How Could Volcanic Ash Lower the Carbon Dioxide? New Research Explains

could reduce co2

A team of scientists examining ways of eliminating carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from Earth’s atmosphere think volcanic ash could have a significant role. The scientists comprise all the findings and results in a new paper.

Human-caused climate change is one of the hottest topics in contemporary science and, of course, politics. The influence of hundreds of years of greenhouse gas emissions is now more evident than ever. The environmental changes, including wildfires, heatwaves, droughts, and other extreme weather events, are truly tragic. Here is what you need to know. 

Volcanic Ash Matters

A team of scientists from the University’s School of Ocean and Earth Science succeeded in modeling the influence of spreading volcanic ash from a ship to an ocean floor area to increase natural processes that lock away carbon dioxide in the seabed. They discovered that the method could be very cheap, technologically more straightforward and, more importantly, less invasive than other procedures to eliminate harmful gases.

GGR methods can remove carbon dioxide and other known gases from the atmosphere. Such a thing means that we can lower the greenhouse effect and control better climate change in the longer term. There are many potential approaches to GGR, such as the simple ones, like the reforestation, to the complex, actively eliminating carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. So where the volcanoes start to matter?

Most volcanoes are close to the oceans. Every year millions of tons of volcanic ash end up on the seafloor. And once there, it lowers carbon storage in marine sediments and diminishes atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. Such a thing is important because the oceans are the most massive sinks of human-made carbon dioxide on Earth.

What We Should Expect

The team discusses how the natural way of oceans to lock away carbon dioxide by storing it in sediments on the seafloor, might be augmented by artificially adding ash to oceans. And this where the team’s simulation kicks in. 

The scientists modeled the effect of spreading volcanic ash from a ship to an area of ocean. Their results are intriguing. It suggests that this procedure could sequester up to 2300 tons of carbon dioxide per 50,000 tons of volcanic ash. And all of that delivered for a cost of $50/ton of carbon dioxide sequestered. 

The team says further research is required to test the efficiency of ash deposition in the oceans. We also need to make sure there are no unforeseen side effects. 

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