Oceans losing oxygen at unprecedented rate, experts warn

09 Décembre, 2019, 20:41 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • Bull shark

Some of the oceans' most productive biomes, which support one fifth of the world's wild marine fish harvest, are formed by ocean currents carrying nutrient-rich but oxygen-poor water to coasts that line the eastern edges of the world's ocean basins. The number of areas in the global ocean depleted of oxygen, or anoxic waters, has quadrupled, the report found. The authors of the report indicated that in the years 1960-2010 there was a 2 percent decrease in oxygen content in ocean waters, mainly due to global warming.

According to the study, about 50 percent of oxygen loss in the upper part of the ocean is a result of temperature increase.

A study by conservation group IUCN has revealed that climate change and nutrient pollution are reducing the oxygen from our oceans and threatening many species of fish.

"Deoxygenation will have an impact on biodiversity, on the biomass of commercially important species and on rare rare species". As the warming ocean loses oxygen, the delicate balance of marine life is thrown into disarray,"saidIUCN acting director general Dr. Grethel Aguilar".

The world's oceans are expected to lose 3-4 per cent of their oxygen by the year 2100 if the emissions are not controlled.

These areas are especially vulnerable to even tiny variations in oxygen levels.

The report went on to say that deoxygenation is now altering the stability of marine life because it favours the species which don't require as a lot oxygen to thrive.

"If we run out of oxygen it will mean habitat loss and biodiversity loss and a slippery slope down to slime and more jellyfish", said Minna Epps.

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"The impacts here will ultimately affect and affect hundreds of millions of people", IUCN said.

The loss of oxygen from the ocean due to climate change risks "dire effects" on sea life, fisheries and coastal communities, a global conservation body said Saturday.

This week, the World Meteorological Organization said that because of the growth of human-made emissions, the ocean was now 26% more acidic than before the revolution industrial.

The report pinpoints nutrient pollution and climate change as the major culprits in the depletion, which threatens several species of tuna, marlins and sharks - larger species that have greater oxygen needs.

It comes mainly from increasing run-off from agricultural fertilisers, sewage, animal and aquaculture waste.

"We are now seeing increasingly low levels of dissolved oxygen across large areas of the open ocean", said Dan Laffoley, a co-editor of the report and senior advisor in marine science at IUCN.

World leaders will gather in Marseille in June for the IUCN's World Conservation Congress. "Decisions taken at the ongoing climate conference will determine whether our ocean continues to sustain a rich variety of life, or whether habitable, oxygen-rich marine areas are increasingly, progressively and irrevocably lost".

Policy makers are now negotiating at the COP25 climate summit in Madrid to ratify a comprehensive settlement for the 2015 Paris agreement.

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