A new report unveils a devastating reality about the world's oceans.
An alarming new report suggests that time is running out for the world’s oceans and the marine life that lives in it — and fast.
Atmospheric pollution is heating up the Earth at a rapid rate, causing oxygen levels to plunge in the world’s oceans, slowly suffocating the bottom-dwelling fish that live there, according to a National Science Foundation statement.
This ocean warming is projecting to continue causing oxygen levels to dive in many hotspots that are already low in oxygen, especially the eastern Pacific Ocean, creating invisible barriers that close off vulnerable wildlife.
Scientists examined the influence of oxygen levels on the biodiversity of worms and mollusks for the study, which rockfish and other predators depend on for food. The warming oceans require fish and other sea creatures to require more oxygen, but in actually the water has even less due to circulation changes caused by climate change.
“Loss of oxygen in the oceans is one of the serious side effects of a warming atmosphere, and a major threat to marine life,” NCAR scientist Matthew Long, lead author of the study, said in the statement. “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 effect from climate change to overwhelm the natural variability.”
The statement adds: “The climate change pattern also became evident in the model runs around 2030, adding confidence to the conclusion that widespread deoxygenation due to climate change will become detectable around that time. The maps could also be useful resources for deciding where to place instruments to monitor ocean oxygen levels in the future to get the best picture of climate change effects. Currently, ocean oxygen measurements are relatively sparse.”