Practical applications of two-dimensional (2D) black phosphorus (BP) are limited by its fast degradation under ambient conditions, for which many different mechanisms have been proposed; however, an atomic level understanding of the degradation process is still hindered by the absence of bottom-up methods for the growth of large-scale few-layer black phosphorus. Recent experimental success in the fabrication of single-layer blue phosphorus provides a model system to probe the oxidation mechanism of two-dimensional (2D) phosphorene down to single-layer thicknesses. Here, we report an atomic-scale investigation of the interaction between molecular oxygen and blue phosphorus. The atomic structure of blue phosphorus and the local binding sites of oxygen have been precisely identified using qPlus-based noncontact atomic force microscopy. A combination of low-temperature scanning tunneling microscopy and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy measurements reveal a thermally reversible oxidation process of blue phosphorus in a pure oxygen atmosphere. Our study clearly demonstrates the essential role of oxygen in the initial oxidation process, and it sheds further light on the fundamental pathways of the degradation mechanism.