Earth’s sixth mass extinction likely by 2100: MIT

Sep 24, 2017 08:16 IST
Earth’s sixth mass extinction likely by 2100: MIT

A study conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has predicted that the Earth’s sixth mass extinction may become a reality by year 2100 due to increasing carbon pressure on oceans.

The study titled Thresholds of catastrophe in the Earth System was recently published in the international scientific journal Science Advances.

The study was conducted by Daniel H. Rothman, professor of geophysics at MIT’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences.

It said that in the past 540 million years, the Earth has seen five mass extinction events.

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Key highlights of the study

Rothman used a mathematical formula based on the rate and magnitude of change in the carbon cycle.

The formula predicts that by the end of the century oceans will hold enough carbon to launch a mass extermination of species in the future.

The model shows that, by the year 2100, about 310 gigatons of carbon will have been added to the oceans, a potential 'tipping point' for ecological disaster.

The study identified a total of 31 events in the last 542 million years in which a significant change occurred in Earth’s carbon cycle.

As per the study, when CO2 dissolves into the ocean, life on Earth is at risk.

In all scenarios, the study finds that by the end of the century the carbon cycle will either be close to, or well beyond, the threshold for catastrophe.

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