Posted 2 марта 2021, 11:33

Published 2 марта 2021, 11:33

Modified 24 декабря 2022, 22:38

Updated 24 декабря 2022, 22:38

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Model of the future: life on Earth will die from lack of oxygen in a billion years

2 марта 2021, 11:33
Oxygen makes up 21% of the total volume of the Earth's atmosphere. Thanks to this, large and complex organisms, for example, people have ideal conditions for existence. In the distant future, the oxygen level will fall to critical levels, and almost all the current inhabitants of the planet will die.

A team of scientists from Japan and the United States created a computer model showing the climate, biology and geology of the Earth in the future, and predicted how this will change the atmosphere of our planet. Reported by New Scientist. It turned out that for the next billion years, a high level of oxygen will be maintained in the atmosphere, and then everything will return to low levels, comparable to those that existed before the Oxygen Catastrophe. After this event, which happened about 2.4 billion years ago, oxygen on our planet began to grow.

One reason for this shift is that the sun, as it ages, will get hotter and release more energy. This will reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as CO2 absorbs heat and then breaks down. In a billion years, carbon dioxide levels will be so low that organisms that live by photosynthesis, including plants, cannot produce oxygen. After their mass extinction, oxygen will be reduced to extreme values - a million times lower than the current ones. At the same time, there will be an increase in methane content - in the atmosphere it will be 10,000 times more than today.

These changes will progress very quickly: the Earth's atmosphere can lose oxygen within only 10,000 years, and the biosphere will not be able to adapt to such a drastic change in the environment. The ozone layer, made up of oxygen, will deplete, exposing the Earth and oceans to high levels of ultraviolet radiation and heat from the scorching sun. Simultaneously with life on the surface of the Earth, life in water will also cease. Only microbes can sustain existence. The simplest bacteria will become the main hosts of the Earth.

The research is published in the journal Nature Geoscience.