Phytoplankton (small marine algae) form the basis of the marine food web and are limited by the availability of certain elements (nutrients) such as nitrogen, phosphorous and iron in large parts of the ocean. These regions are referred to as ocean deserts.
Enhancing the upward transport of nutrient-rich deep waters using pipes or wave pumps (artificial upwelling) has a fertilizing effect and can make the waters of ocean deserts more productive. Through the stimulated growth of phytoplankton, more CO2 can be fixed in their biomass, which increases the carbon uptake of the upper ocean. When the phytoplankton die and their biomass sinks into the deep ocean, the fixed carbon can be stored at depth for 100 years and more.