The Oceans Are Losing Oxygen and its a Big Problem.
World Oceans are slowly losing oxygen and this is a major problem for every living marine animal since it poses a threat to their existence.
Researchers says that the loss in oxygen underscores the serious consequences of climate change.
A recent Nature study by GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research shows that oxygen levels in world oceans have reduced by more than 2 percent in the last half-century.
The study’s authors mapped out global oxygen levels in oceans between 1960 and 2010. The 2% figure accounts for oxygen levels overall, but the researchers found many areas had more than a 4% decrease. The North Pacific Ocean and the Arctic Ocean saw the largest drops in oxygen volume.
Although the figure may seem insignificant to us, it is noteworthy to the marine animals. A subtle shifts in gas levels can alter entire ecosystems, scientists say.
An Earth science professor at Stanford University, had something to say.
“It’s significant, Anything with a gill is going to care and notice.” he went further to say “It’ll be harder for organisms to make a living in the ocean,”
Professor Rob Dunbar, who studies climate change in the tropics and Antarctica seas explained that the oxygen drop can have rippling effects across the oceans. Due to the dropping oxygen levels, Larger marine animals, like sharks and whales that require more oxygen to carry out high-energy activities like feeding and reproducing would be left with fewer areas to carry out their routine activities.
According to the Nature study, which was conducted by the Germany-based Research centre, overfishing and pollution are already affecting Coastal economies and fisheries. An additional loss in ocean oxygen and shift in gas level would be detrimental.
Coastal economies and fisheries, already stressed by overfishing and pollution, also take a hit when oceans lose oxygen. The gas-level shift poses “potentially detrimental consequences,” according to the Nature study, which was conducted by the Germany-based Research centre.
Due to the fact that marine animals are already being affected by human activities, such as fishing and dumping, It can be difficult for scientists to determine the consequences the rise in ocean temperature may have for specific ocean animals.
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However, Dunbar warned of dire consequences to sea life should the pattern continue. “Let’s say it’s another 2% in another 30 or 40 years, that will have a demonstrable impact,” he said. “It’s the whole food chain that gets affected by oxygen.” “To me, that’s striking,” Dunbar said.
“If you boil water to make tea, one of things you’re doing is de-gassing that water,” Dunbar said. “It’s just based on simple chemistry.” The same thing can be applied to the oceans. as the water becomes warmer from a hotter atmosphere oxygen will leave oceans as if it is being de-gassed from boiling.
Therefore, we can say that the gas levels in the ocean are controlled in part by the temperature of the sea. Gases — like oxygen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide — disappear from the ocean when water heats up.
The researchers suggested that global warming is increasing the temperature of the atmosphere thereby increasing the temperature of the oceans.
“Global warming is happening in the oceans,” Dunbar said. “The fact remains, independent of the cause, oceans are heating up.”
Temperatures in global oceans have risen more than a half-degree Celsius between 1960 and 2010, according to a 2014 Science study.