Scientists Are Uncertain Why Earth Is Leaking Oxygen, But, They’re Willing To Think It’s ‘Climate Change’

This is has been going on for 800,000 years, but, hey, it’s still probably your fault for driving a fossil fueled vehicle (via Powerline)

Earth’s atmosphere is slowly leaking oxygen, and scientists aren’t sure why

Don’t panic, but researchers have discovered that oxygen is (very) slowly draining out of Earth’s atmosphere, and right now, they’re not sure why.

By analysing air bubbles trapped inside ice cores from Greenland and Antarctica, a team from Princeton University has found oxygen levels have dropped by 0.7 percent in the last 800,000 years, and figuring out why could be crucial to predicting our planet’s future.

Getting the answer isn’t going to be easy though – oxygen on our planet is constantly being recycled by humans, animals, plants, and even silicate rock. Right now, ice cores are among the best ways we have of getting fixed readings of how much oxygen is present.

You know what’s coming, right?

An increase in erosion rates is one hypothesis behind the oxygen drop – more erosion would expose and oxidise more fresh sediment, reducing atmospheric oxygen levels.

Another possible cause is long-term climate change – over the last few million years, we’ve seen a slight overall drop in global temperatures, even though Earth has been rapidly heating up over the past half a century.

But before we started burning huge amounts of fossil fuels after the industrial revolution, the ocean was very slowly cooling, and that could have set off an ecological chain reaction where it started consuming more oxygen out of the atmosphere.

OK, so they are just “hypotheses that need further testing.”

While the rate of oxygen decline is nothing to worry about just yet, Stolper does have a warning about the last 200 years since the industrial revolution started, data which isn’t included in the new report.

“We are consuming O2 at a rate a factor of a thousand times faster than before,” he told Gizmodo. “Humankind has completely short-circuited the cycle by burning tonnes of carbon… it’s yet another indication of our collective ability to do what happens [naturally] on the Earth, yet so much faster.”

So, there you go. Time to panic.

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5 Responses to “Scientists Are Uncertain Why Earth Is Leaking Oxygen, But, They’re Willing To Think It’s ‘Climate Change’”

  1. david7134 says:

    Are they aware that there was a huge magnetic storm a few years ago and it stripped away a good portion of our atmosphere?

  2. drowningpuppies says:

    Maybe all the warmists should stop all their own hyperventilating…

  3. Jeffery says:

    As Einstein said, “Maybe using energy sources that consume oxygen is not such a good idea.”

  4. jl says:

    Maybe more CO2 greening the planet which in turn adds oxygen is a good idea.

  5. Tuesday morning links

    Pic via Driscoll at Insty Mirengoff: Thoughts on an unpleasant evening 24 of the Most Banned Books of All Time ‘Effeminism’ and the War on Boys Tough cookie: The only woman ever to make it to the finals of "American Ninja Warrior"

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