LOHAFEX was an experiment initiated by the German Federal Ministry of Research and carried out by the German Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) 2009 to study sea fertilization in the South Atlantic. It was also an Indo-German cooperation project. The word itself is also an acronym and portmanteau word composed from the Indian word for iron, FEX LOHA for "Fertilization EXperiment". LOHAFEX should be a contribution to POGO, the Partnership for Observation of the oceans (P artnership for O bservation of the G lobal O Ceans). AWI in the expedition under the name ANT XXV / 3 is performed. These reports were also published weekly on the website of the Institute.
As part of the experiment, the German research vessel Polarstern deposited 6 tons of iron in the form of ferrous sulfate in an area of 300 square kilometers. It was expected that the iron sulphate would distribute through the upper 15 m of the water layer and trigger algal bloom. A significant part of the carbon dioxide dissolved in sea water would then be bound by the emerging bloom and sink to the ocean floor.
The ship left Cape Town 7 January 2009. The expedition ended after 70 days on 17 March 2009 in Punta Arenas, Chile.
The technique to fertilize the ocean with iron sulphate is controversial, the Federal Environment Ministry called for a halt to the experiment, partly because environmentalists feared damage to marine plants and pets by an artificial algal bloom. Most critics feared long-term effects which would not be detectable durung short-term observation. Other critics feared the entry into large-scale manipulation of ecosystems with these large geo-engineering experiments.
LOHAFEX was not the first experiment of its kind. In 2000 and 2004, comparable amounts of iron sulfate were discharged from the same ship ( EisenEx experiment). 10 to 20 percent of the algal bloom died off and sank to the sea floor. This removed carbon from the atmosphere.
As a side effect, the sinking algae stimulate the growth of zooplankton that feed on them. These in turn are eaten by krill, and these in turn are eaten by fish. Thus, the iron sulfate also contributes to the protection of species at.
- "Alfred-Wegener-Institut für Polar- und Meeresforschung (AWI) ANT-XXV/3". Retrieved 9 August 2012.
- "LOHAFEX über sich selbst". Retrieved 9 August 2012.
- "http://commonsblog.wordpress.com/2009/01/12/polarsternreise-zur-manipulation-der-erde/". Retrieved 9 August 2012.
- "Geo-Engineering in the Southern Ocean" (pdf). Retrieved 9 August 2012.
- "Dem Klima zuliebe das Meer düngen?". Retrieved 9 August 2012.