Oxygen is the most important gas as far as life is concerned. It is used for respiration to create energy. If oxygen ceased to exist for one reason or another, life as we know it would grind to a quick and an abrupt end. Just as drastically, if we were to have double oxygen on Earth, we would see some very dramatic effects across all life.
How dependable life is to oxygen
Oxygen has numerous benefits to living things. An average person breathes around 20,000 times a day. From this air we breathe, 19-21% of it contains oxygen. 90% of energy comes from oxygen with only 10% coming from food and water. Even the water we drink, 90% of it is oxygen. Plant life also is highly dependent on oxygen to grow and make food. Oxygen is life.
What happens to plants with double oxygen on Earth?
Without oxygen, life would inevitably end, but what happens if there is a excess of the gas in the air? In the event the level of oxygen is doubled on earth, the first and most significant thing that would happen is that processes, combustions and respiration would speed up. However, some process such as photosynthesis would slow down due to its dependence on carbon dioxide.
If green plants do not strive, this would only mean that the earth may revert back to the pre-historic plantation with non green plants taking over such as mushrooms and mosses.
Effect in animals
Some scientists have noted that environments with increased oxygen levels create larger animals. In the past, according to scientists, there was more oxygen than we have today. That is why there were large animals like the mammoth and dinosaurs. Animals of that size ceased to exist as oxygen levels dropped due to increase in population as well as pollution. So if oxygen were to be doubled, animals would increase in size as well. This would lead to the earths animals reverting to a prehistoric phase just like the plants.
Effect on human engineering
Engines would be a huge benefactor of the increased oxygen levels. Oxygen improves engine performance by reducing the amount of nitrogen which causes engines to heat. Less heat for engines means an improved performance and lower consumption levels of gas as well. But more combustion means release of more byproducts that would eventually cripple the atmosphere.
What it means for athletes
For athletes, they would see a vast improvement in their performances as more oxygen means more energy. Records would fall due to this fact and athletes would move faster and jump higher.
However the over exertion of the organs would eventually lead them to break down quite latterly and drop the athletes on the tracks.
Effect in mountainous regions
Some areas are not accessible to ordinary people and animals, like the peaks of high mountains. This is because of the low oxygen levels that are found in those areas. Only animals with unique adaptations can go there. But with double the oxygen available, those areas would be accessible to everyone. In theory Ice on mountain peaks would reduce significantly with plant and animal life thriving.
Effect on humans in general
Oxygen is responsible for alertness and concentration levels. This means that if oxygen was increased, we would be more alert and have concentration levels that are high as well. This would significantly improve the quality of life, and healthy things would be done at greater speeds… for some time.
Again the organs would be over exerted and eventually break down leading to death and extinction of the human race by oxygen.
The ability of our body’s immune system to fight disease would also double, and we would get sick less often. This is due to neutrophils, which form a critical part of our immune system, and uses oxygen to fight disease, would double their capacity and this would result in fewer disease incidences for humanity.
How would the atmosphere be effected?
With increased oxygen, the air in the world’s atmosphere would increase. This, in turn, would enable planes, gliders, parachutes and the birds fly higher and stay up for longer periods of time.
How diseases would be affected
One of the causes of cancer is when cells are not getting enough oxygen. Cases of cancer would go down. With an increase in respiration, the cells would have more energy to fight infections. This perhaps partly explains why ancient organisms did not suffer from any significant diseases.
An increase in oxygen in the short run looks like a wonderful switch, but eventually it would destroy humanity and most of the current life forms.