Indian and German scientists began strewing iron powder on hundreds of square kilometres of the Antarctic ocean in a momentous experiment that may yield a solution to the global warming crisis.
Some environmentalists have opposed the work of Indian and German scientists aboard the Polarstern, a German research icebreaker, but Berlin ruled Monday the project is safe and breaks no laws.
The Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) based in the German port of Bremerhaven said on Tuesday a radio buoy was released on the water and ferrous sulphate powder was mixed with seawater in two tanks on the vessel, then broadcast on the ocean.
Six tonnes of iron are to be scattered on 300 sq Km of sea to fertilize the growth of phytoplankton. The tiny organisms will remove carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, from the atmosphere and take it deep under the ocean surface.
The experiment is the biggest trial ever of iron fertilization, a technology which could stop global warming at very little cost.
Thirty Indian scientists and 18 from other nations left Cape Town on board the Polarstern January 7 to carry out the experiment.
Germany suspended the work in mid-January, but the Science Ministry in Berlin later said it would not kill any species.
"I am convinced there are no scientific or legal objections to the German-Indian marine research project," Science Minister Annette Schavan said on Monday.