How hot wa­ter caused mass ex­tinc­tion

The Northern Advocate - - World -

Sci­en­tists think they’ve fig­ured out the fall­ing domi­noes that led to Earth’s largest mass ex­tinc­tion and worry hu­man­caused cli­mate change puts the planet on a sim­i­lar path.

Some 250 mil­lion years ago, about 90 per cent of sea life and 70 per cent of land life went ex­tinct in what is now called the Great Dy­ing.

A new study in yesterday’s jour­nal Sci­ence used com­puter sim­u­la­tions to plot out what hap­pened af­ter the vol­ca­noes blew: It led to ocean tem­per­a­tures ris­ing by about 11C de­grees, which then starved the sea of oxy­gen. That hot oxy­gen-starved wa­ter caused the mass ma­rine die-off, es­pe­cially far­ther from the equa­tor. Af­ter the vol­ca­noes blew, the level of heat-trap­ping car­bon diox­ide soared to more than 12 times what it is to­day , said study lead au­thor Justin Penn.

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