Increasing Escape of Oxygen From Oceans Under Climate Change

Journal: Geophysical Research Letters

Published: 2020-06-16

DOI: 10.1029/2019gl086345

Affiliations: 3

Authors: 6

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Research Highlight

Global warming leaves ocean deprived of oxygen

© JodiJacobson/Getty

© JodiJacobson/Getty

Climate change could leave fish feeling breathless as warming oceans lose oxygen to the air.

Oceanic oxygen has been declining for several decades, but determining the cause of this trend is challenging due to the lack of long-term global observations.

Now, a team led by researchers from Lanzhou University have used a suite of global climate models to simulate the oceanic oxygen budget. They found that outgassing — oxygen escaping from the ocean to the atmosphere — is behind the recent decline, and that ocean warming accounts for around a quarter of all outgassing.

By simulating outgassing under future scenarios for greenhouse-gas emission, the team found that outgassing will accelerate, potentially causing a 2% drop in marine oxygen by the end of this century.

An increasingly oxygen deprived ocean could have a devastating effect on marine biodiversity.

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  1. Geophysical Research Letters 47, e2019GL086345 (2020). doi: 10.1029/2019GL086345
Institutions Share
Lanzhou University (LZU), China 0.83
Enlightening Bioscience Research Center, Canada 0.17