A pair of researchers have found evidence that Earth will lose its oxygen-rich atmosphere in approximately 1 billion years.
Kazumi Ozaki and Christopher Reinhard from Toho University and NASA Nexus for Exoplanet System Science have just released the results of a simulation that examined when the planet will no longer be able to support most plants and animals.
The research, titled The Future Lifespan of Earth's Oxygenated Atmosphere, was published in the journal Nature Geoscience on Monday.
"The lifespan of oxygen-based biosignatures in Earth’s atmosphere remains uncertain, particularly for the distant future," it said. "Here we use a combined biogeochemistry and climate model to examine the likely timescale of oxygen-rich atmospheric conditions on Earth."
The researchers created an Earth system model which simulates climate and biogeochemical processes to see how the planet will fare in the future.
They ran it over 400,000 times to find that in 1 billion years from now, the sun will grow hotter, causing carbon dioxide levels to drop and the ozone layer will be burned away.
The lowered carbon dioxide levels will cause plant life to suffer and therefore result in reduced oxygen production.
"The atmosphere after the great deoxygenation is characterised by elevated methane, low-levels of CO2, and no ozone layer. The Earth system will probably be a world of anaerobic life forms," Ozaki said.