Canada is conducting a remarkable experiment off the coast of Halifax in the east of the country, in which a group of researchers from Dalhousie University performed an amazing feat: pouring 500 liters of an intensely pink liquid into Bedford Bay. While it could have been mistaken for an artistic performance, this act had a different goal: combating global warming.
The staining liquid used in this particular scientific experiment is Rhodamine WT, a substance that has been used for decades to analyze spreading and flow phenomena in aquatic systems such as rivers, streams and lakes. In addition to the dye, Canadian scientists have used a fleet of boats, drones and autonomous underwater vehicles for days to follow the blob’s evolution.
The aim of this experiment, beyond finding other ways to stop global warming, explains the Xataka portal, is to collect the largest amount of data for the test, which is to be carried out in a few months using the latest generation of climate technology and with to investigate how the oceans’ capacity to absorb and store carbon dioxide (CO2), one of the greenhouse gases that contributes most to climate change, can be increased.
The proposed strategy is to increase seawater alkalinity, which would increase its ability to absorb and retain CO2 from the atmosphere. This novel approach, known as “Ocean Alkalinity Enhancement” (OAE), is proving to be one of the options to reach the goal of zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
The use of the pink dye had a specific objective: to provide tangible data to evaluate the feasibility of the sea alkalinity improvement strategy. By monitoring the dispersion of the dye, scientists can understand patterns of water movement and verify the accuracy of their theoretical models. This data would be critical to measuring exactly how much additional carbon the oceans could absorb from the atmosphere in future tests of the alkaline solution.