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Science & Technology

Permian mass extinction 'could happen again'

March 25, 2017 | Comment icon 6 comments

Could climate change trigger runaway global warming ? Image Credit: Johan Christian Dahl
A catastrophic rise in temperature wiped out the vast majority of life on Earth 250 million years ago.
Scientists studying the world's worst mass extinction event have warned that modern day climate change could lead to a runaway global warming effect and a repeat of the conditions which were ultimately responsible for wiping out more than 90% of all living things on Earth.

Describing their findings as "an important lesson for humanity", researchers from Canada, Italy, Germany and the US believe that the event, which took place 250 million years ago, began when volcanoes started pumping extremely large amounts of carbon dioxide in to the atmosphere.

The subsequent rise in temperatures then melted the permafrost and released vast amounts of methane gas which went on to increase global temperatures even further still.
Most plant and animals species would have quickly died out as the average temperature across the planet soared to a staggering 29C - a figure that is almost double what we see today.

"Global warming triggered by the massive release of carbon dioxide may be catastrophic, but the release of methane from hydrate [its frozen state] may be apocalyptic," the team wrote.

"The end Permian holds an important lesson for humanity regarding the issue it faces today with greenhouse gas emissions, global warming, and climate change."

Source: Independent | Comments (6)

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Tsurugi 5 years ago
Ahhh, love the smell of propaganda in the morning.   It was an impact event, ffs. "Runaway Global Warming" might cause an extinction event, but how could it result in global fossilization? The impact or impacts set off the volcanoes. If there was runaway heating it most likely indicates a deep ocean impact site, which would put massive amounts of water vapor into the atmosphere, which would result in a real greenhouse effect, since water vapor is by far the strongest cause of atmospheric greenhousing. CO2 doesn't even show up on the scale when compared to water vapor. The CO2 released by the e... [More]
Comment icon #2 Posted by Socks Junior 5 years ago
I'll be much more comfortable with the comparison when millions of cubic kilometers of 1200 C basalt pour out in Siberia.
Comment icon #3 Posted by lost_shaman 5 years ago
Too bad science doesn't support this narrative, it was cold not heat that caused the extinction event. Life actually rebounded as the temps began to rise.
Comment icon #4 Posted by taniwha 5 years ago
I don't know which ending I prefer death by ice age or death by global warming. Choose wisely.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Doug1029 5 years ago
Unfortunately, it is almost mandatory to link your research to some practical result if you want to get published.  I'd say they're reaching a long way to find something "practical." Jim Hansen's estimate is that if we burn all the available fossil fuels we already know about, the earth's temperature will approach the boiling point.  That's well above the 29C the article mentioned.  Of course, Hansen's book was published quite awhile back and I don't know if there is more up-to-date information for that (Like, for example, temperature rises slower as CO2 concentration increases; that might hav... [More]
Comment icon #6 Posted by lost_shaman 5 years ago
Complete nonsense.

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