In the largest ever report on dissolved oxygen levels that it hopes will be the “ultimate wake-up call” for lawmakers at the COP25 conference in Madrid, the IUCN concludes levels have decreased by 2% across the globe in just 50 years, and as much as 20% in the eastern tropical Pacific, the North Pacific and the Southern Ocean.
Models predict levels could drop a further one to seven percentage points by the year 2100.
“While we have known about dead zones in the ocean for many decades, ocean warming is now expected to further amplify deoxygenation across great swathes of the ocean,” said Isabella Lövin, minister for environment and climate and deputy prime minister of Sweden.
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