The planet is in danger of witnessing a new mass extinction after it was experienced in the Cretaceous 65 million years ago, this time in the oceans, scientists warned in a study published in the journal Science on Thursday.
At that time, a meteorite and volcanoes destroyed life on Earth, but now people can be held responsible.
In the absence of a drastic and rapid response to climate change, the greenhouse gases that heat the oceans and consume their oxygen, as well as the destruction of “habitats”, overfishing and pollution of coastal areas, will wipe out the sea.
An article signed by researchers at the Universities of Washington and Princeton recalled that emissions of large anthropogenic greenhouse gases are radically changing the country’s climate system and threatening many species.
The study warned that while the impact of climate on biodiversity is difficult to detect, especially in ocean life, given the fossil history that illustrates past episodes of massive extinction caused by radical environmental change, “the future of life in an oceanic climate as we know it”
The authors of the study, Justin Penn and Curtis Deutsch, assessed the risk of extinction of oceanic species in different warming scenarios worldwide using an extensive ecophysiological model that emphasizes the physiological boundaries of the species according to sea temperature and oxygen predictions.
They concluded that if global warming continues unabated, it is likely that marine ecosystems around the planet will experience massive extinctions similar in size and severity to the end of the Permian period 250 million years ago, known as the Great Death. and caused more than two-thirds of the marine animals to disappear.
According to the study, the tropical oceans are the most likely to lose the most species due to climate change, although many of them are moving to higher latitudes and more favorable conditions for survival.
On the contrary, polar species must become extinct because their habitat is completely lost.
In another article published alongside the quoted article, researchers Malin Pinsky and Alexa Fredston of Rutgers University in the state of New Jersey confirmed that “climate change is driving species from the ends of the earth.”
But they pointed out that reducing greenhouse gas emissions can reduce the risk of extinction by up to 70 percent.
In doing so, they reaffirmed that preventing large-scale biodiversity loss and the sixth mass extinction is now a “global priority.”
“Whether humanity faces the worst-case scenario or the best-case scenario depends on societal decisions, not only on climate change, but also on the destruction of‘ habitats ’, overfishing and coastal pollution,” they warned.
Pinsky and Fredston argued in this way that “a coordinated focus that addresses multiple threats to ocean life, as we know it, has a better chance of surviving in this century and beyond.”