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Oxygen





Peterssidan
What will happen to the oxygen on our planet? With increasing deforestation and other things we humans do to the environment I assume that the decrease in oxygen levels is inevitable.

How fast will the oxygen levels decrease?

What are the minimum oxygen levels we can survive?

Is the change slow enough so that we have time to adapt through evolution?

What are the minimum oxygen levels that animals can adapt to?

The oxygen levels has been much higher than it is today and started to decreased long before humans came along. Was this just because there was no animals before this and when the animals increased the oxygen levels eventually peaked?

Has the oxygen levels stabilized, will it stabilize in the future or are we going towards an atmosphere free from oxygen?
kelseymh
Peterssidan wrote:
What will happen to the oxygen on our planet? With increasing deforestation and other things we humans do to the environment I assume that the decrease in oxygen levels is inevitable.


Why do you assume that? What is the dominant source of atmospheric oxygen?
What are the dominant sinks of atmospheric oxygen? How are the sources and sinks coupled, if at all?

Quote:
How fast will the oxygen levels decrease?


Have you tried doing a simple calculation yourself? All the numbers requires should be publicly available, with a relatively simple set of Google searches.

1) What is the total mass of oxygen in the atmosphere (not percentage, but absolute amount)?

2) How much oxygen does tropical rainforest produce (e.g., per year per hectare or per square km)?

3) What is the current average rate of deforestation worldwide (in hectares or sq.km per year)?

4) Using (2) and (3) to compute how the rate of oxygen production may change, how does that compare with (1)?

5) What does (4) look like when translated into a compositional change?

Quote:
What are the minimum oxygen levels we can survive?


Have you looked up the physiological effects of low oxygen? This is a well-known occupational safety issue, so you won't any trouble find the answer if you just do some work.

Quote:
Is the change slow enough so that we have time to adapt through evolution?


Compare your result from (5) above with the answer to your previous question. Assume that human generations are 25 years (for convenience). Further assuming no other effects from the complex geophysical cycle (which is an extraordinarily stupid assumption), how many generations would it take to reach the minimum safe level? How does that compare with the typical rate of evolutionary change?

Quote:
What are the minimum oxygen levels that animals can adapt to?


Did you try searching for this?

Quote:
The oxygen levels has been much higher than it is today and started to decreased long before humans came along. Was this just because there was no animals before this and when the animals increased the oxygen levels eventually peaked?


Oxygen levels have varied substantially over geological time, as you will discover immediately as soon as you do your own research.
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