Low-oxygen ‘dead Zones’ In North Pacific Linked To Past Ocean Warming
Large-scale warming events 10,000+ years ago triggered loss of oxygen
(From the National Science Foundation) — A new study has found a link between abrupt ocean warming at the end of the last ice age and the sudden onset of low-oxygen, or hypoxic, conditions that led to vast marine dead zones. Results of the research, which was funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), are published today in the journal Nature. “This works tackles a long-standing debate about what causes expansion of Oxygen Minimum Zones, also known as dead zones, in the oceans,” said Candace Major, a program director in NSF’s Division of Ocean Sciences. “The results demonstrate a link between warming surface temperatures and dead zones at great depths. The findings also show that the response time between warming and dead zone expansion is quite fast.” Large-scale warming events at about 14,700, and again 11,500, years ago occurred rapidly and triggered loss of oxygen in the North Pacific, raising concern that low-oxygen areas will expand again as the oceans warm in the future.
Read the full article here: http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=136929&org=NSF&from=news