Geoengineering Potential of Mineral Weathering Schemes

For instructors who include a module on climate geoengineering, there is a very good new article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the United States on the carbon dioxide removal option of mineral sequestration, Mineral sequestration is a geoengineering approach that contemplates acceleration of the natural weathering process, producing a reaction between silicate rocks and carbon dioxide that forms solid carbonate and silicate materials. The reaction consumes one carbon dioxide molecule for each silicate molecule, with storage of carbon as a solid mineral.  The PNAS article focuses on silicate weathering of the mineral olivine.

Among the article’s take-aways:

  1. Enhanced silicate weathering by dissolution of olivine in the humid tropics, an optimal area to effectuate this scheme, could store approximately 1 Pg of carbon per year. This is 20% less than estimated in some previous studies;
  2. Another complementary option would be to dissolve olivine powder in open ocean surface waters. This could increase sequestration to a maximum of 5 Pg of carbon annually. This could reduce warming by 0.6-1.1K
    • The increase of riverine input of silicic acid into the world’s oceans might also enhance the marine biological pump, ultimately enhancing oceanic sequestration of carbon dioxide
  3. Environmental impacts need to be further assessed , including potential increases in alkalinity and silic acid in soils and aquatic ecosystems.

Webinar on Misconceptions about Climate Change

Hello and Happy New Year!

Is your New Year’s resolution to learn more about strategies for teaching climate change? If so, we can help!

Our January webinar will cover the lively topic of student misconceptions about climate change, and will be presented by Susan Buhr. The webinar is nearly full, so if you are interested in attending please register soon. I predict we’ll be capping registration for this event fairly soon. All the details are below.



Please join us January 21st for an On the Cutting Edge Climate & Energy Series webinar on:
Misconceptions About Climate Change, by Susan Buhr, University of Colorado

Time – 10:00 am Pacific | 11:00 am Mountain | 12:00 pm Central | 1:00 pm Eastern
Duration – 1 hour. The presentation will be 45 minutes, followed by 15 minutes of discussion.
Format – Online web presentation via phone and Elluminate web conference software with questions and answers following.

Webinar goal:
Assist educators of climate science in identifying the most common misconceptions of climate change and in developing strategies for how to handling these in classroom learning.

– There is no registration fee, but registration is required to save a space (and because space is limited to 20, be sure you can commit before registering). Registration closes when the spaces fill or one week before each event, whichever comes first.

Web page and registration form

There is no shortage of misconceptions, misinformation and inaccuracies within the topic of climate change. Along with teaching evolution, climate change remains one of the most highly controversial topics in today’s science classroom. This presentation will identify common misconceptions held by students and will offer pedagogic strategies for handling various types of misconceptions in the college classroom. During the discussion portion of the session, participants will be encouraged to share their own techniques that have been successful. Dr. Buhr directs the Education Outreach program of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado.

If you missed our December Book Club, but would like to review the summary of the discussion with links, please visit our webpage:

thank you,

Climate & Energy Webinar Series Planning Team
Karin Kirk — Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Carleton College
Jimm Myers — University of Wyoming
Katryn Wiese — City College of San Francisco