Ocean alkalinity enhancement project looks at pulling carbon dioxide from the atmosphere

Newswise — Woods Hole, Mass. (June 7, 2023) – With human-induced greenhouse gases fueling global climate change, there is an urgent need to bolster emissions reductions with large-scale carbon dioxide removal.

Scientists are looking at a technique known as ocean alkalinity enhancement, or OAE, as a potential way to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

As part of this effort, Adam Subhas, an assistant scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in Massachusetts, is the principal investigator leading the LOC-NESS project—short for “Locking away Ocean Carbon in the Northeast Shelf and Slope”—which will carry out its first field experiment in August.

LOC-NESS is one of nine research and engineering projects funded to date by the Carbon to Sea Initiative, which officially launches today as an effort to accelerate the understanding of OAE as a potential method for large-scale carbon dioxide removal.

ICONIQ Impact, which is ICONIQ Capital’s platform for collaborative philanthropy, has matched the funding from Carbon to Sea for the LOC-NESS project. ICONIQ Impact searches for overlooked, underfunded organizations working on some of the most intractable challenges facing humanity–including climate change and systemic barriers to education in the U.S.

OAE is a carbon dioxide removal approach that enhances the ocean’s natural ability to remove carbon from the atmosphere, according to Subhas, a marine geochemist in WHOI’s Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry Department.

Subhas said OAE is an important technique to explore because the oceans are taking up massive amounts of carbon dioxide, which traps heat in the atmosphere and, when dissolved in the ocean, can cause seawater to acidify, adversely affecting ocean health.

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, via NewsWise, 7 June 2023. Press release.

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