Global Warming

This Stretch of Water Is Losing Oxygen Faster Than Almost Anywhere Else in The Ocean

A new study links rapid deoxygenation in the Gulf of St. Lawrence to two powerful currents: the Gulf Stream and the Labrador Current.

The broad, biologically rich waterway in Eastern Canada which drains North America’s Great Lakes and is popular with fishing boats, whales, and tourists has lost oxygen faster than almost anywhere else in the global oceans.

The paper, which appears in Nature Climate Change, explains how large-scale climate change already is causing oxygen levels to drop in the deeper parts of this waterway.

The findings confirm a recent study showing that, as carbon dioxide levels rose over the past century due to human emissions, the Gulf Stream has shifted northward and the Labrador Current has weakened.

The new paper finds that this causes more of the Gulf Stream’s warm, salty, and oxygen-poor water to enter the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Oxygen declines have been seen to affect Atlantic wolffish, and also threaten Atlantic cod, snow crabs, and Greenland halibut that all live in the depths.

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