Massive Carbon Emissions Reduce Biodiversity 300mn Years Ago: Study

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Tempo.co

Editor

Laila Afifa

7 May 2022 19:30 WIB

Smog covers trees during a forest fire next to a palm plantation in Palangka Raya, Central Kalimantan province, Indonesia, September 14, 2019. Picture taken Septemnber 14, 2019. The palm oil industry was responsible for at least 39% of forest loss in biodiversity-rich Borneo island between 2000 and 2018, data from an Indonesia-based research firm shows. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan

TEMPO.COBeijing - How might global warming put our planet in jeopardy in the near future? A research group examined the situation 300 million years ago and revealed a scenario with a significant drop in biodiversity.

A recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed that abrupt warming linked to massive carbon emissions 304 million years ago caused an anoxic area extent equivalent to about 20 percent of the seafloor.

The Late Paleozoic Ice Age ranging from 360-280 million years ago is the longest-lived icehouse climate and the only one to record a transition from an icehouse to a greenhouse climate since the appearance of advanced plants and a terrestrial ecosystem.

Scientists from China, the United States and New Zealand collected samples in southwest China's Guizhou Province and measured carbon and uranium isotopes within the samples to explore global carbon cycling and marine anoxia.

They found that carbon dioxide emissions caused an increase in the sea-surface temperature by about four degrees Celsius, according to the study.

Their model also showed an increase in the area extent of the anoxic seafloor from 4 percent to 22 percent, resulting in a dramatic decrease in biodiversity.

This primeval episode of upheaval may offer valuable lessons about the environmental conditions on Earth, as the Earth is currently experiencing an icehouse climate that started 34 million years ago and global temperatures have risen rapidly over the last couple of centuries, according to the researchers.

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