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Fri Jan 4, 2019, 09:15 AM

Stanford Study: We Will Be 20% Of The Way To Permian Extinction 2.0 By 2100 With Business As Usual [View all]

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To test the predictions made by the climate model, study co-authors Jonathan Payne and Erik Sperling of Stanford University turned to the Paleobiology Database, a virtual archive of published fossil collections. By looking at how fossils are distributed in ancient seafloor rocks, it’s possible to piece together where animals existed before the extinction event, where they they fled to or went extinct, or where they were confined to a fraction of their previous habitat. The fossil distributions of the late-Permian period confirmed that species far from the equator were hit the hardest by the mass extinction event.

“The signature of that kill mechanism, climate warming and oxygen loss, is this geographic pattern that’s predicted by the model and then discovered in the fossils,” Penn said in a statement. “The agreement between the two indicates this mechanism of climate warming and oxygen loss was a primary cause of the extinction.”

Penn and co-authors say that other shifts in the ocean environment, such as acidification or changes in the productivity of photosynthetic organisms, probably contributed to the Permian extinction, but that warmer temperatures leading to insufficient oxygen levels accounts for more than half of the losses in marine life. That could help us understand how marine life will fare in our current age of global warming, Penn added, because the conditions in the late Permian are similar to conditions today.

The drivers of the Permian mass extinction — volcanic CO2 emissions into the atmosphere leading to global warming — are analogous to human-caused CO2 emissions occurring today, Penn noted. “These results allow us to compare the scale of our modern problem to the largest extinction in Earth’s history,” he told Mongabay. “Under a business-as-usual emissions scenarios, by 2100 warming in the upper ocean will have approached 20 percent of warming in the late Permian, and by the year 2300 it will reach between 35 and 50 percent.”

EDIT

https://news.mongabay.com/2019/01/worst-mass-extinction-event-in-earths-history-was-caused-by-global-warming-analogous-to-current-climate-crisis/

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