Understanding ocean oxygen depletion


(23.8.2021) New study helps to understand oxygen depletion - a sound basis for predicting changes in the future.

Coastal and open ocean systems have experienced a decline in oxygen concentration and an expansion of oxygen-depleted environment since the middle of the 20th century. This loss of oxygen from the ocean serves as a major stressor, affecting biogeochemical cycles and marine ecosystems, and may also interact with other stressors leading to synergistic impacts.

An overview about a system-specific driver of low oxygen in a range of case studies is given by a review in the journal Progress in Oceanography, with co-author Renato Salvatteci, geoscientist at the Center for Ocean and Society. The case studies represent marine systems in the open ocean, on continental shelves, in enclosed seas and in the coastal environment. Identification of similar and contrasting responses within and across system types and corresponding oxygen regimes is shown to be informative both in understanding and isolating key controlling processes and provides a sound basis for predicting change under anticipated future conditions. Deoxygenation results from a complex interplay of hydrographic and biogeochemical processes and the superposition of these processes, some additive and others subtractive, makes attribution to any particular driver challenging.



Dr. Renato Salvatteci