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Global mass extinction set to begin by 2100, study finds

Canada Kingtheropod Offline
Bigcat Expert
( This post was last modified: 09-21-2017, 10:37 AM by Kingtheropod )

Some bad news about the global environment. New study estimates that new mass extinction is coming soon!

Global mass extinction set to begin by 2100, study finds

*This image is copyright of its original author

'Planet Earth appears to be on course for the start of a sixth mass extinction of life by about 2100 because of the amount of carbon being pumped into the atmosphere, according to a mathematical study of the five previous events in the last 540 million years.

Professor Daniel Rothman, co-director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Lorenz Centre, theorized that disturbances in the natural cycle of carbon through the atmosphere, oceans, plant and animal life played a role in mass die-offs of animals and plants.

So he studied 31 times when there had been such changes and found four out of the five previous mass extinctions took place when the disruption crossed a “threshold of catastrophic change”.

The worst mass extinction of all – the so-called Great Dying some 248 million years ago when 96 per cent of species died out – breached one of these thresholds by the greatest margin.

Based on his analysis of these mass extinctions, Professor Rothman developed a mathematical formula to help predict how much extra carbon could be added to the oceans – which absorb vast amounts from the atmosphere – before triggering a sixth one.

The answer was alarming.

For the figure of 310 gigatons is just 10 gigatons above the figure expected to be emitted by 2100 under the best-case scenario forecast by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The worst-case scenario would result in more than 500 gigatons.

Some scientists argue that the sixth mass extinction has already effectively begun. While the total number of species that have disappeared from the planet comes nowhere near the most apocalyptic events of the past, the rate of species loss is comparable.

Professor Rothman stressed that mass extinctions did not necessarily involve dramatic changes to the carbon cycle – as shown by the absence of this during the Late Devonian extinction more than 360 million years ago.

Writing in the journal Science Advances, he noted that events such as volcanic eruptions, climate change and other environmental factors could also play a role.

But he said changes to the carbon cycle – such as the burning of vast amounts of carbon in the form of oil, coal and gas laid down over millions of years – should also be considered.

“The history of the Earth system is a story of change. Some changes are gradual and benign, but others, especially those associated with catastrophic mass extinction, are relatively abrupt and destructive,” Professor Rothman wrote.

“What sets one group apart from the other? Here, I hypothesize that perturbations of Earth’s carbon cycle lead to mass extinction if they exceed either a critical rate at long time scales or a critical size at short time scales.

“By analyzing 31 carbon isotopic events during the past 542 million years, I identify the critical rate with a limit imposed by mass conservation.

“The modern critical size for the marine carbon cycle is roughly similar to the mass of carbon that human activities will likely have added to the oceans by the year 2100.”

The idea that mass extinctions are caused by major environmental changes was suggested about 200 years ago by the famed French naturalist Georges Cuvier.

If these changes are too rapid for the evolution of species, they may die out either as a result of being out-competed by those that can adapt or because they are unable to cope in the new environment.

Already some species of tree are in trouble because the temperature is rising so quickly that they cannot gradually “migrate” – by seeding saplings – uphill to cooler climates.

But scientists also recently described how the Atlantic killifish had evolved extremely quickly to be able to survive toxic pollution off the U.S. east coast that would normally have killed them. They noted that “unfortunately” most species “we care about” were unlikely to be able to do the same.

Professor Rothman said that during his research into previous mass extinctions “it became evident that there was a characteristic rate of change that the system basically didn’t like to go past”.

He said it would probably take thousands of years for any ecological disaster to play out, but that 2100 could be the tipping point at which the world entered “unknown territory”.

“This is not saying that disaster occurs the next day,” Professor Rothman said.

“It’s saying that, if left unchecked, the carbon cycle would move into a realm which would be no longer stable, and would behave in a way that would be difficult to predict.

“In the geologic past, this type of behaviour is associated with mass extinction.”'

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Canada GrizzlyClaws Offline
Canine Expert
( This post was last modified: 09-21-2017, 11:32 AM by GrizzlyClaws )

Very sad news, and all government around the world needs to stop fighting over this nonsense about the ideological war.

We all only have one planet to live.
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United States paul cooper Offline

"We can recognize here a shortcoming, in some circumstances serious, in our ability to understand the world. Characteristically, willie-nilly we seem compelled to project our own nature onto nature. Man in his arrogance thinks himself a great work worthy of the interposition of a deity. Darwin wrote in his notebook, more humble, and I think truer to consider himself created from animals.
We're johnny-come-latelys; we live in the cosmic boondocks; we emerged from microbes in muck; Apes are our cousins; our thoughts are not entirely our own, and on top of that we're making a mess of our planet and becoming a danger to ourselves." - Carl Sagan
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Italy Spalea Offline
Wildanimal Lover

@Kingtheropod :

About #1: The 6th global extinction of the Earth history, due to the man, started soon. How many species did they disappear since two centuries ? How many species - that we're liking and studying here in this forum - whose number of free wild individuals on Earth fell between 90 and 100% a few decades ago ?

When I say the 6th global extinction of the Earth history started soon, it's as I say the 3th world war started in Syria 5-6 years ago. A reality.

Some scientific have been always saying for a long time "Take care ! If we do nothing, it will be too late in 10, 20, 30, 50 years". The problem is that it's already too late.

Kingtheropod, what I say isn't at all an attack against you, but against this kind of news which dares to shift the responsability to the next generations (here 2100) while we are already responsible.
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India sanjay Offline
Wildanimal Enthusiast

Human deserve it. For me, one of the worst species ever lived on earth.
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India brotherbear Offline
Grizzly Enthusiast

I believe that global mass extinction began during the nineteenth century and as times moves on, the extinction accelerates.
3 users Like brotherbear's post

United States Polar Offline
Polar Bear Enthusiast

I have some of the similar opinions to you all, extinction started long ago and the corrupt government system (seen in the US and probably all countries) was actually based off the Babylonian model of control...which is against the natural human intuition and against nature as well.
2 users Like Polar's post

Brazil Matias Offline
Regular Member
( This post was last modified: 10-23-2018, 08:13 PM by Matias )

I agree. It began when the industrial age took a breath, in the expansion by new markets (imperialist race), supported by the new technologies that subsidized the geographic expansion, like the telegraph, vapor motors, electrical energy, arms race, new sources of fuels. So let's say it's the first "globalization". Many scientists are looking "landmark" for the Anthropocene era and, in my view, the Holocene should not have existed. The Anthropocene age should replace directly the Pleistocene era. The impact of man at the end of the Pleistocene is already great enough to call the next era the "Age of Man." 2100 should be the time of the total collapse, the inflection point. "The health of the planet can no longer be restored"

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