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Directory:Oxygen Depletion

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Page first featured October 19, 2008

A directory for Oxygen Depletion issues, technologies, resources.

Global warming is not the only consequence of increasing greenhouse gasses from natural and anthropomorphic sources. Oxygen used to be about 20% of the atmosphere; but today, in places like Tokyo, it is as low as 7%. Carbon dioxide is actually a fairly heavy gas (molecular weight 44 as compared to oxygen 32 and nitrogen 28) so that during times of little wind, it would have a tendency to settle in pockets.

Compromised levels of oxygen have a wide range of health and vitality consequences ranging from headaches and dizziness to an increased susceptibility to cancer and even death among those whose systems are already weak from other causes. This is true in the oceans as well, which are seeing an increase in hypoxic (oxygen deficient) dead zones in extreme cases.

"I do not think most people realize the dilemma which seems to boil down to the choice between breathable air or continued and increased burning of fuels." Adrian Akau, NEC
"Dead zones (hypoxic i.e. oxygen deficient water) in the coastal zones are increasing, typically surrounding major industrial and agricultural centers. This is commonly occurring due to nutrient pollution, in the form of nitrogen and phosphorous leading to algal blooms and eutrophication." (UNEP/GRID; 2004)

eutrophic (yū-trŏf'ĭk, -trō'fĭk): "Having waters rich in mineral and organic nutrients that promote a proliferation of plant life, especially algae, which reduces the dissolved oxygen content and often causes the extinction of other organisms. Used of a lake or pond." [1]


Contents

Overviews

"Oxygen is essential for all plants and animals to survive, whether they live on the land or in the water. Aquatic organisms rely on oxygen that is dissolved in the water. In most lakes and streams, the amount of oxygen in the water is continually being replenished by oxygen from the air. Sometimes, however, conditions exist in which the dissolved oxygen in the water is used up by organisms faster than it can be replaced from the air. If all the oxygen used up, the organisms will suffocate." (US EPA)
"The World Resources Institute recently mapped the world’s dead zones and found a whopping 415 eutrophic zones, including 169 that are known to be hypoxic and another 169 that probably are. The researchers believe the number is much higher, since only the United States and the European Union do an adequate job of counting and reporting problem coastal areas. China and other fast-growing Asian economies are likely polluting their coasts, but the problem hasn’t been documented, the researchers say." (Economic Obectorvism; Jan. 8, 2008)

- - - -

"I was certain that the increased burning of carbon fuels with the accompanying destruction of forest has had an adverse impact on the oxygen in our atmosphere and the this site [link] confirms my thinking in a most frightening manner. I do not think most people realize the dilemma which seems to boil down to the choice between breathable air or continued and increased burning of fuels.
"Right now we are stuck with the problem of Global Warming and no one seems to realize that our oxygen supply is becoming much more at risk as time goes by. I know that game fish cannot exist in lakes that have been depleted of oxygen because of excess algae growth stimulated with the dumping of phosphates and similar chemicals but now we are entering a like situation with our own atmosphere. I think the answer is awareness of the problem and the realization that we must turn to other sources of energy. I also believe that the problem of oxygen depletion needs to be brought to the attention of all in order to solve this seemingly innocuous but in truth, serious problem."
"We may be getting to the stage where we will have to be concerned about the amount of oxygen we have left in the atmosphere to breath. I read that the % of oxygen has decreased somewhat in the past century and that some sickness are enhanced because of this. I read that a research paper comparing the health of people living at low compared to high altitudes showed that it was the lack of oxygen that was harmful for certain ailments. Oxygen used to be about 20% of the atmosphere but today in some places, it is as low as 16%. Carbon dioxide is actually a fairly heavy gas (molecular weight 44 as compared to oxygen 32 and nitrogen 28) so that during times of little wind, it would have a tendency to settle in pockets. That is one reason cave exploration can be so hazardous."
"People living in large cities in India have such a high incidence of lung disease that older diesel motors have been banned. I have not read any carbon dioxide studies but reducing the amount of oxygen available, certainly places a strain on the heart, especially for old people with weak hearts and those with any type of lung problems. I sometimes see older folk carting or carrying around a small tank of oxygen as they shop for food."
"Carbon dioxide sequestering seems to be a stupid idea because the process also sequesters oxygen in the process. Someone needs to present calculations showing how the burning of coal, oil and natural gas is affecting our oxygen supply. The question really boils down to "how much oxygen would be left in the atmosphere if all fossil fuels were consumed?" Yes, people will say that trees and algae will take care of the oxygen production but the real concern is what level of oxygen is required to maintain a good healthy atmosphere for humans as well as for other living organisms." -- Adrian Akau, NEC

Research

"Mean dissolved oxygen concentrations in the world's oceans at a depth of 400 meters (1,312 feet) with blue contours representing the lowest concentrations. Boxed areas represent ocean regions analyzed in the study." (Credit: AAAS/Science)
"Mean dissolved oxygen concentrations in the world's oceans at a depth of 400 meters (1,312 feet) with blue contours representing the lowest concentrations. Boxed areas represent ocean regions analyzed in the study." (Credit: AAAS/Science)


  • Atmospheric Oxygen Levels Fall As Carbon Dioxide Rises - "It is roughly true that the oxygen depletion is equivalent to a displacement by carbon dioxide. Some of the carbon dioxide produced has been absorbed by the oceans. This process involves inorganic chemical reactions which have no effect on O2. Second, the O2:C combustion ratio of a fossil-fuel depends on the hydrogen content. The ratio varies from about 1.2 for coal, 1.45 for liquid fuels, and 2.0 for natural gas. Taking these factors together, we are losing nearly three O2 molecules for each CO2 molecule that accumulates in the air. (Sci-TechDec. 14, 2007)
  • Hydrography and Oxygen in the Deep Basins - There has been a steady worsening of oxygen conditions in the deep basins of the Baltic Proper since the saline inflows of November 2002 – March 2003. Deep water salinity remains higher than the 1990 values in the Bornholm Basin and Baltic Proper. (Helsinki Commission; Aug. 10, 2007)
  • Atmospheric Oxygen Depletion Studies - “Atmospheric "oxygen depletion" is an already existing practical harm to mankind, not a future possible risk!” (Advisor Chen I-Wan; Oct. 10, 2005)

Solutions

The problem of oxygen depletion can be "resolved by planting oxygen-producing plants; by reducing fires; by cleaning up the world from man-made pollution; by adequate sewage treatment; and by reducing runoff, thus reducing algae blooms. Air injection into anoxic water can also improve conditions worldwide. Migrating to non-hydrocarbon burning transportation will also help ameliorate this issue. Running Hydroxy generators and bleeding off the oxygen, so it is not burned in the process also will contribute to more oxygen in the air. We learned some time ago [at the expense of] the lives of some astronauts, that too much oxygen can make anything previously fireproof burn." -- Robert Pritchett
  • Be Aware of Oxygen levels When Treating an Abundance of Algae - The chance of oxygen depletion is much greater when a pond is not maintained on a regular basis or when water temperatures are at their warmest such as the dog days of Summer. The warmer the water, the less oxygen it can retain. (The Pond Guy; Aug. 26, 2008)

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In the News

  • Will We Run Out Of Breathable Oxygen If We Produce Too Much Carbon Dioxide? - Because of relative bounty of oxygen, scientists such as Pieter Tans of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration don’t fear that carbon emissions will cut off our oxygen supply. “Even if we were to burn another 1,000 billion tons of fossil fuels, we would only decrease the oxygen in our atmosphere to 20.88 percent,” he says. And even then, the effects that action would have on the environment—more particulate pollution, hotter temperatures—would be far worse than oxygen depletion. (PopSci; Sept. 23, 2008)
  • The oxygen crisis - The UN environment programme confirmed in 2004 that there were nearly 150 "dead zones" in the world's oceans where discharged sewage and industrial waste, farm fertiliser run-off and other pollutants have reduced oxygen levels to such an extent that most or all sea creatures can no longer live there. (Guardian.uk; Aug. 13, 2008)
  • Oxygen Depletion: A New Form of Ocean Habitat Loss - An international team of physical oceanographers including a researcher from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego has discovered that oxygen-poor regions of tropical oceans are expanding as the oceans warm, limiting the areas in which predatory fishes and other marine organisms can live or enter in search of food. (Scripps News; May 1, 2008)
  • Dissolved Oxygen Depletion in Lake Erie - In recent decades, the bottom waters in the Central Basin of Lake Erie become anoxic (without oxygen) in the late summer. Too many nutrients, especially phosphorus, make the problem much worse. Most of the excess phosphorus comes from human activities, including sewage treatment plants and agriculture. (US EPA; May 24, 2007)

Skeptics

  • Forget Global Warming, Here Comes Oxygen Depletion - The reality is, of course, that the oxygen percentage in the atmosphere has been 20.94 or 20.95 percent for thousands of years and probably much longer than that (see the historical graph on page 2 of Dudley 1998 that covers 600 million years). The amount of oxygen in the atmosphere is so huge that the biosphere (and fossil fuels which used to belong to the biosphere as well) is completely unable to change this amount significantly. (Stop the ACLU; Aug. 18, 2008)
  • et tu o2? - Discusses why O2 had to be shipped in to the BioSphere 2 project after 1 year as a sealed environment. (21st C; Aug. 2008)
  • The oxygen crisis - The man-made decrease of oxygen (O2) is controlled by the increase of carbon dioxide: they're inseparably linked to one another. The human activity has increased the CO2 concentration from 280 ppm two centuries ago to 385 ppm today (the schoolboy should have seen these elementary numbers during his "CO2 crisis" classes). Because many people don't know what the acronym ppm (parts per million) really means, even if they like to use it, let me tell you that it is the same thing as 0.0001%. Tatchell writes a lot of other incredible nonsense, for example that the oxygen in cities is much (by 15%?) lower than it is in the countryside. He probably believes that the pressure drops from 1000 to 900 millibars in the cities. ;-) (The Reference Frame; Aug. 17, 2008)

Discussion

See Discussion page

See also

CLIMATE CHANGE FOOTER

CLIMATEGATE

MANMADE MANIPULATIONS

GENERAL NATURE

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