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Rivers in America and Europe Are Warming and Losing Oxygen, Study |  Energy and Science

Rivers in America and Europe Are Warming and Losing Oxygen, Study | Energy and Science

Over the next 70 years, river systems may experience periods of extremely low oxygen levels, with some fish species disappearing and aquatic biodiversity threatened, particularly in the southern United States. An article published on September 14 in the journal Nature Climate Change reveals this.

The study reconstructed historically scarce water quality data from nearly 800 rivers in the United States and Central Europe by developing an artificial intelligence and deep learning model.

87% of rivers studied showed warming and 70% oxygen loss. “Oxygen loss in rivers is unexpected because we generally assume that rivers don’t lose oxygen as much as larger bodies of water like lakes and oceans,” says Li Li, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Pennsylvania State University (Penn State). On a note.

Coastal areas such as the Gulf of Mexico already present “dead zones” in the summer, but the new paper shows that this can also happen in river systems, the researcher says.

For the analysis, the computer model was trained on a range of data such as annual precipitation, soil type, and sunlight for 580 rivers in the United States and 216 rivers in Central Europe.

Although the measurements are vital to the life of aquatic organisms, it is difficult to measure temperature and oxygen levels in different rivers due to the lack of consistent data in addition to variables that can change the element’s levels in each river basin, Wei says. Zhi is a research assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Penn State.

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The model developed by the researchers was able to predict future oxidation rates, which were found to be between 1.6 and 2.5 times higher than historical rates. While urban rivers showed faster warming, agricultural rivers exhibited slower rates of temperature rise but faster oxidation.

The investigation also revealed that rivers warm and lose oxygen faster than oceans, affecting not only marine life but also humans.

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) estimates that most Americans live within one kilometer of rivers or streams; Also, the loss of oxygen stimulates the emission of greenhouse gases and leads to the release of toxic metals into the environment.

Li highlights that rivers have been neglected as mechanisms for understanding climate change, and this is the first study devoted to a detailed analysis of temperature and oxygenation of this system.