Mass extinction could hit the Earth in “a century or two” because of the amount of carbon in the ocean, a top boffin has warned.
Daniel Rothman, a professor of geophysics at MIT, warned the critical threshold for the element in the seas is about 300 gigatons in a century – but by the year 2100, there could be a whopping 500 gigatons instead.
Once the threshold is passed, chaos would ensue on the planet and the human race would be entirely wiped out, reports SPUTNIK.
But terrifyingly, the scientist said if the world was currently in a mass extinction event we may not even know.
Because they don’t take place overnight and tend to occur over a period of years, it isn’t guaranteed anyone would notice until it’s too late.
The professor told The Times of Israel: “What we’re seeing today is very serious.
“However, I don’t know how much is necessary to move us to the tipping point that would create a global catastrophe for the global ecosystem.
“Mass extinctions represent some type of cascade of positive feedbacks that cause a global ecosystem crash… I can’t say we haven’t, I just don’t know how to say when we would.”
Rothman added that the staggering volume of carbon currently being pumped into the atmosphere could cause disruption to an unimaginable point.
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“Every time there has been a major event in the history of life, there has also been a major perturbation of the environment. These things tend to come together,” he explained.
If the amount of carbon in the ocean keeps rising at the same pace, it could pass a threshold that makes it too acidic for fish to live in.
The element is so important that four of the five mass extinction events on Earth were linked to it.
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