IRON-SALT ATMOSPHERIC METHANE OXIDATION
Xploration ISAMO is a social mission to better understand and possibly address Atmospheric Methane.
What is ISAMO? While some scientists explore tropical rainforests and coral reefs to find chemistry that might be used in medicine, the ISAMO project is exploring the global atmosphere to find chemistry that might be used to heal the atmosphere from the effect of greenhouse gas emissions. This is why we are studying an effect above the oceans that we believe is removing methane from the atmosphere. The acronym ISAMO stands for Iron-Salt Atmospheric Methane Oxidation, and refers to the hypothesis that we want to test that Chlorine atoms are produced naturally by the action of sunlight on particles containing iron and chloride and these chlorine atoms oxidize atmospheric methane.
OceansX, as a social enterprise, is coordinating atmospheric sampling of existing natural phenomena to support the fundamental science behind Xploration ISAMO. OceansX’s vision is to facilitate governance structures to unleash our collective potential around complex challenges. OceansX liaises with the scientists and funders leading the research and links that to a network of seafarers, practitioners, businesses, etc. to support the mission. This unique way of working facilitates durable mission driven collaboration and guarantees open innovation principles.
Why are we focusing on methane? This greenhouse gas is responsible for about 1/3rd of current global warming, causing around half a degree of warming today. Compared to CO2, the difference is that methane is a much more powerful greenhouse gas, due to which a small amount of methane already has a big impact. At the same time it also does not linger in the atmosphere as long as CO2, which means that addressing methane can undo its warming in the short term. This may be the only way to prevent the planet from warming beyond 1.5 degrees.
Methane has a 100-year global warming potential of 32 compared to CO2.
Reductions of methane in the atmosphere are a critical component, along with sharp CO₂ emissions cuts, of achieving the temperature targets set in the Paris agreement.
OceansX will coordinate non-research ship crews to collect samples of compressed air in flasks. Air will also be collected at fixed locations of interest. Air will then be analyzed in the laboratory of Professor Thomas Röckmann at Utrecht University.
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