Climate Change Alert: Ocean Oxygen Levels Starting To Drop

It’s no secret that climate change is a major issue in the world these days. The perils of climate change have now started appearing at an alarming rate and to further increase the worry, the new reports emerging have indicated that ocean oxygen levels are on the verge of decline.

Sydney Morning Herald reported that our oceans have become about 30 percent more acidic since pre-industrial times, as they are made to endure billions of tons a year of carbon dioxide released from our burning of fossil fuels and forests, making it harder for shellfish and crabs to form shells.

SMH also reported that oxygen levels in some oceans are beginning to fall, and widespread evidence of the trend should be evident from 2030 onwards.

The warming of seas absorbs the dissolved oxygen also because of climate change, ocean has a less chance of turning over meaning the oxygen present in the shallow parts can not make their way deeper.

Deoxygenation poses a major threat to marine life and is one of the most serious side-effects from a warming atmosphere, says Matthew Long, lead author of a study published in the American Geophysical Union’s journal, Global Biogeochemical Cycles. Long also added that oxygen is absolutely essential for any kind of marine life to exist.

“The extent we care about marine ecosystems for their intrinsic value, we should care. We’re also reliant on these systems for food — fisheries will be vulnerable.”

According to Perfscience, Regions like the southern Indian Ocean and eastern tropical Pacific and Atlantic are under threat, while eastern Africa, eastern Australia, and southeast Asia will not face the impact until the next century, as per the study published in Global Biogeochemical Cycles.

Long also predicted that, if warming continues, more regions of world’s oceans will get less oxygen.

According to a report in US NEWS by Jeff Nesbit, “A startling new study led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (the federal research arm of the National Science Foundation) published Wednesday found a disturbing trend – a warming planet could overwhelm natural variability and start to significantly affect oxygen levels in the oceans in just 10-15 years.”

“Loss of oxygen in the oceans is one of the serious side effects of a warming atmosphere, and a major threat to marine life,” said Matthew Long, who is leading the study.

“Since oxygen concentrations in the ocean naturally vary depending on variations in winds and temperature at the surface, it’s been challenging to attribute any de-oxygenation to climate change. This new study tells us when we can expect the effect from climate change to overwhelm the natural variability.”

“The National Science Foundation-funded study, published in the April 27 issue of the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, looked at how marine communities change across natural gradients to better understand the influence of the three climate stressors,” according to a news report published by Phys.

“These stressors are often under-appreciated threats to diversity and ecosystem health,” said Scripps biological oceanographer Lisa Levin, the senior author of the study. “Yet, they raise questions about whether, and how, populations will adapt and which stressors are the primary drivers.

These emerging threats put the life of the entirety of marine biodiversity into jeopardy. “Global change affects so many different environmental aspects, and across such a range of conditions, that it can be difficult to study in the laboratory,” said Erik Sperling, assistant professor of geological sciences at Stanford’s School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences.

Long believes that, in the longer term, the world has to curb carbon impacts and limit global warming.

“If the carbon dioxide-driven warming continues, the trend in ocean deoxygenation is basically an inexorable component associated with that warming,” he said.

[Photo by Pixabay]