“Dead Zones” Formed Repeatedly in North Pacific During Warm Climates Over the Past 1.2 Million Years

The Extinction Chronicles

TOPICS:Climate ChangeClimate ScienceOceanographyUC Santa Cruz


Deep Ocean Current

Over the past 1.2 million years, marine life was repeatedly extinguished in low-oxygen ‘dead zones’ in the North Pacific Ocean during warm interglacial climates.

An analysis of sediment cores from the Bering Sea has revealed a recurring relationship between warmer climates and abrupt episodes of low-oxygen “dead zones” in the subarctic North Pacific Ocean over the past 1.2 million years.

The new study, led by researchers at UC Santa Cruz, was published on June 2, 2021, inScience Advances. The findings provide crucial information for understanding the causes of low oxygen or “hypoxia” in the North Pacific and for predicting the occurrence of hypoxic conditions in the future.

Sediment cores from the Bering Sea hold a record of past low-oxygen events in the form of layered or “laminated” sediments. Credit: IODP

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