Since I happened to be in the desert last week, I've been somewhat sensitive to desert news.
So I found these interesting:
- Sahara Dust Produces Massive Bahama Carbon Sink
This post was inspired by a terrific new and important paper that speaks to the role of Saharan dust, the iron and other mineral micronutrients it carries to the ocean, and how this results in a new explanation of the power and potency of ocean photosynthesis in regulating global CO2. Once again we find that the living ocean is not merely a chemical test tube but rather a complex living ecology. But sometimes the chemistry shines through as well or I should say the bio-chemistry.
In short the authors show that when Sahara dust arrives in the Bahamas cyano-bacteria, what we used to call blue-green algae, bloom. As they bloom their photosynthesis removes CO2 from the water making the pH locally rise, alleviating ocean acidification. That blooming rise of ocean pH to a slightly more alkaline state results in what the Bahamanian’s have long called “Ocean Whitings” where the ocean becomes white like milk.
- Pioneering environmental project taking root in the sand
A one hectare site outside Doha, Qatar, will soon host the SFP AS Pilot Plant. It will contain a unique combination of promising environmental technologies carefully integrated in a system to maximize beneficial synergies. A wide specter of leading experts and technology developers are taking part in the effort to realize the project. A cornerstone of the pilot is greenhouses utilizing seawater to provide cool and humid growing conditions for vegetables. The greenhouses will also produce freshwater themselves. The greenhouses will be coupled with a state of the art parabolic trough solar collector with a thermal desalination unit supported by PV-technology. The pilot will also allow for cultivation of algae in a system of photobioreactors and open pond cultivation systems.
An important part of the pilot is to demonstrate the potential for cultivating desert land and making it green. Outdoor vertical evaporators will create sheltered and humid environments for cultivation of plants. Additionally, the pilot will contain outdoor hydroponic raceways for cultivation of halophytes – plants tolerant of irrigation with salty water. The facilities in the pilot plant will be supported by on-site laboratories, scientists and professional growers.
Anyway, both pages and their supporting material are fascinating...