Did you know that Earth was not always an oxygen-rich world? Scientists foresee that in the future our atmosphere will again return to a methane-rich, low-oxygen state.
Scientists predicted that Earth’s oxygen levels won’t be the same as at present. Oxygen won’t last forever and will run out, causing most life on the planet to suffocate.
Although, this change is not expected to occur within our lifetimes. Scientists say this is unlikely to happen for another billion years, but the change will be rapid when it happens.
This shift will take our Earth back to a state similar to that existed 2.4-billion-years ago. In fact, our Earth underwent the Great Oxidation Event (GOE) about 2.4 billion years ago. GOE was a time period when the Earth’s atmosphere and the shallow ocean first experienced a rise in oxygen.
Now researchers foresee that dropping oxygen will eventually shift our Earth back to what it was before the GOE.
Earlier scientists predicted that increased solar radiation will eliminate aquatic environments from our planet within about 2 billion years. But the latest model says the reduction in oxygen will suffocate most life on earth first.
Environmental scientist Kazumi Ozaki, from Toho University, said, “The atmosphere after the great deoxygenation is characterized by an elevated methane, low-levels of CO2, and no ozone layer,”
“The Earth system will probably be a world of anaerobic life forms.”