Global warming linked to mass extinction millions of years ago, study says

10/21/2014 // West Palm Beach, Florida, US // JusticeNewsFlash // Justice News Flash // (press release)

U.S. – A new study suggests that global warming caused a mass extinction of aquatic life on Earth 55 million years ago. As reported by WebProNews, the Syracuse University researchers found that a global warming event called Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) lead to a decrease in the amount of oxygen in the planet’s oceans.

Zunli Lu, study co-author and an assistant professor of Earth sciences at Syracuse University, is quoted as stating of the findings, “By comparing our fossil data with oxygen levels simulated in climate models, we think OMZs were much more prevalent 55 million years ago than they are today…Deoxygenation, along with warming and acidification, had a dramatic effect on marine life during the PETM, prompting mass extinction on the seafloor.”

Lu further asserts of the study’s implications for understanding the impact of climate change today, “Global warming impacts marine life in complex ways, of which the loss of dissolved oxygen (a condition known as hypoxia) is a growing concern…Moreover, it’s difficult to predict future deoxygenation that is induced by carbon emissions, without a good understanding of our geologic past.”

The study has been published in the Paleoceanography journal.

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