We often attribute global warming to be a recent event, which peaked post-2000s. However, recent studies say ‘Its Not.’ In fact, the second most destructive mass extinction in the history of the Earth’s timeline is previewed to be triggered by global warming. The recent communication from Cardiff University, UK have tethered a massive extinction with an alarming concern for the first time, which should give us an insight on the question that we ask, ‘What shall happen if Global warming peaks?’.
The research group lead by Dr. Andrew Kerr claims that the inferences serve as a missing piece that connects the broader picture of Earth’s History and the environmental footprints. Although modern theories suggest that one out of the five major extinction events is too slow to be termed ‘mass extinction, ‘ then if we look at most of the extinction events, we find that most of them interloped with volcanic activities that gulped millions of square kilometers of area. In each of these cases, all the volcanic activities have likely kindled global warming, which perhaps accelerated the process of extinction.
However, there is an interesting fact to note about the Ordovician event, which took place approximately 445 million years ago. Various pieces of literature portray that this extinction event had been triggered by Global Cooling. The term ‘Global cooling popped up during the 1970s attributed to the cooling down of Earth’s crust owing to the glaciation which triggers the cooling effect due to the aerosols and orbital forcing. In this context, Dr. Bond from the University of Hull, UK, recently collected samples of rocks from the late Ordovician seafloor to trace the validity of the above-believed hypothesis. The group concluded an elevated level of mercury in the rock samples, which aligns with the proposition as large volcanic eruptions do spike the level of mercury in the environment. The study has put us a step ahead in linking all the five massive extinction to the volcanic eruptions, which might have sparked global warming, thereby elevating the ocean temperature and reducing the waterbodies’ ability to dissolve oxygen. The lack of oxygen led to the suffocation, which in turn catalyzed the process of marine life extinction.
The assertion also put why the Scottish rocks possess high levels of Uranium on the evolutionary track, as Uranium is believed to precipitate from the seawater and accumulates in the sea bed, thus reducing the dissolution efficacy of oxygen in the ocean water.
Although the missing link of ‘global warming’ beautifully fills the blank on the evolutionary trend line of extinction, there needs to several supplementary studies that need to the conducted to bolster the newly said hypothesis. Nevertheless, the scenario may claim that global cooling and the after-effects of glaciation contributed to the extinction; these events played a pivotal role in the extinction process’s inception. However, the events of volcanic eruption couped with global warming are being believed to have catalyzed the process and have triggered the process in the later phases of the extinction timelines. Connecting the dots between global warming and mass extinction is an example that should make us more concerned about the recent burgeoning growth of global warming, as it may trigger another mass extinction.