The "Environmental Powerhouse" that are kelp farms and how they can help slow down global warming

The solution to lessening the effects of climate change on the environment may lie in underwater forests.

The "Environmental Powerhouse" that are kelp farms and how they can help slow down global warming

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, kelpᅳlarge brown algae or seaweed grows quickly and is nutrient-rich, allowing it to absorb carbon dioxide faster than other ecosystems, including all of the CO2 released from mangroves, salt marshes, and eelgrass put together. 

One of the numerous reasons kelp is being considered as a possible remedy for climate change, according to the experts, is the efficiency with which it extracts greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Not only does the growth require no fresh water or fertilizer, but it is also almost entirely sustainable.

Kelp is frequently farmed alongside mussels and oysters and is utilized for a variety of purposes, including culinary and cosmetic ones. Sue Wicks, an oyster and kelp farmer on Long Island, New York, believes there are probably uses for kelp that aren't even known yet.

According to Christopher Gobler, a researcher at Stony Brook University's School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences on Long Island, "anthropogenic," or human-caused, climate change poses a threat to exacerbate algal blooms and introduce additional heat-related problems like acidification, a process that is already destroying coral reefs.

In recent years, kelp farming has expanded in the United States. Gov. Kathy Hochul of New York signed legislation in 2021 to allow the cultivation of kelp and to improve the quality of the water and the habitats of marine life.

About ten years before kelp was introduced into Gobler's labs, seaweed was being used. According to Gobler, when scientists submerged the kelp in water, they saw that it removed nitrogen and carbon dioxide and replaced it with oxygen.

According to Wicks, efforts on all fronts will be needed in the pursuit of ensuring a healthy environment.

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