by Alex Fox/Smithsonianmag.com
Oxygen levels in the world’s lakes are declining because of climate change, according to new research published last week in the journal Nature. Global heating is increasing water temperatures, which reduces the amount of oxygen water can hold. Less oxygen may cause problems for fish and other freshwater wildlife, reports Damian Carrington for the Guardian.
The study analyzed changes in water temperature, clarity and oxygen content for 393 lakes located in temperate climates in North America, South America, Asia and Europe over time. For some lakes, the data stretched all the way back to 1941, but the majority of the records began in the 1980s, reports Kirsti Marohn for Minnesota Public Radio (MPR).
Since the 1980s, the average oxygen content of these lakes declined 5.5 percent near the surface and fell by 18.6 percent in deep waters, according to the study.
“All complex life depends on oxygen. It’s the support system for aquatic food webs. And when you start losing oxygen, you have the potential to lose species,” says Kevin Rose, a freshwater ecologist at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the study’s senior author, in a statement. Read More: