The new findings are a deep concern and add to the urgency for meaningful climate change mitigation. Matthew Long, an oceanographer at NCAR who was not involved in this study said: “This finding is deeply concerning because it highlights how little we know about our warming oceans.”
“The ocean is a large and complex ecosystem. Humanity’s influence on it can be seen in many ways, from changing the metabolic state of our planet to impacts that may manifest as major fisheries yields decline or disappear entirely.”
Using data from two climate model simulations, the researchers identified when deoxygenation would occur in global ocean basins. They found that it could happen as soon as 2019 if emissions continue on their current path or sooner than expected with low-emissions policies implemented worldwide
This study provides important insight into how our changing environment may impact marine life and habitats through increased underwater pollution caused by hypoxia (lack of oxygen).
In both simulations, the mesopelagic zone lost oxygen at a faster rate and across an area greater than what was seen in prior studies. This indicates that if we want to protect our oceans from global marine environments degradation then it’s important for us to reduce carbon dioxide levels now!
There are a few different reasons why oceans nearest to the poles may be more vulnerable. One possibility is that accelerated warming could cause deoxygenation in these areas, which would make them less appealing for life and wildlife as we know it – but there’s still plenty left unknown when it comes down right now!
The oxygen minimum zones are spreading into high latitude areas, both to the north and south. This is something we need to be more attentive towards as it may reverse global warming even if that were possible which I don’t think will happen anytime soon with our current climate change trends but there you have it!
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