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Posted Mon Aug 9 2010: from Yale360:
A Looming Oxygen Crisis and Its Impact on World's Oceans
As serious as these dead zones are, however, they may be just a foreshadowing of a much more severe crisis to come. Agricultural runoff can only strip oxygen from the ocean around the mouths of fertilizer-rich rivers. But global warming has the potential to reduce the ocean's oxygen content across the entire planet. Combined with acidification -- another global impact of our carbon emissions -- the loss of oxygen could have a major impact on marine life. Scientists point to two reasons to expect a worldwide drop in ocean oxygen. One is the simple fact that as water gets warmer, it can hold less dissolved oxygen. The other reason is subtler. The entire ocean gets its oxygen from the surface -- either from the atmosphere, or from photosynthesizing algae floating at the top of the sea. The oxygen then spreads to the deep ocean as the surface waters slowly sink. Global warming is expected to reduce the mixing of the ocean by making surface seawater lighter.... more of the oxygen will linger near the surface, where it will be used up by oxygen-breathing organisms.
[Read more stories about: holyshit, ocean warming, dead zones, death spiral]

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