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Thread: Ice age oxygen production

  1. #1 Ice age oxygen production 
    Time Lord zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    Dec 2005
    Driving in my car
    Is the atmosphere's oxygen supply affected by an ice age? If a great deal of land dependent plant life is buried beneath miles of ice or subject to colder temperatures then surely there is less oxygen production. I am going to go out on a limb and suggest that plant life that is ocean born picked up the slack. I've read articles that say the oceans' microscopic plant life actually produces half of the world's oxygen. I've been trying to find out if there is any evidence that oxygen levels drop during an ice age or is the drop so insignificant that its hardly worth mentioning? Does the amount of photosynthesis taking place decrease? Has anyone seen any articles on this?

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  3. #2  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Jul 2005
    Good question, I wish I knew the answer. I am sure there will have been research on this. I'll have a look to see what I can find.
    Your figure for oxygen production from the ocean seems very low to me. I would have thought a much higher figure likely. Almost 70% of the Earth is covered by water after all.
    Certainly over geologic time there have been huge swings in the oxygen content. The giant flying insects of the Carboniferous were only possible because of the higher oxygen concentration. That, however, is a different matter.

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