Mathematician predicts global mass extinction will begin by 2100 | science | Hindustan Times
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Mathematician predicts global mass extinction will begin by 2100

According to a study, the ecological disaster will likely play out over thousands of years.

science Updated: Sep 21, 2017 12:15 IST
HT Correspondent
A paper published in Science Advances said four out of the five previous mass die-offs took place when the disruption crossed a “threshold of catastrophic change”.
A paper published in Science Advances said four out of the five previous mass die-offs took place when the disruption crossed a “threshold of catastrophic change”.(Shutterstock)

Another round of mass extinction could be set into motion by 2100, if a mathematical study of five previous events is to be believed.

According to professor Daniel Rothman, co-director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Lorenz Centre, disturbances in the natural cycle of carbon has in the past played a role in mass extinction of animals and plants.

In his paper published in Science Advances, Rothman said four out of the five previous mass die-offs took place when the disruption crossed a “threshold of catastrophic change”.

The study says by the end of the century, the carbon cycle will either be close to, or well beyond the threshold for catastrophe.

According to the study, the ecological disaster would likely play out over thousands of years. “The upshot is that an unstable trajectory would reach its maximum extent roughly 104 (10,000) years after the threshold is breached. But how that process plays out remains unknown,” the paper said.

“The worst took place 252 million years ago and is known as the Great Dying. This disaster killed off more than 95 per cent of marine life when the seas suddenly became more acidic,” according to a report.

Rothman said there were similarities now because of man-made global warming. His mathematical formula predicts oceans will soon hold so much carbon that a mass extinction is inevitable.