Climate-friendly farming: Greenland’s melting glaciers offer an answer

Posted: November 20, 2021 by oldbrew in Agriculture, climate, Geology
Tags: ,

Greenland drink break [image credit: leisurelylifestyle.com]

As a bonus in today’s climate obsessed times, carbon credits could come into play for farmers to sell with this discovery. Even Danish brewers can benefit. Why fear glacier melt if it makes life better?
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On a shore near Greenland’s capital Nuuk, a local scientist points to a paradox emerging as the island’s glaciers retreat: one of the most alarming consequences of global warming could deliver a way to limit its effects, says Reuters (via Yahoo News).

“It’s a kind of wonder material,” says Minik Rosing, a native Greenlander, referring to the ultra-fine silt deposited as the glaciers melt.

Known as glacial rock flour, the silt is crushed to nano-particles by the weight of the retreating ice sheet, which deposits roughly one billion tonnes of it on the world’s largest island per year.

Professor Minik Rosing and his team at the University of Copenhagen have established the nutrient-rich mud boosts agricultural output when applied to farmland and absorbs carbon dioxide from the air in the process.

Scientists at multinational brewer Carlsberg are also investigating and have found that adding 25 tonnes of glacial rock flour per hectare increased crop yield on barley fields in Denmark by 30%.

Similarly, researchers from the University of Ghana, managed to increase maize yields by 30% using glacial rock flour to offset the impact of rain and heat on poor farmland.

The nano size of the silt’s particles is what allows plants more access to nutrients including potassium, calcium and silicon compared to normal rocky farmland.

“We are at the stage in this project where we definitely know that it works,” Rosing says. “There are many barriers between this and a big scale industry, but the potential is definitely there.”

Continued here.

Comments
  1. Saighdear says:

    Well, STOP ! first of all: a Billion tons, sure it’s not even a Billion tonnes, and is the Billion 10/6 or 10/9th power ? We already use ” Crusher Dust” since years … nothing new here to see.l

  2. oldbrew says:

    Report: The idea of applying finely-grained rock to farmland is not new and several studies have shown that by-products from mines or quarries can improve soil quality. But the method has gained interest due to the added benefit of absorbing CO2.

    Alleged benefit.

  3. Phoenix44 says:

    “…to offset the impact of rain and heat on poor farmland.”

    Yes, that awful rain and heat are terrible for growing things. I mean it’s not like we use greenhouses and irrigation is it?

  4. […] Climate-friendly farming: Greenland’s melting glaciers offer an answer […]

  5. Pete Rogers says:

    I wonder if – rather than tormenting the believers by chipping away at the silliness of the theory of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) – we shouldn’t take the easiest route to its dismissal and have done with it as follows. The AGW requires it to be the case that the Greenhouse Effect (GE) is responsible for the Atmospheric Thermal Enhancement (ATE) of at least 33C, but if we ask the simple abstract question “How would things be if – all else being equal – the Atmosphere was under less pressure?” we find the answer must be that it would be bigger, but with the same thermal energy content according to the 1st Law and therefore cooler – this is Charles’ law. Accordingly Gravity causes ATE to the extent that atmospheric volume is lost to compression by its force, therefore the AGW is untrue. This is not a theoretical argument against the AGW, but a consequence of the Laws of Physics so isn’t it high time to stop messing about and just drop this bomb on the AGW for its quick death?

  6. hunterson7 says:

    The soil where I live is infamous for its nutrient poor clay based soil. I have spread rock dust multiple times to amend my yard’s soil and improve the lawn and garden. For the climate crazed every day is new. That Greenland is in fact gaining ice mass is an inconvenient truth for our climate obsessed age.

  7. Gamecock says:

    ‘Known as glacial rock flour, the silt is crushed to nano-particles by the weight of the retreating ice sheet, which deposits roughly one billion tonnes of it on the world’s largest island per year.’

    Glaciers retreat by the edges melting back. Melting crushes nothing. I suggest the glacier crushed the rock, the ‘retreating’ ice sheet merely reveals it.

    Gamecock suspects that Mr Gronholt-Pedersen is physics challenged. ‘Crushed . . . by the weight of the retreating ice sheet’ makes no sense.

  8. oldbrew says:

    Glacier surges

    Most glaciers follow a regular and non-spectacular pattern of advance and retreat in response to a varying climate.

    https://www.britannica.com/science/glacier/Glacier-surges
    – – –
    But let’s blame humans anyway 🙄

  9. tallbloke says:

    Pete Rogers; I like your reasoning, and your plan.

  10. Graeme No.3 says:

    Pete Rogers:
    Be careful, you will have Greenpeace trying to ban gravity (they’re stupid enough). And Lord D*b*n will probably set up some (money from taxpayers) scheme to fight gravity change.

  11. Saighdeer, you are correct. All around the world there are localities with lush vegetation growing where there are sedimentary deposits of basalt (which is rich in many minerals and elements such as CA, Mg, P, S, and Fe). I was involved with a company that intended to grind basalt ( the most common aggregate for concrete and giving crusher dust) and adding ground limestone as a base for fertiliser and other specific materials such as gypsum. In trials the mix worked great for tomatoes, and the gypsum addition was great for chillies and capsicums (the S give the bite)
    Granite is not good for a concrete aggregate. Its main component is silica (the source of beach sand). So everything depends on the type of rock causing the sediments.

  12. oldbrew says:

    added benefit of absorbing CO2
    adding 25 tonnes of glacial rock flour per hectare increased crop yield on barley fields in Denmark by 30%

    Plants want more CO2, not less.

  13. chickenhawk says:

    what is the mechanism by which adding glacial rock flour causes the following:? “absorbs carbon dioxide from the air in the process”

  14. Saighdear says:

    Chickenhawk: the mechanism: one thing leads to another. Add enough Bulshjt, other “artificial” l fertilisers, water, HEAT and then light & with Photosynthesis, you get Plant Growth: build up of Carbon structure in the plant. to around a few tons per acre ( includes WATER too).
    Now, as of past few weeks in EU media , in S Africa they are CUTTING DOWN trees to save water. Can’t have one without the other https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0__OURYC-dA
    Hope this helps

  15. oldbrew says:

    Chickenhawk – it’s carbonation.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbonation
    – – –
    It is relatively simple to show that glacial sediments have great capacity to dissolve, but that they lack acid or CO2 with which to dissolve them. This naturally leads to the conclusion that adding CO2 to glacial flour will fix the CO2 due to the natural process of carbonation.

    https://www.findaphd.com/phds/project/glacial-flour-the-ultimate-carbon-repository/?p51806

  16. From Wiki https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basalt , Relative to most common igneous rocks, basalt compositions are rich in MgO and CaO and low in SiO2 and the alkali oxides, i.e., Na2O + K2O, consistent with their TAS classification. Basalt contains more silica than picrobasalt and most basanites and tephrites but less than basaltic andesite. Basalt has a lower total content of alkali oxides than trachybasalt and most basanites and tephrites.[8]

    Basalt generally has a composition of 45–52 wt% SiO2, 2–5 wt% total alkalis,[8] 0.5–2.0 wt% TiO2, 5–14 wt% FeO and 14 wt% or more Al2O3. Contents of CaO are commonly near 10 wt%, those of MgO commonly in the range 5 to 12 wt%.[55]

    The CaO and MgO in very fine basalt can in fact, when wet, take up CO2 to give CaCO3 and MgCO3. However, the take up of CO2 is much greater with plant growth. See my point higher up.

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