Restore Our Climate
Iron Salt Aerosol Safely Removes Atmospheric Methane
Why remove atmospheric methane?
Methane is a potent greenhouse gas responsible for around one third of global warming (1). Recent spikes in atmospheric methane measurements in the Arctic show there is a high probability of a huge release of methane from thawing permafrost and from the floor of the Arctic Ocean. This could accelerate climate change with catastrophic results, unless urgent action is taken.
Iron salt aerosols cooled the planet during the ice ages
Over the past million years, naturally occurring Iron Salt Aerosol (ISA) has significantly depleted atmospheric methane. It exists in airborne dust particles originating largely from deserts and glacial rock erosion. In the presence of sunlight, ISA breaks down methane molecules through a series of chemical reactions. This iron-containing dust quickly washes out with rain, becoming a nutrient for aquatic and plant life.
With the UK Parliament joining many other national governments and international institutions in declaring a climate emergency, new impetus has been given to radical approaches which aim to reverse the damage caused by greenhouse gas emissions.
The Technical Strategy Board of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers held a meeting in London on 11 September 2019, which aimed to introduce tools and technologies to repair the Earth’s climate.
You can view the slideshow itself as well.
The opening presentation was delivered by Sir David King FRS, former Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Prime Minister. In particular, the meeting focused on Iron Salt Aerosol (ISA), a technique inspired by the Earth’s natural corrective mechanisms to stabilise its climate. This technology still needs laboratory testing and atmospheric modeling as well as field trials, but many experts believe it to be the most promising method available. This video gives an excellent introduction to our work.
The Iron Salt Aerosol method offers a way to quickly, safely, and inexpensively remove methane from the atmosphere. Testing is the immediate priority of Restore Our Climate and we are currently seeking funds to conduct atmospheric modelling simulations in conjunction with specialized smog chamber testing. Once the ISA method is proven, we aim to move on to field trials and eventual deployment.
(1) . Stocker, T.F et al., IPCC AR5 (2013): The Physical Science Basis, Technical Summary , Fig. TS. 7, p57
(2) Jackson, R. B., et al. “Methane removal and atmospheric restoration.” Nature Sustainability 2.6 (2019): 436-438.