Scientists point to climate change that caused the mass extinction of sea and land animals.
Before humans ever walked the Earth, diverse abundant species are already living on the planet. However, the occurrence of a mass extinction almost wiped out the animal population. According to the scientists, the Permian extinction. otherwise known as the “Great Dying” eradicated most marine and land creatures almost 252 million years ago.
The catastrophe annihilated 96% of all sea creatures and 70% of land species. The event is considered deadlier compared to dinosaur extinction. The March 2014 published research indicated that the extermination had taken place for more than 60,000 years.
Scientists hinted a multitude of hypothesis to the occurrence of the Permian extinction.
– a kind of microbe emitted huge amounts of methane into the planet’s atmosphere
– the occurrence was brought about by a sequence of volcanic explosions that discharged a lethal amount of carbon dioxide into the ozone
– volcanic eruptions resulted to destructive acidification
The most recent research published in Science believes that the “Great Dying” was initially triggered by the accelerated rise in temperatures. Scientists concluded this following the analysis of marine fossil records. At the same time, they used climate simulations to reconstruct the impact of intensifying temperatures hundreds of millions of years ago.
In the middle of the Permian extinction, volcanoes in Siberia spewed huge amounts of carbon dioxide into the air which intensified the planet’s temperature around 10°C. The hotter temperature made the oceans warmer depriving the water of oxygen including all the creatures that live in it. The depletion of life-giving oxygen caused the mass extinction of marine animals because of climate change.
The most affected were sea creatures most subtle to oxygen with the most distinct desolation at high altitudes a long way from the equator. When the group correlated their findings with the fossil record, it affirmed their study.
Scientists warned that the planet’s temperature levels could increase as high as 3°C above pre-industrial levels. Co-author of the research, Curtis Deutsch from the University of Washington said that from there, 10° will not be “that far from diminishing.”
Plants that thrive in the oceans give off up to 85% of the oxygen that we breathe. However, the volume of ocean water has been devoid of oxygen and has multiplied to four-fold for the past half-century. The researches indicate that oceans are dissipating oxygen in massive part due to human activity.
Scientists have shown what wiped out the marine life – suffocation. Currently, humans are going through the same atmospheric warming again. It is much faster compared to the “Great Dying” that displayed warming signs for more than 500,000 years before the occurrence itself.
“This is the first time that we have made a mechanistic prediction about what caused the extinction that can be directly tested with the fossil record, which then allows us to make predictions about the causes of extinction in the future,” said University of Washington oceanographer Justin Penn.
The Earth’s average temperature has increased to 0.8°C since 1880 and two-thirds of the acceleration has manifested since 1975. Since then the warming of the oceans continues to accelerate.