Climate change study puts an expiration date on all mammals

A new study shows that unprecedented global warming will wipe out all mammals during a mass extinction event in about 250 million years.

The world’s continents are expected to eventually merge again to form an extremely hot, dry and largely uninhabitable supercontinent called Pangea Ultima, according to climate change research published Monday in the journal. Natural earth sciences.

Climate change that occurs over thousands of years is different from the man-made climate crisis caused largely by the burning of fossil fuels.

Supercomputer simulations of the far future have been used by scientists, including those from the University of Bristol, to show how global temperatures could rise further as the Sun shines brighter and emits more energy.

The movement of Earth’s tectonic plates is also expected to lead to the formation of another supercontinent, which could trigger frequent volcanic eruptions to produce massive releases of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, further warming the planet, the researchers said.

Until now, mammals – including humans – have been able to survive on land thanks to their ability to adapt to weather fluctuations through adaptations such as fur and hibernation in the cold as well as short hibernation periods.

While mammals have adapted to survive cold temperatures, their ability to tolerate higher temperatures has remained constant over millions of years of their evolution.

Thus, overcoming prolonged extreme heat as predicted by the simulation is much more difficult, ultimately making Earth uninhabitable for mammals.

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“A newly emerging supercontinent would effectively create a triple whammy, involving a continental effect, a hotter sun, and more carbon dioxide.”2 “In the atmosphere, it leads to increased heat over a large part of the planet,” said lead author Alexander Farnsworth of the University of Bristol.

The result is a “mostly hostile” planet devoid of food and water sources for mammals, the researchers said.

Dr Farnsworth said: “Widespread temperatures of 40 to 50 degrees Celsius, and even daily extremes, combined with high humidity levels, will ultimately determine our fate.”

“Humans – along with many other species – will die due to their inability to get rid of this heat through sweat, and cool their bodies,” he said.

Image shows the warmest monthly average temperature (°C) of Earth and the projected supercontinent (Pangaea Ultima) 250 million years ago, when almost any mammal would have been difficult to survive

(University of Bristol)

Supercomputer simulations suggest the planet may remain largely habitable until the seismic landmass changes in the deep future.

But when the supercontinent forms, research suggests that only between 8 and 16 percent of Earth’s land area will be habitable for mammals.

In the study, scientists applied climate models that simulate trends in temperatures, winds, precipitation and humidity in Pangea Ultima that are expected to form over the next 250 million years.

They also used models of plate tectonics as well as ocean chemistry and biology to predict future levels of carbon dioxide.

An image showing the geography of the Earth today and the expected geography of the Earth after 250 million years, when all the continents converge into one supercontinent.

(University of Bristol)

However, the researchers stressed that it is important not to lose sight of the ongoing global climate crisis caused by human emissions of greenhouse gases.

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“While we expect the planet to be uninhabitable in 250 million years, today we are already seeing extreme heat that harms human health. This is why it is important to reach net-zero emissions as soon as possible,” said Eunice Lu, co-author of the study.

“We believe that CO2 It could rise from about 400 parts per million (ppm) today to more than 600 ppm millions of years in the future. “Of course, this assumes that humans will stop burning fossil fuels, otherwise we would see these numbers much sooner,” said Benjamin Mills, another author of the study from the University of Leeds.

The findings also have implications for finding other habitable planets, suggesting that the layout of a distant world’s landmass could be a key factor when determining how habitable it is for humans.

“The outlook for the distant future looks very bleak. Carbon dioxide levels could be double current levels,” Dr Farnsworth said.

“With the Sun also expected to emit about 2.5% additional radiation, and the supercontinent primarily located in hot, humid tropical regions, much of the planet could experience temperatures of 40 to 70 degrees Celsius,” he said.

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