Oceans Great Dying 2.0: Mass extinction haunts oceans

What is the News?

Scientists warn of imminent mass extinction of marine species similar to one that happened 250 million years ago during the Permian Era.

What is the Permian Era?

The Permian era is a period spanning 298.9 million-252.2 million years ago. This was a time before the dinosaurs ruled the planet. Global ocean temperatures were 10 degrees higher than today. Oxygen levels were 80% lower.

During this period, land masses collided to form the supercontinent Pangaea. The supercontinent was arid; only a few parts received rainfall round the year.

However, the large Panthalassic Ocean which covered much of Earth was home to many marine and terrestrial species.

But towards the end of the era, a series of volcanic eruptions occurred in central Siberia, injecting massive amounts of greenhouse gases(GHG) into the atmosphere. 

The change in climate after the volcanic eruptions was a death knell for the flourishing and diverse life forms.

Many long-lived lineages vanished. Roughly 96% of marine species and 70% of land species went extinct. Hence, the scientists refer to this period as the ‘Great Dying’.   

Why are scientists warning of Great Dying 2.0?

Scientists have warned of Great Dying 2.0 because climate change that happened at the end of the Permian era is similar to the one that is unfolding now.

They have said that if emissions continue to climb and temperatures reach around 4.9 degrees Celsius by the end of this century, close to about 40% of marine genera could perish by 2300 and 8% by 2100. 

Source: The post is based on the article “Oceans Great Dying 2.0: Mass extinction haunts oceans” published in Down To Earth on 27th June 2022.

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