SOURCE: Cosmos Magazine
DATE: September 21, 2017
SNIP: The numbers don’t lie: the world is heading for a sixth mass extinction event, and the point of no return lies just 80 years ahead.
That’s the conclusion of geophysicist and mathematician Daniel Rothman from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in a paper published in the journal Science Advances.
Rothman, who has previously been awarded for his mathematical analysis of the carbon cycle, set out to analyse available data relating to the five previous mass extinctions – including the Permian event, which saw the end of 95% of all marine species – and see what, if any, conclusions could be drawn in relation to today’s climate modelling.
Crunching all the numbers, Rothman concluded that in the current circumstances the threshold will be crossed when the amount of carbon pumped into the ocean – above the sequestered leakage amount – hits 310 gigatonnes.
Best-case scenario modelling by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts that that by 2100 the actual added ocean carbon load will just scrape under that target, at 300 gigatonnes. Every other scenario lands substantially above it.