MAY 29, 2016 11:22 AM PDT

The Oceans Are Losing Oxygen, Could Soon Affect Marine Life

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

Will the oceans one day run out of the oxygen that marine life relies on to survive? Experts seem to think so.

Oxygen levels in our oceans are dropping, and scientists think climate change has something to do with it.

In a recent study that was published in Global Biogeochemical Cycles, global warming could be causing more than just melting ice at the Northern and Southern tips of our planet; it could also be causing our oceans to lose their oxygen supply faster than it can be replenished by natural sources.
 
Among those natural sources are at the water’s surface, and from phytoplankton. The only problem is, warmer water isn’t as good at absorbing oxygen as colder water is, and this means less oxygen penetrates the water’s surface and gets deeper into the water where the animals reside.
 
"Loss of oxygen in the ocean is one of the serious side effects of a warming atmosphere, and a major threat to marine life,” said lead author Matthew Long of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).
 
“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 deoxygenation to climate change. This new study tells us when we can expect the impact from climate change to overwhelm the natural variability.”
 
The ocean’s life relies on the oxygen in the water to survive. Although fish don’t come up the surface to breathe, their gills filter out the oxygen from the water and replace it with carbon dioxide. When oxygen levels drop, fish don’t get the oxygen they need.
 
In some parts of the ocean, this is already happening; namely the Pacific Ocean. The authors of the study believe, however, that the problem will become “widespread” and “noticeable” across the rest of the world’s oceans by the 2030’s or 2040’s.

"We need comprehensive and sustained observations of what's going on in the ocean to compare with what we're learning from our models and to understand the full impact of a changing climate," Long said.
 
The idea that oxygen levels are dropping in our oceans is alarming because it could pose a threat to part of the world’s essential oceanic ecosystem. Fish are a huge part of the food chain, not only for other fish and sea creatures, but also for birds, and even people.
 
Source: NCAR

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
JUL 23, 2021
Earth & The Environment
RNA Alterations Boost Potato and Rice Crop Yields by 50%
JUL 23, 2021
RNA Alterations Boost Potato and Rice Crop Yields by 50%
Manipulating RNA could increase rice and potato crop yields by over 50%, according to a group of researchers from the Un ...
JUL 27, 2021
Earth & The Environment
Growing Microbes to Feed the World
JUL 27, 2021
Growing Microbes to Feed the World
With the ever-increasing population on earth, feeding the world is requiring more food production than ever before. The ...
JUL 30, 2021
Earth & The Environment
Megadrought Brings Western US Lakes to Record Lows
JUL 30, 2021
Megadrought Brings Western US Lakes to Record Lows
The megadrought affecting the western United States is not letting up, even though the monsoon season has begun. The lat ...
AUG 13, 2021
Earth & The Environment
As Above, So Below: Restoring Wetlands and Mapping Watersheds
AUG 13, 2021
As Above, So Below: Restoring Wetlands and Mapping Watersheds
Water is essential for all life on earth, and much of it is stored in wetlands. Biodiversity is high in wetlands, often ...
SEP 09, 2021
Cell & Molecular Biology
Nematode Worms Can Pass Memories On to Others
SEP 09, 2021
Nematode Worms Can Pass Memories On to Others
If an individual can warn their group about danger they might be able to overcome it. It seems that even a nematode worm ...
SEP 24, 2021
Chemistry & Physics
Protecting the Mango Plant with Signal Interference
SEP 24, 2021
Protecting the Mango Plant with Signal Interference
Researchers made huge steps in mitigating the virulence of a mango plant toxin by exploiting the bacteria and signal pat ...
Loading Comments...