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Major Study Brings To Light The Lesser Known Consequence of Ocean Warming: Oxygen Depletion

Source: Phys.org/University of Exeter - March 8, 2018 in Featured, Science/Tech

Major Study Brings To Light The Lesser Known Consequence of Ocean Warming: Oxygen Depletion
Photo: Brandon Kawamura/Unsplash

A major study into an ancient climate change event that affected a significant percentage of Earth’s oceans has brought into sharp focus a lesser-known villain in global warming: oxygen depletion.

The study, just published in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), examined a past period of  around 94 million years ago, when oceans became de-oxygenated.

This famous period in Earth’s geological history, known as an Oceanic Anoxic Event (OAE), was more severe and on much longer timescales than the current changes. But it has given the scientists studying this period an extreme case-study to help understand how the oceans are effected by high atmospheric CO2 emissions.

Research Fellow Dr. Matthew Clarkson and Professor Claudine Stirling, of the Chemistry Department at The University of Otago (New Zealand), applied a revolutionary new tool to examine how the oceans responded to climate change in the past.

Professor Tim Lenton, of the University of Exeter, developed a model to interpret the new data whilst visiting the University of Otago.

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