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Depleting Oxygen

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posted on Sep, 22 2008 @ 11:08 AM
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The Decline of Atmospheric free Oxygen

Since we have begun to measure in 1989, there has been a steady decline of free oxygen in our atmosphere. And while this is nothing more than expected, since every molecule of additional carbon dioxide locks up two oxygen atoms, the free oxygen decline is greater than the carbon dioxide lock-up.

The greater than expected overall free oxygen decline is proof that the Earth's photosynthetic capacity has declined. And since there has been no measurable decline in plankton, and consequently, in marine photosynthesis, as long expected and measured due to the increase of hard UVB radiation at surface level, the decline points straight at the only other source of free oxygen - the forests and green cover of the continents.

Depletion

If this is true, then we are indeed in dire straights. Yet, we continue to pollute and destroy the natural environment. How stupid are we, really?

Here is a link to a very long article about the depletion of oxygen and the extinction of the dinosaurs: Dinosaurs

Could it be that the dinosaurs died off due to the lack of oxygen? If so, what does that mean for humanity and the continuous depletion of oxygen?

Scientists say that the earth's atmosphere was once made up of 38% oxygen. Now it is only at 21% and in polluted areas, it can be anywhere from 12-15%. Human life can only be sustained at a level of 7% oxygen.

So, what should we do?

[edit on 22-9-2008 by SpeakerofTruth]




posted on Sep, 22 2008 @ 11:26 AM
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See, that's the scary thing about this whole "global warming" hubbub. Of COURSE carbon emissions are higher than ever, the population of the planet is higher than ever. But people only want to look at fossil fuels and whatnot as the cause. Sure, 6 billion people, most with cars or other "carbon footprint" deals are contributing but the one thing that NATURE (which all these greenie weenies CLAIM to love and adore) provides to clean the air, nature's own carbon scrubber, is being destroyed for trivial reasons, like banana farms and cattle grazing.

And now in California they want to build a toll road that will destroy most of San Onofre park! So much for Cali being the progressive state that they claim.

--Apex

Edit to add: Plant a tree! I think you can actually buy a sapling sequoia and plant it and the proceeds from the sales go to saving the redwood forests in the Pacific Northwest.

[edit on 22-9-2008 by Apex Predator]



posted on Sep, 22 2008 @ 11:30 AM
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reply to post by Apex Predator
 



Well, it's amazing to me that people argue that a "green society" would harm the economy. However, I have one question. What good is a "good economy" if we can't even breathe?


[edit on 22-9-2008 by SpeakerofTruth]



posted on Sep, 22 2008 @ 11:36 AM
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Apex. I will say this... It is indeed intriguing that states, such as California, that claim to be so "concerned" are quick to want to build highways and such through wildlife preserves.

I came back to my hometown a few months ago, and I was shocked at how much timber cutting they are doing around here. For what? They can't say that it is merely for paper; we have the # stockpiled. It just doesn't make sense to me. :shk:



posted on Sep, 22 2008 @ 11:38 AM
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reply to post by SpeakerofTruth
 


I think most "average" people's willingness to resist a "green society" is that they are put off by the holier than thou attitudes put forth by some "green warriors." I know not every environmental proponent is like that but those that are "crazy" are the ones who get the airtime because crazy sells ad space...lol

Either that or they are too entrenched into the whole us versus them attitude that permeates society these days. Like the whole Democrat/Republican bi-partisan bull that has run rampant. Either you're a Commie or a Christian Fundamentalist. No one wants to admit that the majority of both Dems and Repubs are middle of the road. Anyway, I don't want to get flamed for going off topic so I'll just shut up now....plant a tree, there, I'm back on topic...lol

--Apex



posted on Sep, 22 2008 @ 11:44 AM
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Originally posted by Apex Predator

I think most "average" people's willingness to resist a "green society" is that they are put off by the holier than thou attitudes put forth by some "green warriors." I know not every environmental proponent is like that but those that are "crazy" are the ones who get the airtime because crazy sells ad space...lol



True. There are some pretty radical ideas on the "green" side of the fence. I don't think that we need a complete overhaul of the system, but something needs to change, quickly.

People say, "Well, they are working on things that will come into effect in 20-30 years." Twenty or thirty years ???!!! How about right now? There is not much anyoe can say to convince me that major changes couldn't be made now.

[edit on 22-9-2008 by SpeakerofTruth]



posted on Sep, 22 2008 @ 11:47 AM
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Great post...

i remember seeing somewhere that most of the CO2 cleaning gets done in the temperate forests from NW North America to Siberia. and the the only thing keeping the Earth from spiraling outta control and running out of O2 is that we cant really clear cut Siberia like we've done in most other places...

Have you ever seen the pictures of the virgin forests in the eastern US? sure there not as big as the NW but still. In West Virgina almost the entire state has been harvested of the old growth timber in the last hundred years know most trees are under 40 to 60 years old some even younger are being cut thanks to the chip board and plywood makers that got tax breaks to move into the state.

So now when you drive down the I79 you see an overstuffed log truck full of 8 inch logs not even 10 or 15 years old as your driving past a whole mountain that has just been clear cut.

I'm no hippie but i really hate that.

peace

Justice



posted on Sep, 22 2008 @ 12:13 PM
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reply to post by ...and justice for some
 


Exactly, Clear-Cut logging is the worst. The problem is that people want to go green but don't totally understand what that really means. When the logging and building industry talk about lumber being a renewable resource and it's the greenest way to build a home people are duped into buying that line. Personally I think that a renewable resource in the real estate industry is a brick home that can be passed to future generations vice a cheapo tract home that will be easily damaged or destroyed in a hurricane or tornado.

I think the main problem with global warming and oxygen depletion is that too many people focus on the problem and not the solution. When people do focus on the solution it's usually the solution to only one small problem that has no effect on the big problems or the whole of climate change.

--Apex



posted on Sep, 22 2008 @ 12:21 PM
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Originally posted by Apex Predator
[
I think the main problem with global warming and oxygen depletion is that too many people focus on the problem and not the solution.


Certainly. It is easy to point out problems, not so much finding the answers. I mean, I suppose that people could start growing trees en masse. However, I have to wonder how many people would participate in such a venture.



posted on Sep, 22 2008 @ 12:28 PM
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I came across another article about this topic. It's not only an issue for us, but for sea life as well. I suppose that is why we have had so many fish deaths over recent years.


[WASHINGTON—Low-oxygen zones where sea life is threatened or cannot survive are growing as the oceans are heated by global warming, a new study warns. Oxygen-depleted zones in the central and eastern equatorial Atlantic and equatorial Pacific oceans appear to have expanded over the last 50 years, researchers report in Friday's edition of the journal Science.
Sea



posted on Sep, 22 2008 @ 01:19 PM
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This is interesting to say the least. However, I am having trouble putting much stock in the report due to a couple of scientific errors I have found:

1) This statement:

And while this is nothing more than expected, since every molecule of additional carbon dioxide locks up two oxygen atoms, the free oxygen decline is greater than the carbon dioxide lock-up.

The greater than expected overall free oxygen decline is proof that the Earth's photosynthetic capacity has declined. And since there has been no measurable decline in plankton, and consequently, in marine photosynthesis, as long expected and measured due to the increase of hard UVB radiation at surface level, the decline points straight at the only other source of free oxygen - the forests and green cover of the continents.
This indicates (to me anyway) that it is saying that somehow the forests are producers of oxygen. This is only true in the sense that the forests absorb CO2 and emit O2 from the CO2. Therefore, they produce no more O2 than they absorb CO2.

Now, if the atmospheric O2 content is decreasing, and at a higher rate then the minimal CO2 increase that has been reported, that means that the oxygen is going somewhere besides into CO2. And since flora produce O2 from CO2, the lack of such flora cannot be responsible (via a lack of photosynthetic processes) for this decline in O2.

Also, I am having trouble with the dates. Again, I quote:

Since we have begun to measure in 1989, there has been a steady decline of free oxygen in our atmosphere.

*snip for brevity*

However, in 1985 there were no indications whatsoever of any decline in the free oxygen content of our atmosphere...

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

Exactly how are we relying on 1985 data when the same article begins with the assertion that records only go back to 1989?

Now, I am definitely not minimalizing the dangers of wholesale deforestation; I support wholeheartedly any attempt to plant trees or maintain those already in existence, as long as we do the latter in a common-sense approach. My concern is more along the lines of accuracy in the report.

Oxygen (or any other element) does not simply disappear from the planet. Just as when one burns a hydrocarbon the hydrogen still exists as part of a water molecule and the carbon still exists as part of a carbon dioxide molecule; every element that was present eons ago is still here. So if there is a decline in the O2 level, that oxygen is simply existing as a part of another type of molecule. I really have no idea at this time as to where it might be going, but there exists the possibility of sulfates and nitrates from impurities and inefficiency in the fuels we burn. At this time, I am not convinced this would be nearly sufficient to allow for a measurable decrease in O2 content, however.

I think this needs a lot more research, but I do think it needs that research. And please, if this makes you want to plant a tree, by all means, do it!


originally posted by ApexPredator

When the logging and building industry talk about lumber being a renewable resource and it's the greenest way to build a home people are duped into buying that line. Personally I think that a renewable resource in the real estate industry is a brick home that can be passed to future generations vice a cheapo tract home that will be easily damaged or destroyed in a hurricane or tornado.

Brick is not considered a weight-bearing structure in a brick home. That brick you see is only a veneer of masonry for looks and weatherproofing. The structure is still wood, just like any other home.

Plastic has been proposed for building, and you can purchase plastic 'lumber' at several places (one is linked). The problem is that while a typical pine 8-foot long 2x4 costs about $2.00, a similar plastic 2x4 at the linked site costs $3.08 per foot, meaning the same piece of material is a total of $24.64. That's over a 12-fold difference in price. The high cost of housing already will not allow people to pay 12 times the present cost for housing. Not to mention, plastic is made from oil, which is another major problem with this so-called 'green' technology.

Metal is also being touted as a better building medium than wood (see metalbuildingdepot.com... ), but it requires different techniques than wood to use. As such, there is still a problem with having enough builders experienced in metal building techniques to go around. Metal is making great headway, however, into the building industry.

Also, as to the destruction of old-growth forests for building, this is also a somewhat misunderstood topic. Most homes are built of pine or fir, two of the fastest-growing types of trees. I know of no modern home that uses hardwood for the structure; it is simply not economically viable. A typical lumber company will clear-cut a certain number of acres of trees each year, then re-plant them for the next harvest, leaving no decrease in the actual number of trees, or their age, from one year to the next. The only real difference between this and any other crop is that trees require years to grow as opposed to a single year, and the difference in landscape between growing and harvesting is much more obvious than in smaller crops.

The majority of hardwood goes for cabinetry, not homes. So just buy pine cabinetry which is stained with a hardwood stain; you save a hardwood tree or two, still get the look you want, and save $$$ at the same time. Of course, closer inspection of those cabinets might reveal the difference, so you'll have to give up bragging rights.


The lumber companies which operate off of purchased standing hardwood are paying a major premium for hardwood trees right now. I must admit, sometimes when I realize that there is probably thousands of dollars of standing hardwood (possibly tens of thousands) right behind my house, it gets tempting. Thankfully, I love my mountain too much to allow them to be cut at any price. But for those in economic distress, the idea of a few months of food and shelter and fuel just for those great oaks and redwoods and maples that will grow back (even if it takes a hundred years or more) can be hard to resist.

So be careful with the balance. If you harm the economy too much by being too 'green', you harm the cause. People will do what it takes to survive, even if it means losing a forest of old-growth hardwoods.

TheRedneck extra DIV



posted on Sep, 22 2008 @ 01:28 PM
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Air is only part oxygen.. Humans will adapt to living on less volume as the environment dictates. Much in the same way humans do not need permanent gravity to survive. Let face it, we are a pretty adaptable species, and there will be alternatives to what we breath (natural or artificial)



posted on Sep, 22 2008 @ 01:55 PM
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reply to post by TheRedneck
 


You are 100% right in your statement about bricks not being load bearing. My house is brick but the structure is 2x4, etc.... What I was trying to say is that a brick facade home is more durable on the whole than a purely wood structure insofar as wind damage,etc... Sometimes I say things that aren't too clear because I think faster than I type and in MY head I understand what I'm saying...lol Coming from Louisiana I've seen many wooden exterior homes ripped apart as you could imagine. What I was getting at is that a brick exterior requires less maintenance because the structure inside is "armor plated" so to speak...at least to a point. But today's methods of created quickly erected wooden homes that may only last 50 or so years without major renovations is kind of a waste because only so much of the wood can be salvaged. Not that wooden homes are bad or weak or whatever, just that, as they say, "they don't make 'em like they used to!"

And again you are right about the forests not creating oxygen, but I think that if less forests were destroyed the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere may find a balance sooner or later. Of course, that doesn't explain the LOSS of oxygen as you pointed out.

--Apex



posted on Sep, 22 2008 @ 02:14 PM
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reply to post by Apex Predator

And you are 100% correct in that poorly-designed homes are a waste of lumber... as are poorly maintained homes.


But, you did give me an opportunity to point out a few things about the lumber industry that many probably aren't aware of. So I'd say we made a pretty decent team.


I am a bit concerned about this study though. I really hope it proves to be a false alarm.

----------------------------------------------

reply to post by mapsurfer_

Air is only part oxygen..

True. But we are not talking about the air, as nitrogen is not the primary reason for respiration. Oxygen is.


Humans will adapt to living on less volume as the environment dictates. Much in the same way humans do not need permanent gravity to survive.

Animals create energy due to oxygenation of carbon (fuel) in the life process. You can't simply decide we want to breath argon instead. Physics doesn't work that way.

And we do need gravity to survive. That's why only the most physically fit can be astronauts. Ordinary individuals (and after a while, even astronauts) tend to suffer problems with biological processes after prolonged lack of exposure to gravity.


Let face it, we are a pretty adaptable species, and there will be alternatives to what we breath (natural or artificial)

Artificial oxygen, eh? Now I've heard everything.


The theme of ATS is "deny ignorance".

TheRedneck


[edit on 22-9-2008 by TheRedneck]



posted on Sep, 22 2008 @ 11:17 PM
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reply to post by mapsurfer_
 


Actually, gravity is the mysterious force which holds atoms and molecules together, so, yes, we need gravity.



posted on Sep, 23 2008 @ 01:13 PM
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well, O2 is ~ 21% of the atmoshpere.

CO2 is ~0,0004% ie. ~400ppm

so, the salient question is how much does O2 content change and where are the limits for breathing.... (which are of course closer to 10%). it would litterally take aeons to significantly reduce O2 content by any appreciable amount.


PS: coincidentially, foundries emit large quantities of freshly created CO2, which is again a precurser to O2 - so if O2 really was an issue, more steel mills might even solve the issue, because ore is usually already oxidized, the oxygen part in question coming right out of the earth itself. funny, isn't it? i've just invented the environmentally beneficial steel mill.



posted on Sep, 23 2008 @ 01:57 PM
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Aagh.


Originally posted by SpeakerofTruth

The Decline of Atmospheric free Oxygen
(Not going to paste the whole article)


Okay, uh... I don't know what you mean by "free Oxygen." Oxygen is diatomic. You breathe in O2. CO2 is O2 with a carbon atom. So one molecule of CO2 uses one molecule of O2. It's not unbalanced, as your funny article implies. Now I'm no botanist or climatologist or anything, but I can tell you that chemically, you're (or it's) wrong.




Originally posted by SpeakerofTruth
Actually, gravity is the mysterious force which holds atoms and molecules together, so, yes, we need gravity.

...I don't mean to pick on you but no. Gravity doesn't hold atoms and molecules together. I'll very generally explain (real quick, I'm busy now, but ask if you want more detail if I can give it) without going into quantum physical reasons why the nucleus itself is held together.

A molecule is atoms held together in some way. Like water is H2O - dihydrogen monoxide. That's two hydrogen atoms and an oxygen atom. This is a polar covalent bond. Oxygen and the two hydrogens share their electrons to be stable (for a full valence shell - oxygen generally wants 8 valence electrons and it has 6; hydrogen wants 2 and has 1). However oxygen is more electronegative - that is, it wants electrons more badly - than hydrogen. So it kind of takes hydrogen's electrons more than the hydrogen atoms - this unequal sharing creates polarity. Oxygen has a negative dipole moment, and hydrogen has a positive dipole moment.

You can have nonpolar covalent bonds. Or, you can have ionic bonds. Ionic bonds are simply when one atom is so much more electronegative than the other that it completely "steals" the other atom's electron(s).

Now, molecules stay together. If they didn't, you could move your hand through a solid like your desk. This is because of electric forces between these molecules we just went over. Generally (again, generalizing quickly - I'm no physical chemist...yet), there's London Dispersion forces (van der walls) and dipole-dipole. For dipole-dipole, look at the water molecule we went over. The negative (oxygen) end of one polar water molecule is attracted to the positive (hydrogen) end of another water molecule. This keeps substances together. London dispersion is between nonpolar molecules. Since electrons are constantly moving (sort of), there are temporary dipoles constantly being created, even in nonpolar molecules, so they are attracted to one another. There's also some more complex stuff like hydrogen bonding, but that's basically a sort of dipole-dipole.


Aside from my tangent, my whole point is that molecules stay together due to electric forces, not due to gravity by any stretch. Gravity is way to weak.

[edit on 23-9-2008 by Johnmike]



posted on Sep, 24 2008 @ 12:30 PM
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Originally posted by Long Lance
well, O2 is ~ 21% of the atmoshpere.

CO2 is ~0,0004% ie. ~400ppm

so, the salient question is how much does O2 content change and where are the limits for breathing.... (which are of course closer to 10%). it would litterally take aeons to significantly reduce O2 content by any appreciable amount.




Well, according to the articles, if the oxygen reaches below 7%, human life cannot be sustained.



posted on Sep, 24 2008 @ 10:52 PM
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Just note that aside from your scientific errors, the first article itself is entirely based on a false premise:

That the fact that one molecule of CO2 uses two atoms of Oxygen decreases the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere.

Anyone who took high school chemistry could tell you why. As I said, oxygen in the atmosphere is O2 - diatomic. One molecule of oxygen is already O2.

But I've gone over this already. This thread is silly. I should stop bumping it with posts already.



posted on Sep, 24 2008 @ 11:47 PM
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I guess it doesn't help when our atmosphere is leaking out into space....
Cluster watches Earth's leaky atmosphere

Oxygen is constantly leaking out of Earth's atmosphere and into space. Now, ESA's formation-flying quartet of satellites, Cluster, has discovered the physical mechanism that is driving the escape. It turns out that the Earth's own magnetic field is accelerating the oxygen away.


[edit on 24/9/2008 by VIKINGANT]





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