Hot Earth-Oxygen Depletion

“During the Jurassic, abrupt global warming of between 9 and 18
Fahrenheit (5 and 10 degrees Celsius) was associated with severe
environmental change. Many organisms went extinct and the global
carbon cycle was thrown off balance. One of the most intriguing
effects was that the oxygen content of the oceans became drastically
reduced, and this caused many marine species to die off.

“These intervals of reduced oxygen content in the oceans are now
known as oceanic anoxic events, or OAEs. OAEs are associated with
periods of global warming and have occurred a few times in Earth’s
history. In the recent study, researchers focused specifically on the
Toarcian OAE, a well-documented OAE from the early Jurassic.

“During OAEs, the remains of dead organisms and other organic matter
accumulate on the ocean floor and became layers of organic-rich
sediments. Today, scientists are examining the chemical and isotopic
compositions of these sedimentary deposits in order to determine the
actual extent to which the oceans became anoxic. By doing so, they
have been able to draw connections between oxygen-depleted oceans and
the disruption of Earth’s carbon cycle.”
“The structural relations within and between human societies
and their environments form the most complex systems
known to science.”

Charles D. Laughlin and Ivan Brady, editors,
Extinction and Survival in Human Populations

“Making connections is the essence of scientific progress.”

Chris Quigg, “Aesthetic Science,”
Scientific American, April 1999

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