Earth is Losing Oxygen


UT Student Newspaper | Est. 1933


“We’ve been losing hydrogen since the day the planet formed, because it is so light,” said Dr. James A. Gore, UT’s Dean of Natural and Health Sciences. “Well, oxygen is pretty light too.”

According to a new study published Aug. 2 and conducted by a team of researchers, including Princeton geochemist, Daniel Stolper, atmospheric oxygen levels on Earth have declined. They analyzed the air trapped in ice caps located in Greenland and Antarctica. The findings of the study indicate that oxygen levels have fallen about 0.7 percent over the past 800,000 years. That may not sound like much, but some are concerned that this is just one sign of a much bigger problem — climate change.

“The question is, is it starting to accelerate; are we losing it [oxygen] faster now than we did by natural processes?” Gore said. “And I would say the answer is yes.”

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