Select the search type
  • Site
  • Web
Go Green banner ads

Published on Friday, April 7, 2017

Permian Mass Extinction Reveals the Catastrophic Effects of Greenhouse Gases in the Atmosphere


Permian Mass Extinction Reveals the Catastrophic Effects of Greenhouse Gases in the Atmosphere

The Permian mass extinction of 250 million years ago is said to be the Earth’s largest mass extinction. According to the book When Life Nearly Died, approximately 90% of life on Earth was wiped out. Theories for the mass extinction include: massive volcanic eruptions, meteor strikes, and global warming. Scientists researching the Permian mass extinction are leaning towards the idea that it was caused by an unprecedented global warming caused by greenhouse gases.

Published Findings

In the journal Paleoworld, a paper was published to shed some light on the Permian mass extinction. Researchers predict that the large amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere during this time was from volcanic eruptions. This caused the Earth’s average temperature to increase by 8 to 11 degrees Celsius. Scientists predict that the global temperature during the Permian would have reached 29 degrees Celsius and above. The rise in global temperatures resulted in permafrost melt, causing large amounts of methane to be released into the atmosphere. And according to the paper, methane in the atmosphere is “lethal to most life on land and in the oceans”.

The researchers studied the measurements of gases that were trapped in the mineral calcite from the Permian mass extinction. The vast amount of greenhouse gases found in the mineral calcite has led them to believe that global warming and climate change is what caused most of the life on Earth to die at the end of the Permian period. Carbon dioxide was the trigger to the catastrophe, but when more methane was being released from its frozen state, the effects became apocalyptic.

Feedback on the Permian Mass Extinction Findings

Peter Wadhams, the head of the Polar Ocean Physics Group at Cambridge University, believes that this major pulse of methane could have happened during the Permian. However, he thinks that the methane pulse would not have been enough to cause an apocalyptic mass extinction on Earth. Wadhams said that “If there were a large methane release, which is now possible because of the instability of the methane hydrates underneath the Arctic continental shelves, the off-shore waters, that could quite easily give rise to a very large pulse”.

Wadhams is not disregarding the findings from the Paleoworld paper, but believes that the researchers have over exaggerated the effects of the methane hydrates. He even criticised the paper’s title, “Methane hydrate: Killer cause of Earth’s greatest mass extinction”. Yes, the release of methane hydrates in the atmosphere can be catastrophic, but it is not yet definitive whether their effect can be apocalyptic.  


Are We on the Road to Another Mass Extinction?

The team of researchers from the United States, Canada, Italy and Germany who discovered these findings say that their information is relevant in dealing with the world’s current global warming problems. Currently the Earth’s average global temperature is 15 degrees Celsius (about half of the predicted average during the Permian mass extinction). The world is currently faced with rising global temperatures and experiencing permafrost melt. Although it remains unclear whether methane can have apocalyptic effects, we must not discredit the negative effects it has on the planet.

Research on the Permian mass extinction gives us some food for thought in what might become of the Earth if we reach the point where our global temperatures rise at an unprecedented rate, if too much methane is released from permafrost and if our climate patterns become grossly unpredictable. According to Tim Palmer, Oxford University physicist, humanity faces an uncertain future. Science has presented the world with a wide range of possibilities for what might lay ahead.

Rate this article:
No rating
Comments ()Number of views (440)

Author: AThompson

Categories: Blogs, Research, Energy & Power, Climate & Weather, Space



Search Jobs


«June 2017»

As Our Oceans Warm, Marine Animals Suffer

The warming of the oceans is causing some catastrophic changes to take place for the marine life that dwells there. Have a look at what's happening and what you can do to stop it. 

Read more

The NEW Zoo in Wisconsin Gets a Kick Out of Their Playful Baby Armadillo

Watch this adorable footage of a baby armadillo playing with his favorite pink toy at the Green Bay, WI zoo. A cute video that will warm anyone's heart. 

Read more

How Trump’s Budget Will Affect EPA Programs

News of Trump's new budget has hit the public recently and in addition to a slew of budgetary cuts, the EPA is in serious danger of annihilation. 

Read more

Trump Pulls Out of The Paris Climate Change Agreement

Trump has struck another blow to environmental regulation and consideration by pulling out of the historic Paris Agreement, becoming one of only three countries to do so.

Read more

Hamster Successfully Completes First Level of Super Mario Bros

This footage of a hamster completing the first level of Super Mario Bros. is going viral. Watch as he races towards the finish and even goes down a pipe!

Read more

New Research Rate of Acceleration for Sea Level Rise

Sea levels have been rising for years but recent research shows that the past decade has seen especially high rates of increase. And it doesn't like things are getting any better...

Read more

How Do You Test the Patience of a Basset Hound?

Watch as an energetic baby emu puts the tolerance of a basset hound to the test. With all the energetic ear biting and chirping, it's a wonder he doesn't snap!

Read more

Quick Tips for Reducing Your Carbon Footprint

Saving our planet isn't just in the hands of big name corporations and politicians. In fact, you can help give the effort a push just by following these quick tips. 

Read more

What is Tobacco Doing to Our Environment?

We all know about the terrible effects tobacco can have on our health. But what about the health of the environment? Have a look and see the real extent of this damaging plant. 

Read more

Fiona the Baby Hippo Explores Her Outdoor Habitat

Internet-famous Fiona the baby hippo keeps her fans in the loop with this new video from Cincinnati Zoo showing her exploring her outdoor enclosure.

Read more

Antarctic Peninsula Soon to Change from a Large Crack

The Larsen C ice shelf continues to break away in the Antarctic. But what does this breakaway really mean in terms of sea level rise and climate change?

Read more

Black Mamba Snakes Battle it Out on a Golf Course

Watch as a pair of black mambas, one of the world's deadliest snakes, engage in battle on a golf course in South Africa. Amazing footage!

Read more

The Carbon Capture Plant

Up until recently, prevention was the primary tactic to combat the buildup of greenhouse gases. Thanks to a new plant in Switzerland though, we can now take CO2 right out of the air!

Read more

Maggots at Work to Cut Food Waste

Food waste is a huge problem. Luckily, researchers are coming up with some creative ways to combat and profit from it: by using maggots!

Read more

Panda Keeper Struggles to Clean Because of Mischievous Panda Cubs

Panda cubs are some of the cutest animals on the planet. But taking care of them, especially when they're in a group, can be a real pain too!

Read more

Artificial Reef in the Mediterranean Made with Rubber Algae

Scientists have joined together to come up with a solution to dwindling coral reef populations caused by warming sea waters. This could be it.

Read more

Opossum Super Mom Carries All of Her Babies in One Go

Have a look at this footage of a mother opossum carrying her 10 to 15 babies on her back. A truly amazing mother for sure!

Read more



    Help Us Go Green
    Help Us Go Green