Permian extinction

How can we know what the current climate change can bring? Are we really on the verge of our extinction or are climate change skeptics right about ignoring global warming and other signs of environmental change? We can’t know for sure, but we can learn from the historical events to understand better what are the possible courses of action we can take. One of such events is Permian Extinction, which happened around 250 million years ago.

Permian Extinction, also known as the Great Dying, is an example of climate change that is believed to have caused over 95% of marine species to vanish. The global warming which made conditions for the species populating our planet at that time unbearable was caused by a series of volcanic eruptions at the present-day region of Siberia.

The volcanic eruptions emitted an enormous amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. It is one of the major heat-trapping greenhouse gases, which we now also emit in the atmosphere, increasing its natural levels in there. Over the next few thousand years, increased CO2 was accumulating more and more heat leaving the Earth, keeping it closer to the surface. Warming oceans started to lose more oxygen, which marine life depended on to survive. Together with warmer living conditions, the natural habitat of 96% of species became deadly, slowly leading to their extinction.

Warmer ocean waters caused melting of the areas where methane, another greenhouse gas was stored. Its release in the atmosphere caused more warmth trapping, increasing the global temperatures even further. It is estimated that 90% of plants and land species died as a result of changed weather conditions.

Permian extinction is the largest known extinction event. It was caused by natural events which added greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

Nowadays, we knowingly and willing re-create very similar conditions that wiped out almost all of the life on the Earth, and even though the potential effects are known to us, there’s minimal action that we take to prevent the history from repeating itself. We should all realize the impact of our current lifestyle, and as the most intelligent of the species currently on the Planet, it is our responsibility to change the course of actions.

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