DR Ambedkar IAS Academy


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  • It is the expansion of oxygen minimum zones in the world’s oceans as a consequence of anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide.
  • It is one of the most pernicious, yet under-reported side-effects of human-induced climate change.
What is the impact? 
  • The loss of oxygen from the world’s ocean is increasingly threatening fish species and disrupting ecosystems.
  • Deoxygenation is starting to alter the balance of marine life, favouring low-oxygen tolerant species (e.g. microbes, jellyfish and some squid) at the expense of low-oxygen sensitive ones (many marine species, including most fish).
  • Some of the ocean’s most productive biomes – which support one-fifth of the world’s wild marine fish harvest – are formed by ocean currents carrying nutrient-rich but oxygen-poor water to coasts that line the eastern edges of the world’s ocean basins.
  • As naturally oxygen-poor systems, these areas are particularly vulnerable to even small changes in ocean oxygen.
  • Impacts here will ultimately ripple out and affect hundreds of millions of people.
  • Species groups such as tuna, marlin and sharks are particularly sensitive to low oxygen because of their large size and energy demands.
  • These species are starting to be driven into increasingly shallow surface layers of oxygen-rich water, making them more vulnerable to overfishing.
  • Very low ocean oxygen can also affect basic processes like the cycling of elements crucial for life on Earth, such as nitrogen and phosphorous. 

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