Seaweed and Iodine - Kamchatka Forest
Seaweed and Iodine
Seaweed has been used as a medicine as far back as 3,000 B.C but it was only in 1811 it was known seaweed contains large amounts of the halogen iodine. Quentin looks at why the iodine in seaweed may be intimately related to local weather and ultimately climate. A recent study has found that large brown seaweed release a form of iodine to protect itself from intense sunlight or low-lying atmospheric ozone, causing clouds to form. Quentin finds out more about this potentially “Gaia”-like feedback mechanism going on between the seaweed on the seashore and the local climate. Joining him in the studio are Dr Frithjof Küpper of the Scottish Association for Marine Science and Dr Gordon McFiggans from the School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences at Manchester University.
Also in the programme, Quentin finds out about an expedition to the Kamchatka forest in Far East Russia, one of the last wildernesses in the world, to understand its flora and fauna. Over the last ten years, land surface temperatures across Europe have changed relatively little. In contrast, temperatures in Kamchatka have risen by 1-2 degrees. Quentin meets Markus Eichhorn, lecturer in ecology at the University of Nottingham, who is leading the expedition to the Bystrinsky Nature Park in Kamchatka. As well as mapping and understanding one of the few existing terrains on Earth not affected by man, Markus will recording temperatures to see how climate change might affect the region in the future.