Courses for Kids
Free study material
Offline Centres
Store Icon

What Will Happen If Oxygen Levels Increase on Earth?

By Shiwani PandeyNovember 30, 2022
share icon

Learn the Effects of Increased Oxygen Levels on Earth

Oxygen is considered to be the most essential gas for the existence of any kind of biological life on the planet, even though the percentage of oxygen in air is just 21%. Oxygen is the main component for different valuable processes such as respiratory action in organisms for energy production, fuel burning to create light and heat, coolant in different high processing computers, and offering a safe environment to newborn infants in the incubators. It can be said without a doubt that Oxygen is definitely one of the highest valued commodities in the world. 

The Importance of Oxygen to the Atmosphere 

While oxygen isn’t exactly a very heat-capturing greenhouse gas, there is a particular concentration that it has in the atmosphere that affects the amount of sunlight that is reaching the ground. Hence, it is important for the regulation of the climate on earth. Suppose the oxygen has disappeared from the planet one day. What do you think would happen? 

Well, all life would cease to exist in the scorching heat as well as unshielded UV rays from the Sun. The animals' inner ears would burst due to a sudden change in atmospheric pressure. Any concrete structure will immediately lose its rigidity and hence would collapse to the ground. Overall, everything on earth, from plants, animals, and living beings, would be dead. 

With that being said, it wouldn’t seem too far to assume that oxygen is definitely the driving force for everything on the planet where we live in. However, what will happen if oxygen levels increase on earth?

Effects of Increased Oxygen on Earth 

Oxygen is most definitely an important gas for living beings and other components of the earth to exist. However, the increase of oxygen level can also have some significant effects. Here are some of the most noteworthy effects that an increased level of oxygen would have on the planet. 

1. Effect on Animals : Cockroaches, spiders, and other crawling insects that you might have been afraid of will grow bigger in size. Since these tiny beings have a trachea that they can breathe through, with more oxygen entering their body, it will result in an expansion. Dragonflies will grow to be the size of hawks and spiders will have large appetites, enough to eat pigeons. 

People will also experience the effects of doubling the oxygen in the atmosphere. Once more oxygen reaches our lungs, we will be able to have increased stamina with every single breath. Oxygen-rich blood will pump through our veins, making us stronger by fuelling the muscles properly and providing better blood circulation as well. It can also increase our concentration and agility in the best way. The speed records that athletes have will increase in the oxygen-rich world. 

Also, it can help in increasing the immunity of our body as well. Neutrophils are white blood cells that help in fighting viruses and bacteria to fend off many diseases. With higher levels of oxygen, the levels of neutrophils will increase in our body, thus making us immune to many sicknesses and diseases. 

However, there are some negative effects to having an increased level of oxygen. Too much oxygen in the body can also cause something that we call ‘oxygen toxicity’. This is an excess amount of oxygen at a higher partial pressure which can cause harmful reactions of oxidation in your body and cause the cells to die. Also, increased oxygen will speed up the metabolism process and hence will over-exert your organs, fatally harming us in the long run.

2. Effect on Plants : With the spike in oxygen levels, the effects will be seen on plants as well. The most important changes would be sped-up processes such as respiration as well as combustion. Since more fuel will be present, forest fires can become bigger and more devastating. Wet vegetation wouldn’t be a protection shield either and everything would burn more easily. Apart from that, processes such as photosynthesis would be sedated due to lower levels of Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Hence, green vegetation would fail to exist and a new landscape would be created with mushrooms and mosses. 

3. Effect on the Atmosphere of the Earth : People who know what is the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere can understand that an increase in the oxygen levels can impact the atmosphere as well. There would be an increase in the air density in that case. Hence, aeroplanes, parachutes, and gliders would be able to fly higher up and have elongated periods of flying. Birds also can fly much higher in the sky as a result of that change.

With a spike in oxygen concentration, the atmosphere would become much thicker and scatter more sunlight, thus making our sky look much bluer. It will also decrease the temperature of the air. 

Two White Birds Flying in the Sky

Two White Birds Flying in the Sky

4. Effect on Machinery and Engineering : The fuel used for improving the engine performance also has oxygen as a main component. Oxygen helps in the reduction of the nitrogen amount and hence causes the cooling effect in engines when they are functioning. Less heat due to an increased amount of oxygen would mean that the performance of these materials would increase. Also, it will result in lower levels of fuel consumption. Also, it would lead to better automobiles and engineering as well. But with greater combustion of the fuel, there will be a release of more exhaust gases, thus crippling the atmosphere. 


Have you ever wondered why doesn’t the level of oxygen in the atmosphere decrease or increase? Well, now you know what happens when the levels of oxygen spike up or go down. While there are some perks of having double the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere, there would be some pretty bad outcomes in the end that follow those perks. Not only will things get more unpredictable but we aren’t really prepared for an increased level of oxygen on earth. We should definitely count ourselves as the lucky ones since we get to live on a planet that is a proper mix of everything that is just in the perfect amount.