Although plastic pollution and coral bleaching are two of the most discussed issues when it comes to Earth’s oceans, a recently published study has revealed that depleting oxygen in Earth’s oceans are creating more dead zones.
The recently published research paper in the journal Science has revealed that amount of areas in the open ocean with zero oxygen have increased over four times over last 50 years while the low oxygen zones in coastal regions have risen over ten times since 1950. As the Earth continues to warm, these numbers will continue to grow in coming years.
Understandably, increased number of dead zones in Earth’s oceans will have serious consequences due to imbalance in oceans’ ecosystems. For instance, without Oxygen, the marine life of an affected area could eventually die. Moreover, these dead zones will become unable to support growth. As a result, animals will avoid these areas which will result in these species becoming vulnerable to predators and fishing. Apart from creating imbalanced ecosystem in oceans, the low oxygen level can trigger release of nitrous oxide which is 300 times more powerful than both carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide.
Researchers also noted that while the solution might take decades, it’s still possible as we can start reducing fossil fuel use which will ultimately result in reduced air pollution. Apart from this, the waters where the marine life escapes from low-oxygen area could be turned into marine protected areas to help the ocean’s ecosystem.
Image: National Park Service