Effect of atmospheric processing on iron solubility in Arizona Test Dust and coal fly ash

Nicholas Davidson, Francis Pope, Zongbo Shi

Current ocean-atmosphere models assume that all of the soluble iron delivered to the surface oceans is derived from windborne dust from the world’s deserts. This assumption precludes anthropogenic inputs of iron, of which fly ash from coal burning is an unquantified but potentially significant component. This project is concerned with the chemical and photochemical processes that occur on the surface of ash particles in the air, within clouds, and in the photic zone of the oceans where releases of iron can encourage the growth of photosynthetic algae. Iron, along with phosphorus which is also present in fly ash, are the major limiting nutrients for algal growth in the open ocean. Emissions from coal-fired power stations upwind of open ocean regions may be altering algal blooming patterns by promoting growth. The results of this research have significance both for ocean-atmospheric modelling and for data regarding carbon sequestration geoengineering techniques that involve promotion of algal blooming (1) (2).

Join today to view and download the full abstract/presentation