Permian Mass Extinction caused by Global Warming

A newly published paper in Science proves that the Permian mass extinction, which is the largest extinction in Earth’s history, was caused by global warming that raised ocean temperatures and lowered the amount of oxygen the ocean could hold, making it difficult for marine organisms to survive.

Justin Penn, a doctoral student in Oceanography, and Curtis Deutsch, an assistant professor of Oceanography, along with Stanford researchers, modeled climate conditions during the Permian and used published lab measurements and the fossil record to analyze the effects of the changing climate on marine organisms.

This study’s results, that mass extinction is an effect of increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere resulting in a warmer ocean, are important considering our climate now. Penn said, “This study highlights the potential for a mass extinction arising from a similar mechanism under anthropogenic climate change.”

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