News

Oregon Now Has A Hypoxia Season, Just Like A Wildfire Season

"Scientists say warming ocean temperatures mean Oregon’s coastal waters now have a low-oxygen season, or hypoxia season, just as the state’s forests have a fire season.

Hypoxia is a condition in which the ocean water close to the sea floor has such low levels of dissolved oxygen that the organisms living down there die.

Some of the first signs came in 2002 when dead crabs were hauled up in crab pots. Since then, scientists and crabbers say things have worsened."

Source: earthfix.info
Author: Kristian Foden-Vencil

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Shift in large-scale Atlantic circulation causes lower-oxygen water to invade Canada’s Gulf of St. Lawrence

"The Gulf of St. Lawrence has warmed and lost oxygen faster than almost anywhere else in the global oceans. The broad, biologically rich waterway in Eastern Canada drains North America’s Great Lakes and is popular with fishing boats, whales and tourists.

A new study led by the University of Washington looks at the causes of this rapid deoxygenation and links it to two of the ocean’s most powerful currents: the Gulf Stream and the Labrador Current. The study, published Sept. 17 in Nature Climate Change, explains how large-scale climate change already is causing oxygen levels to drop in the deeper parts of this waterway."

Source: University of Washington
Author: Hannah Hickey

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Rapid coastal deoxygenation due to ocean circulation shift in the northwest Atlantic

Abstract.

"Global observations show that the ocean lost approximately 2% of its oxygen inventory over the past five decades, with important implications for marine ecosystems. The rate of change varies regionally, with northwest Atlantic coastal waters showing a long-term drop that vastly outpaces the global and North Atlantic basin mean deoxygenation rates. However, past work has been unable to differentiate the role of large-scale climate forcing from that of local processes. [...]"

Source: Nature Climate Change
Auhors: Mariona Claret et al.
DOI: 10.1038/s41558-018-0263-1

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Organic carbon burial during OAE2 driven by changes in the locus of organic matter sulfurization

Abstract.

"Ocean Anoxic Event 2 (OAE2) was a period of dramatic disruption to the global carbon cycle when massive amounts of organic matter (OM) were buried in marine sediments via complex and controversial mechanisms. Here we investigate the role of OM sulfurization, which makes OM less available for microbial respiration, in driving variable OM preservation in OAE2 sedimentary strata from Pont d’Issole (France). We find correlations between the concentration, S:C ratio, S-isotope composition, and sulfur speciation of OM suggesting that sulfurization facilitated changes in carbon burial at this site as the chemocline moved in and out of the sediments during deposition. [...]"

Source: Nature Communications
Authors: Morgan Reed Raven
DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-05943-6

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Evaluating climate geoengineering proposals in the context of the Paris Agreement temperature goals

Abstract.

"Current mitigation efforts and existing future commitments are inadequate to accomplish the Paris Agreement temperature goals. In light of this, research and debate are intensifying on the possibilities of additionally employing proposed climate geoengineering technologies, either through atmospheric carbon dioxide removal or farther-reaching interventions altering the Earth’s radiative energy budget. Although research indicates that several techniques may eventually have the physical potential to contribute to limiting climate change, all are in early stages of development, involve substantial uncertainties and risks, and raise ethical and governance dilemmas. [...]"

Source: Nature Communications
Authors: Mark G. Lawrence et al.
DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-05938-3

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Projected amplification of food web bioaccumulation of MeHg and PCBs under climate change in the Northeastern Pacific

Abstract.

"Climate change increases exposure and bioaccumulation of pollutants in marine organisms, posing substantial ecophysiological and ecotoxicological risks. Here, we applied a trophodynamic ecosystem model to examine the bioaccumulation of organic mercury (MeHg) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in a Northeastern Pacific marine food web under climate change. We found largely heterogeneous sensitivity in climate-pollution impacts between chemicals and trophic groups. Concentration of MeHg and PCBs in top predators, including resident killer whales, is projected to be amplified by 8 and 3%, respectively, by 2100 under a high carbon emission scenario (Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5) relative to a no-climate change control scenario. [...]"

Source: Scientific Reports
Authors: Juan José Alava
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-31824-5

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Transient cooling episodes during Cretaceous Oceanic Anoxic Events with special reference to OAE 1a (Early Aptian)

Abstract.

"The two major oceanic anoxic events of the Cretaceous, those of the Early Aptian (OAE 1a) and the Cenomanian–Turonian boundary (OAE 2), registered some of the highest temperatures reconstructed for the Cretaceous Period, and are thought to be related to the input of volcanically derived carbon dioxide from one or more Large Igneous Provinces. Widely distributed deposition of marine organic matter, the hallmark of OAEs, and intensified silicate weathering in response to a globally accelerated hydrological cycle and/or reaction of seawater with freshly extruded basalt, are both potential mechanisms whereby the content of atmospheric carbon dioxide could have been drawn down to promote cooling, on the assumption that this potential effect was not offset by increased addition of this volcanically derived greenhouse gas. [...]"

Source: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Author: Hugh C. Jenkyns
DOI: 10.1098/rsta.2017.0073

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Earth's oxygen increased in gradual steps rather than big bursts

"A carbon cycle anomaly discovered in carbonate rocks of the Neoproterozoic Hüttenberg Formation of north-eastern Namibia follows a pattern similar to that found right after the Great Oxygenation Event, hinting at new evidence for how Earth's atmosphere became fully oxygenated.

By using the Hüttenberg Formation, which formed between a billion and half a billion years ago, to study the time between Earth's change from an anoxic environment (i.e. one lacking oxygen) to a more hospitable environment that heralded the animal kingdom, a team of researchers led by Dr. Huan Cui of the NASA Astrobiology Institute at the University of Wisconsin–Madison discovered a sustained, high level of carbon. This influx of carbon, coupled with changes in other elements, indicates how changing levels of oceanic oxygen may have lent a helping hand to early animal evolution. [...]"

Source: Phys.org

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Lipids as indicators of nitrogen cycling in present and past anoxic oceans

Summary.

"Nitrogen (N) cycling influences primary production in the ocean and, hence, the global climate. It is performed by a variety of microorganisms, including eukaryotes, bacteria and archaea in oxic, suboxic, and anoxic waters. Our knowledge of the reactions involved in marine N cycling and its associated microorganisms has greatly increased in the last decade due to the development of multiple culture-independent methods. Among them are gene and lipid biomarkers, which hold taxonomic potential and can be successfully applied in modern day and paleoenvironmental studies. However, many aspects of N cycling and their long-term implications for the marine environment and the global climate still require more study, especially in suboxic and anoxic waters, including the oxygen-deficient zones (ODZs), which are expanding in the modern oceans.

Author: Martina Sollai

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