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Global warming could cause fall in oxygen, mass mortality

Global warming could cause fall in oxygen, mass mortality
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Earth-'s oxygen could dramatically fall due to change in ocean temperature of just several degrees, thereby resulting in mass mortality of animals and...

London: Earth's oxygen could dramatically fall due to change in ocean temperature of just several degrees, thereby resulting in mass mortality of animals and humans, scientists have warned.

An increase in the water temperature of the world's oceans of around six degrees Celsius which some scientists predict could occur as soon as 2100 -- could stop oxygen production by phytoplankton by disrupting the process of photosynthesis, the study said.

Phytoplankton, also known as microalgae, are microscopic organisms that inhabit almost all oceans and bodies of fresh water. They consume carbon dioxide, and release oxygen.

"About two-thirds of the planet's total atmospheric oxygen is produced by ocean phytoplankton - and therefore cessation would result in the depletion of atmospheric oxygen on a global scale. This would likely result in the mass mortality of animals and humans," said lead researcher Sergei Petrovskii, professor at University of Leicester in England.

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