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2022 Guest Speaker Schedule

Ocean-based Climate Solutions

Date SpeakerTopic
February 3Stephanie Henson
National Oceanography Centre
Importance of the oceans to carbon uptake and storage
In this opening seminar in the Geodynamics series on ocean carbon dioxide removal methods, we’ll review some of the fundamentals of how the oceans take up and store carbon. We’ll examine questions such as ‘Why are the oceans important in the global carbon cycle?’ and ‘What controls the uptake of CO2 by the oceans?’ The seminar will focus on how the ocean’s natural carbon cycle intersects with attempts to increase storage of anthropogenic CO2 in the oceans. The example of artificial iron fertilisation will be used as a case study to illustrate the factors that need to be considered when assessing ocean CDR approaches.
Suggested reading:
  • Reviews and syntheses: Ocean iron fertilization experiments – past, present, and future looking to a future Korean Iron Fertilization Experiment in the Southern Ocean (KIFES) project
  • Assessing the sequestration time scales of some ocean-based carbon dioxide reduction strategies

February 10Grace Andrews
Project Vesta
Repurposing a paradigm: Coastal Enhanced Weathering as an emerging Negative Emission Technology
Climate change is impacting humans and the environment around the world. To meet the Paris Agreement goal of limiting warming to 2∘C by 2100, Negative Emission Technologies, which actively remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, are required. In this talk, Dr. Andrews will discuss Coastal Enhanced Weathering, a climate change mitigation technology developed from decades-long research into chemical weathering, the Earth’s natural process for regulating atmospheric CO2 levels. She will share results from Project Vesta’s interdisciplinary research program on Coastal Enhanced Weathering, aimed at assessing its safety, feasibility, and scale potential, updates from the world’s first field trial, and outputs from social license studies conducted with the local community at the trial site.
Suggested reading:
  • Earth's Future - 2017- Feng - Model-Based Assessment of the CO2 Sequestration Potential of Coastal Ocean Alkalinization
  • National Academies - A Research Strategy for Ocean-based Carbon Dioxide Removal and Sequestration (2021)

February 17Geodynamics Instructors (Subhas, Wang, Kim, Lindell & Bell)Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Research at WHOI
In this seminar, the Geodynamics instructors will each give a short presentation of their work in the marine CDR space. These topics include ocean iron fertilization (Buesseler), ocean alkalinity enhancement (Subhas), blue carbon (Wang), modeling and data assimilation (Kim), and macroalgae cultivation and export (Lindell and Bell). After the presentations, we will open the floor to questions from the community on how WHOI is engaging with this topic, and the role of WHOI in developing and validating these CDR approaches.
February 24Jasmine Sanders
Our Climate
Coastal Communities of Color in the Fight of Their Lifetime
Will their cries for help be ignored and their cultures forgotten or will we create magical solutions and advocate for those on the frontlines? During this talk, Jasmine Sanders will share her personal experience of growing up in Louisiana and how the traumatic devastation led her down a path of speaking up with and for frontline communities around the world. She will discuss several domestic and international communities of color, their unique cultures, distinct challenges, and how we can all help.
Suggested readings
March 3Philip BoydUsing fundamental research to inform the debate into Ocean CDR - the ocean iron fertilisation story
Ocean iron fertilisation (OIF) has been studies for over two decades, primarily to better elucidate the role of changing iron supply to the ocean in the geological past as a driver of 80 ppmv decreases in atmospheric carbon dioxide during the glacial terminations. These in-depth studies have been a major asset in understanding the benefits and the challenges that lie ahead in assessing whether OIF can play a significant role as a marine CDR (Carbon Dioxide Removal) technique. I will step through the key lessons we have learnt, for marine CDR, over these two decades from OIF. Since OIF has been well studied relative to other CDR ocean methods, there is much knowledge to impart to those studying other approaches such Ocean Alkalinity Enhancement. In the second half, I will examine the importance of foresighting (see Lenton et al. 2019) in developing an R&D Agenda for OIF. Foresighting works backwards from scenarios of full implementation and deployment of OIF, to nested pilot studies to identify in a holistic manner key knowledge gaps and hence new research targets.
Suggested readings
March 10Isabella Arzeno-Soltero
University of California, Irvine
Global Potential for Macroalgae Mariculture: Yields and Uncertainties
Seaweed cultivation has been proposed as a strategy to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. However, we lack detailed estimates of the global potential for seaweed cultivation. We will begin this seminar by discussing the growing interest in seaweed farming and reviewing the current state of the seaweed farming industry. We will summarize existing efforts to estimate global macroalgae productivity potential, focusing on results from a recently developed dynamic seaweed growth model, the Global MacroAlgae Cultivation Modeling System (G-MACMODS). Unlike previous models, G-MACMODS estimates the potential global yield of four different types of seaweed worldwide under different nutrient scenarios. We’ll talk about the G-MACMODS harvest estimates in the context of some relevant carbon-dioxide removal targets, emphasizing the uncertainties surrounding these estimates and discussing pressing areas of future research.
Suggested readings
March 17Chuck Greene, Celina Scott-Buechler, Colin BealClimate mitigation and CDR via algae, blue foods and ABECCS
March 31Kate Moran
Oceans Networks Canada
Solid Carbon: A rock-solid climate solution
Solid Carbon is developing an offshore NET that aims to turn CO2 into rock by injecting it into ocean sub-seafloor basalt where it will mineralize and remain permanently stored. Integrating six proven technologies, Solid Carbon uses direct air capture from an ocean floating platform, repurposed offshore oil and gas technology and injection system to pump CO2, powered by renewableenergy, into the sub-sea floor where it will be durably mineralized over time.
Suggested readings
April 7Karen Scott
University of Canterbury, New Zealand
The Governance and Ethics of Ocean-Based CDR
CDR techniques range from the reasonably uncontroversial (e.g., sub-seabed CO2 sequestration) to the much more controversial (e.g., ocean fertilization). Should these activities be regulated and, if so, how? What factors should be considered as part of any regulatory regime (e.g., environmental risk, moral hazard, the importance of scientific research). This session will explore the current regulatory regime for selected ocean-based CDR technologies, which has been developed under the 1996 London Protocol to the 1972 London Convention (on ocean dumping) within the broader context of the law of the sea as well as international environmental law. It will consider the ethics of CDR and the relationship between ethics and law/ regulation in the context of CDR.
Suggested readings
April 14
Alissa Park
Columbia University
Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage via Carbon Mineralization and
Enhanced Extraction of Alkaline Metals and Rare Earth Elements
from Unconventional Resources

With the increase of the global population and the growth of the world economy and industrial sector, global energy consumption has also been increasing. Considering that the fossil fuels will still be one of the major energy sources for the foreseeable future, measures need to be taken to control the atmospheric CO2 concentration. Carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) technologies are one of the approaches to decarbonize the power and industrial sectors. Among various options, mineral carbonation is one of the less studied CCUS technologies, which mimics the natural weathering of silicate minerals. As CO2 reacts with silicate minerals, carbon is stabilized in the form of insoluble solid carbonates for permanent carbon storage. If this reaction is carried out in an ex-situ reactor system, solid carbonates, high surface area silica and other minor components such as iron oxide can be produced with tailored properties and separated as value-added products. In addition to natural minerals and mine tailings, alkaline industrial wastes such as iron and steel slags can also be used as feedstock for carbon mineralization. Most of the industries producing alkaline solid wastes (e.g., steelmaking, cement and aluminum plants) are also point sources of anthropogenic CO2. Thus, carbon mineralization using their own solid waste streams and CO2 leads to multifaceted environmental benefits including CCUS and solid waste management. Furthermore, industrial wastes often contain other valuable components such as rare earth elements. The challenge is that silicate minerals and alkaline solid wastes are chemically complex and their dissolution kinetics are very slow. In order to address these challenges and opportunities, we have focused on the fundamental understanding of dissolution and carbonation behaviors of alkaline silicate materials and integration of step-wise separations of rare earth elements from these unconventional resources.
Suggested readings
April 21Kevin Kroeger
USGS Woods Hole Coastal & Marine Science Center
Broadening the Agenda on Coastal Blue Carbon
Stated simply, blue carbon is the management of carbon sinks and stocks in tidal wetlands, particularly in salt marshes, mangroves, and seagrass beds. Assessments of carbon dioxide removal technologies highlight the limited scalability of coastal blue carbon, due to geographic restriction to the coastal zone. While that limitation is fundamentally true, in this seminar I will discuss several features that indicate that significant attention to coastal blue carbon is required, and further that there is greater climate change mitigation potential through informed coastal management than has been estimated thus far. Comprehensive accounting of the potential for greenhouse gas management in tidal wetlands requires consideration of: 1) the potential for management of non-CO2 greenhouse gases; 2) management history and future in the broader coastal landscape, and in context of sea level rise; and 3) dissolved carbon fluxes from tidal wetlands to the coastal ocean.
Suggested readings
April 28
David Keller
Geomar Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel
What Earth System Modelling Can Tell Us About the Potential and Side Effects of Marine CO2 Removal Options
The most recent IPCC reports states that carbon dioxide removal (CDR) or “negative emissions” is required to mitigate climate. Many carbon dioxide removal methods have been proposed. These include ideas to increase natural carbon sinks, to engineering new carbon sinks, or to combine natural uptake with engineered storage. Understanding of marine CDR method potentials, feasibilities, co-benefits, and risks are limited, even though it is now clear that a portfolio of CDR options will be needed at a large scale within a few decades. Earth system models are a key tool that can be used to provide a better understanding of the implications of large-scale CDR. They are especially suited for studying how the climate and carbon cycle will respond to CDR and can also be used to diagnose some biogeochemical and biogeophysical side effects. During my talk I will provide an overview of what Earth system models are, what they can and cannot do well, and how they have and are being used to study CDR.
Suggested readings
May 5Ocean CDR Panel DiscussionA comprehensive panel discussion on CDR methods, policy, and communication
Much of the work that scientists researching ocean-based carbon dioxide removal will have to do over coming decades will occur, in addition to in the lab and the field, at the interface between science and the public sphere. And that interface will play out across the broad avenues of policy development, governance of CDR implementation, and communication with decision-makers and the general public. This panel will explore relevant aspects of all three to set the stage for a discussion about how the current generation of ocean science graduate students might see their work evolving over the course of their career in some surprising ways.