For as long as humans have been conscious, we've been curious about when that consciousness might end. There have many threats to our survival over the years--some more recent than others. While ideally the human race would get to continue to live and thrive on Earth, it is becoming increasingly unlikely that we will be here for very long in the grand scheme of things. This study adds evidence to our worst fears.
End of days
A mathematician from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has used a mathematical formula to figure out when the Earth might enter what would be its 6th mass extinction, and present a threat to all of us here on our planet.
Previous mass extinctions
It is typically agreed upon by scientists that the Earth has undergone five previous mass extinctions throughout its existence in our solar system. There was the Cambrian Explosion 540 million years ago, the Ordovician-silurian Extinction 440 million years ago, Devonian Extinction 365 million years ago, the Permian-triassic Extinction 250 million years ago, the Triassic-jurassic Extinction 210 million years ago and, most recently, the Cretaceous-tertiary Extinction 65.5 million years ago.
The dinosaurs were the most well known species to fall victim to the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event that occurred 65.5 million years ago. This mass extinction killed about three-quarters of the plant and animal life that was present on Earth at the time.
This new research suggests that the Earth could enter its sixth mass extinction much, much sooner than we'd hope--and the victims would be the plant and animal life that currently exists here on Earth. This includes us, of course, and is pretty darn terrifying.
This is due to the effects of climate change, which have been observed to be accelerated due to the enhanced greenhouse effect. The enhanced greenhouse effect has largely been the product of the amount of carbon dioxide that has been let into the atmosphere--largely by human contribution.
The Point of No Return
The study warns that we're near a point of no return, which is made even worse when you consider the fact that it is predicted that by the year 2100, there will be around 310 gigatons of carbon that will be added to the oceans on Earth
Carbon dioxide dissolving into the ocean presents great risks for the survival of our species. The Earth is believed to be vulnerable to carbon dioxide and this global scale ocean acidification is a nightmare scenario for the survivability of the human race as we know it.
The Formula Behind The Study
By using the information that we already know to be correct, Daniel Rothman, a professor from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was reportedly able to predict when the next period of mass extinction would begin by inputting the information into his mathematical formula.
Safety For Our Species
The formula professor Daniel Rothman used was able to determine this information by considering the amount of carbon dioxide that the ocean can hold safely. It goes without saying that this is deeply concerning considering the species that have been eliminated by mass extinctions in the past.
The Bad News
The model utilized is built around what is considered the lowest amount of gigatons of carbon dioxide that will be released by then. It was provided by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and is somewhat of an optimistic scenario.
The Worse News
That's without even considering the more likely scenario of how much carbon dioxide would be released. Without making a conservative, lower estimate the number could be something like 500 gigatons and would far exceed the threshold required to trigger this mass extinction event.
The Even Worse News
Regardless of whether the amount of carbon dioxide is the better or worse case scenario, the study reportedly found that by 2100 the carbon cycle will be near the critical threshold, and could quite possibly be far past a survivable rate.
An Unpredictable State
This study in particular found that even if a sixth mass extinction were somehow avoided, this scenario would still launch the Earth into a wildly unpredictable state where it is extremely hard to predict the outcome or what the world would look like for future generations .
It is believed that by the year 2100 the Earth will fall victim to a series of disasters and climate issues that would occur over the course of approximately ten thousand years. It goes without saying that this study is not a good look for our chance of living on Earth on a basis that isn't temporary.
The Tiny Silver Lining
The small silver lining is that it's not like the mass extinction event would occur right away. It would take place over thousands of years as the Earth becomes increasingly more and more inhabitable for our race. As the scientist behind this study said, "this is not saying disaster occurs the next day."
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