If you’re a scientist or someone familiar with global warming then this isn’t a shock to you, but for everyone else; the oceans are losing oxygen. Why is this a big deal again? Fish don’t breathe. Wrong, in fact fish take in oxygen through their gills. The many types of plant life in the ocean also require a great deal of the oxygen in the water. Now this isn’t a huge deal, yet.
“A reduction in the amount of oxygen dissolved in the oceans due to climate change is already discernible in some parts of the world and should be evident across large regions of the oceans between 2030 and 2040, according to a new study led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research”
Now how does oxygen get into the water to begin with? Well that varies. It partially depends on surface conditions. Everything contributes to it, even wind speed. Oxygen naturally dissolves into the water from the atmosphere at the surface. Algae and bay grasses release oxygen during photosynthesis as well. Some of it flows in from rivers and streams but the oxygen still ultimately comes from the atmosphere. Even the oxygen from the depths of the ocean comes from the surface.
Well this is a nobrainer or at least it should be. Can you live without oxygen? No and neither can any other living thing on Earth. Now just imagine everything in the ocean dying. That’s a terrifying thought isn’t it? The world is more covered with water than it is land. Our ecosystem and the way we live thrives because the oceans thrive. It’s not a big deal though, right? Well not yet. Scientists have determined that it will be a big deal starting some time in the 2030s through the 2040s. Well now that’s not very far off at all. In fact there are already quite a few dead zones in oceans all over the world, including large ones in the Indian Ocean, Pacific Ocean and Gulf Of Mexico.
There are a great many things that can cause this. Like the BP Oil Spill any other disasters like that and the Nuclear Disaster in Japan. Truth be told though there was already a dead zone in the Gulf Of Mexico that took up more than half of it. Aside from polluting the water itself the global temperature has risen a couple degrees in the last few centuries. That doesn’t sound like a terribly drastic change but in fact it is. So drastic that the polar icecaps have melted much more than the usual in elongated Summer months. That actually has helped but will only continue to help in the short term. In the long term the heat in oceans closer to the equator will sap the oceans of more and more oxygen as time goes by. While a good winter in the northern areas could help us greatly, those are becoming scarcer as times goes by. It’s not that we’re not having some wickedly cold winters, it’s that they are shorter in comparison to the more mild winters we used to have.
Well the effects are not obvious yet at least not to most people. They may be getting a little more obvious to scientists and deep sea fishermen. How will this really effect us all in the long run through? For starters you can forget about that seafood you love so much. Rivers and streams also will lose their oxygen so they’ll be fairly dead as well. This will cause every species that eats fish and other marine life to die off quickly as well. So say goodbye to many spcies of birds, reptiles, etc. Mammals that depend on the fish for food and other things will have to find other sources for what they need. Grizzly Bears may become a little more carnivorous towards people. The Polar Bears and the seals they eat? Well they’ll both be extinct rather quickly. It’ll be a bad day all around really.
Sad to say there may not be much we can do about this now, and even the things we could be doing aren’t exactly being rushed into. Haste isn’t exactly something governments are well known for, and some deny climate change wholeheartedly. In short we can stop pollution our oceans, and we can try to stop pollution flowing into the atmosphere but with only a few decades to do so, chances of that working are getting lower by the day.
Awareness Or Wary
It would have been nice to be raising awareness for this years ago, or even decades ago but instead it may be a better option now just to be wary of it. We need a long term solution to this in the near future, and personally I’d rather that solution not be moving to another planet. Not that I think we’re any closer to that either, but I’d hate for there to be a rush to do that instead of a rush to fix our oceans and our climate. If you really want to see a change though, then there’s no better time to go Green and start voting in favor of climate protection laws.