GLOBAL WARMING MEANS THE END OF SEA LIFE

GLOBAL WARMING MEANS THE END OF SEA LIFE

Climate change may harm Earth more than we believe, discovered a study published on December 7 in the Science journal. Scientists discovered that the Permian-Triassic extinction was caused by a natural catastrophe – due to greenhouse gas emissions.

“Under a business-as-usual emissions scenarios, by 2100, warming in the upper ocean will have approached 20 percent of warming in the late Permian, and by the year 2300, it will reach between 35 and 50 percent. This study highlights the potential for a mass extinction arising from a similar mechanism under anthropogenic climate change,” said Justin Penn, the study’s first author.

Another study – conducted by biologists from Macquarie University in Sidney – discovered that global warming will eventually extinct sharks. However, some may become right-handed. Literally.

 

GLOBAL WARMING CAUSED THE END OF AN ERA

About 252 million years ago, the Permian period ended. As 96 percent of ocean life and 70 percent of terrestrial life went extinct, that time is also called the Great Dying. As researchers long sought to find out how this die-off happened, now they discovered that – most probably – a series of volcanic eruption in modern days Siberia, releasing greenhouse gases – carbon dioxide, methane and more – into the atmosphere.

These gases warmed the planet and water couldn’t hold enough oxygen to support most life. A wide variety of fauna was lost – ammonites, corals, reptiles and sharks included.

Running a computer simulation for the changing conditions on Earth during the end Permian – with ocean temperatures in the tropics rising by 11 degrees Celsius – Penn and his colleagues found that the ocean circulation became stagnant. 76 percent of the oxygen around the globe was lost.

SHARKS MIGHT BECOME RIGHT-HANDED DUE TO CLIMATE CHANGE

Though sharks have fins – not hands – those are not so far off from human arms. So, talking about “handedness”, researchers refer to the process of lateralization, which is the tendency of one half of the brain to control certain behaviors. While for humans this means the preference for writing with the right or the left hand, in fish might mean a tendency to swim a certain way.

Scientists incubated shark eggs in a special tank specially designed to simulate hot temperatures – the kind of which we will experience on Earth by the end of the century, if climate change continues. Previous research showed that the warming of ocean waters affects the way fish develop. But also, it changes their behavior.

“Elevated temperature significantly increased developmental rates and metabolism, with associated costs in terms of energy allocation to growth and physiological processes. Therefore, stronger lateralization may arise as an energy-saving mechanism,” research wrote.

THE CHOICE BETWEEN OXYGEN AND CARBON DIOXIDE

Due to warming waters and loss of oxygen, most species would have to migrate to new habitats, in order to survive. But those living at high altitudes, in oxygen-rich or cold-water environments, are the most vulnerable to extinction – as the pattern of the fossil record shows.

Climate change and warmer temperatures will melt glaciers, so water level will rise. This might make us say that at higher altitudes, life will be safe and will prevail. But with oxygen depleting globally, even that can be rendered as impossible.

The simple question now, is what do humans choose: carbon dioxide – which does not help anyone breathe – or the oxygen that makes us all tick?

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