Scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) warn that Earth may face a mass extinction, the sixth in the planet's history. They say that climate change is pushing humanity to the brink of collapse. To date at least five mass extinctions have occurred on Earth, driven by natural and cosmic phenomena. Scientists estimate this mass extinction phenomenon wiped out up to 99.9 percent of all life, plant and animal life on Earth. The last mass extinction, called the Cretaceous Tertiary Extinction, occurred about 66 million years ago when a killer asteroid hit the planet off the coast. Modern Mexico. This Cretaceous Tertiary extinction ended the life of the dinosaurs, and wiped out up to 75 percent of all life on Earth at that stage. Many scientists fear a similar fate could happen in the future and, more worryingly, humans may have played a part in the planet's demise. According to MIT geophysicist Daniel Rothman, human activities have the potential to disrupt the global carbon cycle and trigger an ecological catastrophe for 10,000 years. Rothman has previously spoken of his dire predictions, which he claims could happen by the end of the century. In one study published in the journal Science Advances, he analyzed changes in the carbon cycle over the past 540 million years, including the last five mass extinctions. determine the "capacity threshold" in the carbon cycle, beyond which he believes conditions on Earth become too unstable to sustain life. Based on his research, Professor Rothman claims Earth could enter "unknown territory" by 2100, causing a planet-wide catastrophe that can last up to 10,000 years.
"Whenever there is a major event in the history of life, there is also a major disturbance to the environment," said Rothman
The carbon cycle is the process of moving carbon between the biosphere, pedosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere of the planet. Together with the water cycle and nitrogen cycle, these processes are key to sustaining life on Earth. Rothman is concerned about the amount of carbon deposited into the oceans as a result of man-made greenhouse gas emissions. Too much carbon in the oceans makes the water too acidic and potentially inhospitable for many species. According to Professor Rothman, at least four of the five past mass extinctions have been linked to an increased rate of change in the carbon cycle. And he believes humans are pumping too much carbon into the atmosphere, faster than past geological events and on a much shorter time scale. Professor Rothman estimates the carbon threshold in the oceans is about 300 gigatons per century.
Unfortunately, some estimates suggest that Earth is on track to hit the 500-gigaton mark by 2100.
"Mass extinctions represent some kind of positive feedback cascade that causes the destruction of global ecosystems."
"What we are seeing today is very serious; however, I don't know how much it will take to bring us to a tipping point that will create a global catastrophe for global ecosystems. ways to reduce carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.
"Of course we already know that but this gives another reason to do it," he added.
"There are things that can happen that are basically beyond our ability to understand."