First Evidence: Ocean Oxygen Impacted by Climate Change

February 16, 2017


This is really unsettling.

Consequences of low oxygen ocean described in one of my most popular “Crock of the Week” videos.

Washington Post:

The paper, published Wednesday in the journal Nature by oceanographer Sunke Schmidtko and two colleagues from the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel, Germany, found a decline of more than 2 percent in ocean oxygen content worldwide between 1960 and 2010. The loss, however, showed up in some ocean basins more than others. The largest overall volume of oxygen was lost in the largest ocean — the Pacific — but as a percentage, the decline was sharpest in the Arctic Ocean, a region facing Earth’s most stark climate change.

The loss of ocean oxygen “has been assumed from models, and there have been lots of regional analysis that have shown local decline, but it has never been shown on the global scale, and never for the deep ocean,” said Schmidtko, who conducted the research with Lothar Stramma and Martin Visbeck, also of the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre.

Ocean oxygen is vital to marine organisms, but also very delicate — unlike in the atmosphere, where gases mix together thoroughly, in the ocean that is far harder to accomplish, Schmidtko explained. Moreover, he added, just 1 percent of all the Earth’s available oxygen mixes into the ocean; the vast majority remains in the air.

Climate change models predict the oceans will lose oxygen because of several factors. Most obvious is simply that warmer water holds less dissolved gases, including oxygen. “It’s the same reason we keep our sparkling drinks pretty cold,” Schmidtko said.

But another factor is the growing stratification of ocean waters. Oxygen enters the ocean at its surface, from the atmosphere and from the photosynthetic activity of marine microorganisms. But as that upper layer warms up, the oxygen-rich waters are less likely to mix down into cooler layers of the ocean because the warm waters are less dense and do not sink as readily.

“When the upper ocean warms, less water gets down deep, and so therefore, the oxygen supply to the deep ocean is shut down or significantly reduced,” Schmidtko said.

The new study represents a synthesis of literally “millions” of separate ocean measurements over time, according to the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre. The authors then used interpolation techniques for areas of the ocean where they lacked measurements.

The resulting study attributes less than 15 percent of the total oxygen loss to sheer warmer temperatures, which create less solubility. The rest was attributed to other factors, such as a lack of mixing.

Matthew Long, an oceanographer from the National Center for Atmospheric Research who has published on ocean oxygen loss, said he considers the new results “robust” and a “major advance in synthesizing observations to examine oxygen trends on a global scale.”

Long was not involved in the current work, but his research had previously demonstratedthat ocean oxygen loss was expected to occur and that it should soon be possible to demonstrate that in the real world through measurements, despite the complexities involved in studying the global ocean and deducing trends about it.

That’s just what the new study has done.

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25 Responses to “First Evidence: Ocean Oxygen Impacted by Climate Change”

  1. stephengn1 Says:

    This is one area where we can’t predict with a high degree of accuracy how fast it will get bad. Life is a intricate lattice or tapestry and we are pulling threads from that tapestry with our actions. But we don’t have enough knowledge to say when the tapestry will disintegrate. We just know it’s bound to happen and that the signs that it is indeed happening are all around us

  2. Tom Bates Says:

    what is unsettling is the lies and distortions. The ocean levels in the ocean vary. There have been a lot of papers on those levels since the 1960’s and even before. Ocean oxygen levels depend on saturation and that varies for a lot of reasons mostly temperature. When reading horse manure like this one should keep in mind it is colder than in 1000 AD and it was warmer than today for most of the last 4000 years except for the little ice age which cooled the oceans and increased oxygen concentrations. Since the oceans life was not killed off back than the minor changes going on as the earth warms will not kill of life in the oceans. CO2 warming has been measured at 2/10ths of a watt per sq. meter. That is 4150 times less than solar warming and 210 times less than warming from changes in earths tilt and orbit. Normal changes in solar gain from changes in the suns output are hundreds of times more than that warming.

    The world may in fact not be warming as radiosonde data shows no warming in 58 years, the STAR datea a cooling never a warming, RSS shows it was warmer in 97-98 than today. The only data set showing warming is Giss and ones dependent on the same factors. Giss is 66 percent fake plugged temperatures per a statistical study last year of the stations temperature records. Since the stations are less as one goes back in time the number of fake plugs in 1880 exceeds 90 percent.

    • philip6464 Says:

      What is your evidence for stating – as if it were established fact – that the oceans (or troposphere is you prefer) were warmer around 1000 AD than in the 21st Century? What gold-plated proxies are you alluding to, and how are you able to extrapolate these to the entire planet, and its oceans? This is, of course, the late unlamented Medieval Warm Period crock struggling to come back from the dead – just as myopic, illogical and irrelevant as it always was,

      The sum of all relevant proxies strongly suggest that the much vaunted Medieval Warm Period, is detectable (just) in some regions of Europe and Asia. That’s all. The majority of proxies – like those from the Pacific Ocean – show no warming at all (which make them suspect in contrarian eyes, naturally – since these are ideological convictions, not dispassionate scientific ones). In any event, even those reconstructed temperature averages were equaled or surpassed long before the end of the 20th Century. The simple fact is that once you go back more than about 400 years, the level of certainty about global average temperatures gets pretty low.

      In any event the rate of warming that might have occurred globally, was far slower than what we have witnessed in recent decades, and could be explained by small changes in solar radiance.

      The rest of your contribution is a gish-gallop of talking points, unsupported by any firm and checkable source (you only make vague references ‘data’ without being specific). Your comments about “watts per square meter” and what “has been measured” are spectacularly irrelevant, and show that you don’t even understand the basics of how warming actually occurs.

      So how is the weather in Russia right now?

    • webej Says:

      Of course the data are less certain the further you go back: everybody knows that, and that is why the uncertainty bands on graphs grow wider moving backwards.

      Where do you get your oft-repeated 4150 [?]: this implies insolation at 830 W/m². The usual value is a net 240 W/m² (average over the surface of the earth diurnially and seasonally) after losses from 340 W/m² due to reflection, scattering, atmospheric absorption, etc. The 0.2 W fluctuation (corresponding to 20 ppm CO² increase) is coincidentally about equal to the maximum swing brought about by variations in solar irradiance.


    • I urge you to research and read more widely, as you are embarrassing yourself.

  3. Tom Bates Says:

    “In the GISTEMP index, the tables of zonal, global, hemispheric means are computed by combining the 100 subbox series for each box of the equal area grid, then combining those to get 8 zonal mean series, finally from those we get the Northern (23.6-90ºN), Southern and tropical means, always using the same method. Hemispheric and global means are area-weighted means of the following 4 regions: Northern mid-to-high latitudes, Southern mid-to-high latitudes, and the Northern and Southern half of the tropics.

    For the global maps, we subdivide the data into the 4 regions 90-24ºS, 24-0ºS, 0-24ºN,24-90ºN and fill any gaps in one of those 4 regions by the mean over the available data in that region, and then get a global mean.”

    You notice if a sub box has few or no stations that box gets further and further away from any means to check the plugged in temperature. If no stations than the plugged in temperature is a total fake number derived from other sub boxes which can be and are thousands of miles away in the earlier periods that is what they mean by “fill any gaps”. .

  4. Tom Bates Says:

    What Giss is doing is taking a poor or no result data and plugging in data from somewhere else and if they have data making changes in that data if the data is different than the surrounding data. Example, NOAA has a blah where they say comparing two stations one at the bottom of the valley and another at the top of the valley would result is an incorrect temperature due to altitude so they adjust. In actual practice they adjust any temperature not in line with surrounding temperatures and never actually look at any station by physically visiting it. Do that to a lot of present day records from stations essentially at sea level like Barrow Alaska which was 5.1F colder than in 1902 last October fixed that, problem solved. Since the religion requires the arctic to be warming faster than the rest of the planet, those area adjustments are the same kind of horse manure statistics, they simply weight the arctic more than other regions and that raises the warming on paper.


  5. Getting a little desperate, aren’t you, Mr. Denier-Bates? Sad!


  6. FYI, https://tellontrump.com/

    “One thing we know about Donald Trump is that there are a lot of things Donald Trump doesn’t want people to know about. If you’ve reached this page, you might have information about the conduct of Donald Trump or his administration that you’d like people to know about. Here’s how you can tell us. ………”

    Trust me on this, the site is legit, and not a trap set up by the Trump administration in order to catch who the rogue EPA/NOAA scientists are. Nossirie. And there are no booby traps in my email system to catch hackers who want to find out what I knew and when I knew it about Exxon paying bribes to skeptics. Nope. None whatsoever. Trust me on that.

  7. indy222 Says:

    Should we welcome our new oxygen-hating Overlords – the jellyfish? They’re coming by the millions.

  8. Sir Charles Says:

    Tom has been spamming this site with umpteen repetitions of the same old myths over and over again. I’d say it’s time to ban this troll.


    • I say, that’s a grand idea, but why stop there? We should go to his home and take away those references he cites to burn, and if he has written papers or books, we should take those to burn too, and then we should go to other deniers’ homes to take away their books to burn as well. We should do this in the name of reason and clarity, and do it at night so that the flames might bring out many others who see things as clearly as we do. It’ll show everybody who’s boss here. This needs a catchy name, call it the Night of Crystal Clarity. We should wear similar clothes, to distinguish us from the others, and since we are all socialists against the capitalist deniers and tea party people, we should give ourselves a catchy party name, such as the National Socialists’ Party.

      I don’t see a problem with this, do you?

      • dumboldguy Says:

        No problem at all! OOH-Rah and Semper Fi! Sign me up, Russell—–but I want to visit YOUR home first. Your place will go up like a torch—-all that old and tired dried out horseshit you have piled all over will ignite easily. You can then rename your website GobsOfFlamingS**TFiles.com

        Since Bates lives in a rather damp cave under a bridge, and the horseshit that he piles up is still wet (although it strangely won’t stick to walls when thrown) he will be harder to burn out—-may need to use dynamite instead.


        • Omg. Nearly peed myself laughing.


          • Oh, the basic imagery is funny, I suppose, but as you watch the bonfire, the laughing dies down the moment one of you in your midst asks “What exactly in his GelbspanFiles blog was false?” You can just imagine the smile melting off “d.o.g.”‘s face when he screams “All of it!!”, to which the questioner says, “Ok, but give me a specific so I can write about it in my own blog”, to which “d.o.g.” replies, “don’t talk anymore about that stuff or I’ll burn down your house next!”

            When someone on your side says “we need to ban that person”, the question you should ask yourselves is where the banning stops, and whether you yourself are not immune from being banned if you dare to offer something so small as a correction to a misstatement, or the mildest form of questioning about the reasoning behind a particular assertion. Think about it.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            Tried to think about it, but Russell’s tired BS is the world’s best soporific.

            ZZZZZzzzzzz…..(snort, fart, roll over)……!!!!!

            (Don’t go to GobsOfFlamingS**TFiles.com to get more or Russell’s BS because you can’t fall asleep, though—–you may suffer a fatal overdose and never wake up).

      • Lionel Smith Says:

        I say, that’s a grand idea, but why stop there? We should go to his home and take away those references he cites to burn, and if he has written papers or books, we should take those to burn too, ….

        etc, etc ad nauseam.

        So Russell the Kook, the people you mix with really are considering a huge book burning spree with the likes of Betsy DeVos leading the charge, after all she is well connected that way having a fine ethically upstanding brother in Erik ‘Blackwater’ Prince who she could prompt into doing the nasty stuff.

        You see, I don’t think you are capable of the original thought to think up a scenario such as this by yourself. So much for the myth of human supremacy. Betsy DeVos would really love that book.


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