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Scientists Say That Earth May Run Out Of Oxygen In A Billion Years From Now

A recent study reveals that after one billion years from now, the earth will contain very little oxygen. The research is published in the Journal Nature. Read


A recent study has revealed that after one billion years from now, the earth will contain very little oxygen. The research was conducted by Kazumi Ozaki and Christopher T. Reinhard and the findings of the research were published in Journal Nature Geoscience called "The future lifespan of Earth’s oxygenated atmosphere" on March 1. The study predicts that in a billion years, as the solar system continues its life cycle, the Sun will heat up so much so that the warmer atmosphere will break down carbon dioxide.

Little oxygen on earth after one billion years

The researchers have found evidence by combined bio-geochemistry and climatic model to examine the timescale of an oxygen-rich condition in Earth's atmosphere. In this new effort, the researchers sought to find the tipping point for life when the planet will no longer be able to support most plants and animals. The researchers created a simulation of Earth that factored in variables that described the climate as well as geological and biological processes, and most importantly, the activity of the sun. "We find that the mean future lifespan of Earth’s atmosphere, with oxygen levels more than 1% of the present atmospheric level, is 1.08 ± 0.14 billion years", the researchers were quoted as saying in the study.

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Difficult for plants to survive

The simulation showed that as the sun grew hotter, 1 billion years from now, releasing more energy, carbon dioxide levels in Earth's atmosphere will begin to drop due to the gas absorbing the heat and breaking down. Due to this phenomenon, the ozone layer will also be burned away. According to scientists, the sun will run out of energy and destroy itself. Life forms will likely find it increasingly difficult to survive before that though, as the sun grows hotter. During that time, plants releasing oxygen during photosynthesis will not be able to survive which would eventually cut down oxygen levels. Meanwhile, the simulation also showed increased levels of methane entering the atmosphere.

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