo (IO-USP). From our new address (see bottom of the website) in this huge and vibrant metropolis, OLIvOA will continue to push and develop research into the effects of olivine dissolution on the marine carbonate system and its potential environmental impacts.