Research predicts that within 15 to 20 years, human-caused deoxygenation will be felt across the world’s oceans.A new study published in the American Geophysical Union’s journal found that oxygen levels in the world’s oceans are beginning to drop as a result of climate change.Higher temperatures mean surface water absorbs less oxygen. Such surface water also becomes more buoyant and less dense. As a result, oxygen is less likely to make it into deeper water.The resulting conditions are dangerous to marine ecosystems, which depend on oxygen for survival. Already, coral reefs and other sea creatures are suffering adverse effects from a warming atmosphere and an increase in carbon dioxide that makes waters acidic, according to National Geographic. With the threat already underway, changes in the southern Indian Ocean and parts of the Pacific and Atlantic may be felt as early as 2030. Oceans in eastern Africa, Australia and Southeast Asia, however, won’t feel the impact until the next century.Scientists say carbon emissions must be reduced if we want to slow the oxygen loss, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. But monitoring and understanding where the oxygen levels are dipping, and how it’s impacting our waters, is also key.
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