by Florida State University, August. 30, 2019 in ScienceDaily/fromGeology
Late in the prehistoric Silurian Period, around 420 million years ago, a devastating mass extinction event wiped 23 percent of all marine animals from the face of the planet.
For years, scientists struggled to connect a mechanism to this mass extinction, one of the 10 most dramatic ever recorded in Earth’s history. Now, researchers from Florida State University have confirmed that this event, referred to by scientists as the Lau/Kozlowskii extinction, was triggered by an all-too-familiar culprit: rapid and widespread depletion of oxygen in the global oceans.
by Jim Steele, July 10, 209 in WUWT
Celebrating America’s Environmental Stewardship
I resent the one-sided mis-characterization of humanity as “destroyers of our environment”. Humans certainly had negative impacts on most ecosystems. However, in contrast to a recent United Nations report insinuating we are threatening one million species with extinction, humans have been working hard to restore nature and prevent further extinctions. Most endangered species are still staggering from disruptions initiated centuries ago. But now humans are correcting past mistakes.
Islands have been extinction hotspots. Sixty-one percent of all known extinctions have occurred on islands and 37% of today’s critically endangered species are found only on islands. The main driver of island extinctions has been purposeful or unintentional introductions of alien species. Introduced species are implicated in 81% of all island extinctions. With no natural predators, Island species did not evolve needed behaviors to avoid introduced rats, cats and stoats. Researchers now suggest eradication of rats and other introduced mammals could prevent the extinction of up to 75% of threatened island birds, reptiles and mammals.
by Vijay Jayaraj, June 3, 2019 Townhall
A million species threatened by “climate change”? Well, climate change as defined by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (“a change of climate that is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and that is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods”) isn’t likely to bring about any warming exceeding that of the warm periods mentioned above.
Which of course means it’s not likely to drive millions of species extinct. In fact, it will be a miracle if the gradual change in climate causes any alarming extinctions at all.
Only illegal hunting and habitat destruction (despite protection by governments) continue to threaten endangered species. Even in the worst case, they won’t cause species extinctions in the millions.
Vijay Jayaraj (M.Sc., Environmental Science, University of East Anglia, England), Research Associate for Developing Countries for the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, lives in Bangalore, India.
by K. Richard, May 16, 2019 in NoTricksZone
In the past it has been widely reported that high and abruptly changing CO2 concentrations led to climate conditions that were “too hot for complex life to survive” on the planet.
More recently, though, scientists have determined that the opposite may have been true: mass extinction events occurred during periods of global cooling, expansive ice sheet growth, and marine-habitat-destroying sea level drops of more than 100 meters.
In fact, of the 5 previous mass extinctions, volcanism-induced glaciation is thought to be responsible for the 1st, 3rd, and 4th events, with the 2nd unknown and the 5th from an aseteroid impact. None of these explanations have ties to CO2 concentrations or sudden warming.
by Toby Young, May 9, 2019 in ClimateChangeDispatch
Anyone watching the BBC’s News at Ten on Monday would have been surprised to learn that economic growth poses a dire threat to the future of life on this planet.
We’re used to hearing this from climate change campaigners, but I’ve always taken such claims with a pinch of salt, suspecting that the anti-capitalist left is distorting the evidence. Apparently not.
‘One million species at risk of imminent extinction according to a major UN report,’ intoned the BBC. ‘It says the Earth’s ecosystems are being destroyed by the relentless pursuit of economic growth.’
So does this mean the Extinction Rebellion protestors are right?
I decided to do some digging to see if one million species really do ‘face extinction in the next few decades’, as the BBC put it.
That claim is based on a report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), but it hasn’t been published yet.
by P. Homewood, May 7, 2019 in NotaLotofPeopleKnowThat
The BBC has just reported on the newly published Summary for Policy Makers of the as yet unpublished UN 1800 page global assessment of nature compiled by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). The two day old ‘climate crisis’, so recently [not] declared by the British government has already been knocked off the top spot as far as existential crises are concerned and is now officially languishing in 3rd place, in the Second Division. Land use change is now Premier Division. However, unlike action on the ‘climate crisis’, which has become a $1.5 trillion industry, action on land use change has been negligible to non-existent. Even hunting (legal and non-legal) and the direct exploitation of wildlife is one division above climate change in terms of the threat to biodiversity. Bugger all has been done to address these threats too, relatively speaking, during the last three decades, whereas trillions has been thrown at ineffective, and socially, economically and environmentally damaging attempts to limit global warming to 2C (and latterly 1.5C). I warned about this 3 years ago.
by Donna Laframboise, May 6, 2019 in BigPictureNews
Here we ago again. For some time, I’ve warned that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a template, that the United Nations is up to the same tricks elsewhere.
Today, in Paris, an IPCC clone known as the IPBES – the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services – will announce the completion of an 1,800-page report.
Jonathan Watts, the UK Guardian‘s global environment editor, has already told us everything we need to know about this ‘IPCC for Nature‘.
Under the headline Biodiversity crisis is about to put humanity at risk, UN scientists to warn, he insists this report was written by “The world’s leading scientists.” Funny, that’s how compliant, gullible journalists described IPCC personnel. For years and years. Until I began to notice that some of those involved were graduate students in their 20s.
by Andrew Montford, April 23, 2019 in GWPF
Extinction Rebellion seem to be everywhere at the moment. And everywhere their story is the same. We are in the middle of a climate catastrophe. As the Huffington Post put it,
Human-caused climate change is driving sea-level rise, drought, extreme weather and a biodiversity crisis that scientists have declared Earth’s sixth mass extinction event. As many as 150 species die off each day.
Scary eh? Surely that’s enough to justify the odd street protest?
It was therefore interesting to see read some remarks from Richard Betts today. Professor Betts is the head of climate impacts at the Met Office, so his views in this area carry a certain amount of weight. Asked what he thought were the top three negative impacts of climate change that have “absolutely started”, he replied:
- Sea level rise
- Increasing risk of high temperatures
- Changes in phenology and distribution for numerous species
This left me agog. There was nothing about drought or hurricanes or any of the other manifestations of extreme weather that are said to be afflicting us; nothing about floods, or typhoons, or desertification or crashing crop yields or climate refugees, mass extinctions, skydiving walruses and any of the thousand and one tall tales that climate activists spin and the media faithfully repeat every day. The contrast between this take on currently observed negative impacts and David Attenborough’s risible Climate Change: the Facts programme last week is startling. The take home message is that most of what the “national treasure” told viewers about climate change was grubby insinuation rather than fact: less to do with science than with the BBC’s ongoing eco-campaign.
by University of Cincinnati, April 15, 2019 in ScienceDaily from Nature
Mercury found in ancient rock around the world supports theory that eruptions caused ‘Great Dying’ 252 million years ago.
Researchers say mercury buried in ancient rock provides the strongest evidence yet that volcanoes caused the biggest mass extinction in the history of the Earth.
The extinction 252 million years ago was so dramatic and widespread that scientists call it “the Great Dying.” The catastrophe killed off more than 95 percent of life on Earth over the course of hundreds of thousands of years.
Paleontologists with the University of Cincinnati and the China University of Geosciences said they found a spike in mercury in the geologic record at nearly a dozen sites around the world, which provides persuasive evidence that volcanic eruptions were to blame for this global cataclysm.
The study was published this month in the journal Nature Communications.
The eruptions ignited vast deposits of coal, releasing mercury vapor high into the atmosphere. Eventually, it rained down into the marine sediment around the planet, creating an elemental signature of a catastrophe that would herald the age of dinosaurs.
“Volcanic activities, including emissions of volcanic gases and combustion of organic matter, released abundant mercury to the surface of the Earth,” said lead author Jun Shen, an associate professor at the China University of Geosciences.
by Univ. of California – Berkeley, February 21, 2019 in ScienceDaily
Based on new data published today in the journal Science, it seems increasingly likely that an asteroid or comet impact 66 million years ago reignited massive volcanic eruptions in India, half a world away from the impact site in the Caribbean Sea.
But it leaves unclear to what degree the two catastrophes contributed to the near-simultaneous mass extinction that killed off the dinosaurs and many other forms of life.
The research sheds light on huge lava flows that have erupted periodically over Earth’s history, and how they have affected the atmosphere and altered the course of life on the planet.
by University of Utah, November23, 2018 in ScienceDaily
New research disputes a long-held view that our earliest tool-bearing ancestors contributed to the demise of large mammals in Africa over the last several million years. Instead, the researchers argue that long-term environmental change drove the extinctions, mainly in the form of grassland expansion likely caused by falling atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels.
The study is published today in the journal Science.
“Despite decades of literature asserting that early hominins impacted ancient African faunas, there have been few attempts to actually test this scenario or to explore alternatives,” Faith says. “We think our study is a major step towards understanding the depth of anthropogenic impacts on large mammal communities, and provides a convincing counter-argument to these long-held views about our early ancestors.”
To test for ancient hominin impacts, the researchers compiled a seven-million-year record of herbivore extinctions in eastern Africa, focusing on the very largest species, the so-called ‘megaherbivores’ (species over 2,000 lbs.) Though only five megaherbivores exist in Africa today, there was a much greater diversity in the past. For example, three-million-year-old ‘Lucy’ (Australopithecus afarensis) shared her woodland landscape with three giraffes, two rhinos, a hippo, and four elephant-like species at Hadar, Ethiopia.
See also here
by University of Tennessee at Knoxville, August 27, 2018 in ScienceDaily from Nature.
Through the analysis of samples, Broadley and his team tried to determine the composition of the lithosphere. They found that before the Siberian Flood Basalts took place, the Siberian lithosphere was heavily loaded with chlorine, bromine, and iodine, all chemical elements from the halogen group. However, these elements seem to have disappeared after the volcanic eruption.
“We concluded that the large reservoir of halogens that was stored in the Siberian lithosphere was sent into the earth’s atmosphere during the volcanic explosion, effectively destroying the ozone layer at the time and contributing to the mass extinction,” Broadley said.
by Prof. Chris D. Thomas, July 10, 2017 in TheConversation
Animals and plants are seemingly disappearing faster than at any time since the dinosaurs died out, 66m years ago. The death knell tolls for life on Earth. Rhinos will soon be gone unless we defend them, Mexico’s final few Vaquita porpoises are drowning in fishing nets, and in America, Franklin trees survive only in parks and gardens.
Yet the survivors are taking advantage of new opportunities created by humans. Many are spreading into new parts of the world, adapting to new conditions, and even evolving into new species … (…)
by Arizona State University, June 27, 2018 in ScienceDaily
Scientists have argued for decades over what may have caused this mass extinction, during what is called the “Ediacaran-Cambrian transition.” Some think that a steep decline in dissolved oxygen in the ocean was responsible. Others hypothesize that these early animals were progressively replaced by newly evolved animals.
The precise cause has remained elusive, in part because so little is known about the chemistry of Earth’s oceans that long ago.
A research team, led by scientists from Arizona State University and funded by NASA and the National Science Foundation, is helping to unravel this mystery and understand why this extinction event happened, what it can tell us about our origins, and how the world as we know it came to be. The study, published in Science Advances, was led by ASU School of Earth and Space Exploration graduate student Feifei Zhang, under the direction of faculty member Ariel Anbar and staff scientist Stephen Romaniello. (…)
By Field Museum, May 24, 2018 in ScienceDaily (CurrentBiology)
Sixty-six million years ago, the world burned. An asteroid crashed to Earth with a force one million times larger than the largest atomic bomb, causing the extinction of the dinosaurs. But dinosaurs weren’t the only ones that got hit hard — in a new study, scientists learned that the planet’s forests were decimated, leading to the extinction of tree-dwelling birds.
by Donna Laframboise, April 23, 2018 in ClimateChangeDispatch
SPOTLIGHT: After the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report was released in 2007, its dramatic findings of species extinction were repeatedly emphasized by chairman Rajendra Pachauri.
BIG PICTURE: When it examined the question of species extinction, the 2007 IPCC report relied heavily on a single piece of research – a Nature cover storypublished early in 2004. Written by Chris Thomas and 18 others, this was the source of Pachauri’s claim that climate change threatened 20 to 30% of the world’s species.
by Arizona State University, April 17, 2018 in ScienceDaily
About 252 million years ago, more than 90 percent of all animal life on Earth went extinct. This event, called the “Permian-Triassic mass extinction,” represents the greatest catastrophe in the history of life on Earth. Ecosystems took nearly five million years to recover and many aspects of the event remain a mystery.
A research team, led by scientists from Arizona State University and funded by NASA and the National Science Foundation, is helping to understand why this extinction event happened and why it took life so long to recover. The study, published in Science Advances, was led by ASU School of Earth and Space Exploration graduate student Feifei Zhang, with direction from school faculty member Ariel Anbar.
by U. of Bristol, January 10, 2018 in A Watts, WUWT
One of the key effects of the end-Permian mass extinction, 252 million years ago, was rapid heating of tropical waters and atmospheres.
How this affected life on land has been uncertain until now.
In a new study published today, Dr Massimo Bernardi and Professor Mike Benton from the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Bristol show how early reptiles were expelled from the tropics.
by Marcus Gutjah et al., August 30, 2017 in PhysOrg
A natural global warming event that took place 56 million years ago was triggered almost entirely by volcanic eruptions that occurred as Greenland separated from Europe during the opening of the North Atlantic Ocean,
The amount of carbon released during this time was vast—more than 30 times larger than all the fossil fuels burned to date and equivalent to all the current conventional and unconventional fossil fuel reserves we could feasibly ever extract.” Ridgwell said.
An unexpected finding was that enhanced organic matter burial was important in ultimately sequestering the released carbon and accelerating the recovery of the Earth’s ecosystem without massive extinctions.
See also here
by P.A.E. Pogge von Strandmann et al., August 2017, in WUWT and Geochemical Perspectives Letters
(…) “Nevertheless, we need to be clear that the changes in temperature are gradual, and that recovery can take hundreds of thousands of years. Given the rapid increase in the rate of global warming at present, this kind of wait is not an option for us”.
by National Center for Atmospheric Research/University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, August 21, 2017 in ScienceDaily
Tremendous amounts of soot, lofted into the air from global wildfires following a massive asteroid strike 66 million years ago, would have plunged Earth into darkness for nearly two years, new research finds. This would have shut down photosynthesis, drastically cooled the planet, and contributed to the mass extinction that marked the end of the age of dinosaurs.
by Howard Lee, geologist, August 9, 2017 in WUWT
Earth’s most severe mass extinction, the “Great Dying,” began 251.94 million years ago at the end of the Permian period, with the loss of more than 90% of marine species. Precise rock dates published in 2014 and 2015 proved that the extinction coincided with the Siberian Traps LIP, an epic outpouring of lava and intrusions of underground magma covering an area of northern Asia the size of Europe.
But those rock dates presented science with a new puzzle: why was the mass extinction event much shorter than the eruptions? And why did the extinction happen some 300,000 years after the lava began to flow?
by Martin Schobben et al., July 2014,
The Permian geologic period that ended the Paleozoic era climaxed around 252 million years ago with a sweeping global mass extinction event in which 90 to 95 percent of marine life became extinct. It would take 30 million years for planetary biodiversity to recover. Understanding the contributing factors of the end-Permian mass extinction is critical to understanding and perhaps mitigating the current anthropogenic climate change.
by University of Oxford, June 19, 2017, in ScienceDaily
Huge pulses of volcanic activity are likely to have played a key role in triggering the end Triassic mass extinction, which set the scene for the rise and age of the dinosaurs, new Oxford University research has found.
by Peter Brannen, June 14, 2017
“It is absolutely critical to recognize that I am NOT claiming that humans haven’t done great damage to marine and terrestrial [ecosystems], nor that many extinctions have not occurred and more will certainly occur in the near future. But I do think that as scientists we have a responsibility to be accurate about such comparisons.”
Many popular science articles take this as a given, and indeed, there’s something emotionally satisfying about the idea that humans’ hubris and shortsightedness are so profound that we’re bringing down the whole planet with us.