Preliminary research published today in the journal Nature suggests that iron could be dispersed in cold, biologically barren seas near Antarctica to feed large algae blooms that would sop up carbon dioxide from the air and in so doing help fend off global warming. Theoretically, the plants would sink to the ocean bottom, removing CO2 from the atmosphere for centuries, but the researchers said they had not tracked the experimental blooms long enough to determine whether the CO2 pulled from the air would sink or be released again into the air. Further, they said that at best, fertilizing the sea with iron to produce the blooms would only absorb a small amount of CO2. Study coauthor Edward Abraham, an oceanographer at New Zealand’s National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research, said the method should not be considered a solution to global warming.