Thursday, December 3, 2009
Scientists still struggle to find the exact cause of the first Permian extinction, but they believe it was most likely global warming, possibly caused by volcanic eruptions. I have located an online article entitled, "Antarctica Served as Climatic Refuge in Earth's Greatest Extinction Event." It states, "A new fossil species suggests that some land animals may have survived the end-Permian extinction by living in cooler climates in Antarctica. Jörg Fröbisch and Kenneth D. Angielczyk of The Field Museum together with Christian A. Sidor from the University of Washington have identified a distant relative of mammals, Kombuisia antarctica, that apparently survived the mass extinction by living in Antarctica."
So if global warming continues to escalate, the planets align and the poles switch, and we are faced with cataclysmic events, could we find refuge in Antarctica?
Another article titled "Fossil Record Supports Evidence Of Impending Mass Extiction" reveals scientific data which shows "future predicted temperatures are within the range of the warmest greenhouse phases that are associated with mass extinction events identified in the fossil record." Dr. Peter Mayhew, a population ecologist and supervisor at the University of York, is quoted saying, "Our results provide the first clear evidence that global climate may explain substantial variation in the fossil record in a simple and consistent manner. If our results hold for current warming — the magnitude of which is comparable with the long-term fluctuations in Earth climate — they suggest that extinctions will increase."
Yet another article, titled "Mass Extinction's Cause: 'Sick Earth,'" states that "a warming of the earth and a slowdown in ocean circulation made it harder to replace the oxygen sucked out of the water by marine organisms...microbes would have saturated the water with hydrogen sulfide, a highly toxic chemical."
With all of this scientific data and evidence supporting global warming as the cause of mass extinction, it is clear that the present rise in global climate is bad, to say the least. But would Antarctica really be the place to escape to if it all came crashing down? Let's examine the Earth for a moment: it is spherical with a bulge in the equatorial region which suggests that as the Earth spins on its axis, the middle ground is what gets thrown outwards by gravity, much like a merry-go-round. Antarctica and the Arctic Circle region, being at the bases of the axis, seem to be the steady and sturdy ground to be upon if our world should experience significant changes.
After reading through these articles and support for climate change causing extinction, I am ready to suggest that us human beings should start preparing for an arctic climate...just to be on the safe side.