Total extinction, a supercontinent and hellish heat: scientists have modeled the "near" future of the Earth
It's unlikely that anything positive awaits our planet - at least, that's what scientists say. Researchers have managed to create a virtual simulation of the future, and the predictions, unfortunately, are not encouraging. Using data on the movement of continents and fluctuations in the chemical composition of the atmosphere, scientists have projected a very distant future.
250 million years ago, reptiles evolved. Different types of mammals emerged. Today, researchers believe that mammals are likely to live for another 250 million years. The New York Times explains what will happen next.
What the future holds for the Earth
The study was led by Alexander Farnsworth, a paleoclimatologist at the University of Bristol. According to him, the Earth will become too hot for all mammals. Neither humans nor animals will be able to live on land.
Three factors will provoke a situation in which the climate will become deadly for almost all living things:
- changes in the geography of the continents;
- the Sun is too bright;
- an increase in carbon dioxide.
Dr. Farnsworth and his colleagues published their study in the journal Nature Geoscience.
Three killer factors
Astronomers hypothesize that the Sun will become brighter and brighter, and in 7.6 billion years it will swallow the Earth altogether.
As the Sun "sends" more energy to the planet, the Earth's atmosphere will heat up, causing water to evaporate from the oceans and continents. Water vapor is a strong greenhouse gas, so it traps even more heat. In two billion years, the Earth's surface may become so hot that the oceans will boil over.
The history of the Earth is also the history of continental movement. The last supercontinent, Pangaea, existed from 330 to 170 million years ago. According to the study, a new supercontinent will form along the equator in 250 million years. It was given a preliminary name - Pangea Ultima. And the new continent will be much hotter than modern continents. The Sun is the main reason. Every 110 million years, the energy released by the Sun increases by 1 percent.
The formation of a supercontinent will worsen the overall planetary situation. The Earth will heat up faster than the ocean. In fact, the continents will be pushed together into a giant landmass, with a sharp rise in surface temperature.
Pangea Ultima will also affect the climate due to its topography, which will include vast stretches of plain far from the ocean. On today's Earth, rainwater and carbon dioxide react with minerals on the slopes of mountains and hills, which are then carried out to sea and fall to the seabed. The result is that carbon dioxide is steadily removed from the atmosphere. But when Pangea Ultima forms on Earth, this conveyor belt will slow down.
The supercontinent is likely to be filled with volcanoes that will emit carbon dioxide. Due to the turbulent movements of molten rocks deep in the Earth's interior, volcanoes can release huge bursts of carbon dioxide for thousands of years. Greenhouse gas explosions will lead to a sharp rise in temperature. This, of course, will be another cause of mass extinction.
However, Wolfgang Kiessling, a climate scientist at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany, emphasized that the model does not take into account a factor that may be of great importance for the survival of mammals: the gradual decline in the amount of heat coming out of the Earth's interior. This decline could lead to fewer volcanic eruptions and less carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere.
Earlier, OBOZREVATEL reported that scientists predicted dire consequences of the awakening of zombie bacteria, one of which would be global extinction.