This time the planet is warming much, much faster
Most people have heard of climate change, the long-term and rapid changes in weather patterns Earth is experiencing today. But fewer know that the planet has undergone similar climate changes before—with devastating consequences.
The ocean simply became too hot and too oxygen-poor.
Some 252 million years ago, massive volcanic eruptions spewed greenhouse gases into the sky, trapping heat in the Earth’s atmosphere and warming the planet by more than 10 degrees Celsius. This extreme temperature change occurred over only a few thousand years—a very short time in geologic history. It increased ocean temperatures, deprived ocean-dwellers of oxygen, and triggered what geologists call the “Great Dying” the greatest mass extinction in Earth’s history. 90% or more of marine life went extinct, and terrestrial species didn’t fare much better.
Scientists have hypothesized several ways this drastic climactic change might have prompted the Great Dying, including ocean acidification and metals from the eruptions poisoning a variety of species. But a recent study has unveiled the most likely culprit: The ocean simply became too hot and too oxygen-poor.
In the study, researchers simulated ancient Earth’s conditions before the Great Dying. Then they modeled marine species’ simulated responses to extreme warming. Since testing the model with experiments was impossible, the researchers needed another way to verify its accuracy. To do so, they compared their model’s predictions for how many species would disappear with the actual fossil record of extinct species—and the predictions matched.
The events leading up to this ancient die-off share ominous parallels with contemporary climate change
Like all studies, this one isn’t perfect. To run their model, the researchers needed to know different extinct species’ limits for oxygen and heat. Of course, they didn’t have enough data on these species that died of hundreds of millions of years ago. So instead, the authors used data on similar living species. While this isn’t ideal, it’s a clever workaround for several reasons. For one, the climate today is similar to the Permian climate, so species are adapted to similar environments. Secondly, and more importantly, the researchers ran some test runs of their model to show that even if their results are biased, it wouldn’t change the general conclusions.
Their study yielded an interesting but counter-intuitive result: Tropical species were less likely to go extinct than those at higher latitudes. The tropics were already hot before the climate changed, so how did marine life handle even more extreme temperatures after rapid warming? The answer is: they didn’t. When conditions become too extreme, tropical species simply migrated to colder latitudes. But species in polar oceans who got too hot were out of luck—there was nowhere colder for them to go!
One hundred years past, the Great Dying left only 20,000 humans alive. Those that remained were scattered across the globe. Small bands of survivors gathered to make a go of life; to prevent Homo sapiens from becoming yet another extinct species.
On the edge of the Northern Hemisphere, nestled against the Puget Sound, one tribe, the New Washington Enclave is thriving. At least, in comparison to the rest of the world. If it wasn’t for a thorium generator technology saved from the old world by one of the original founders, New Washington’s survival would be even more precarious.
Chrystel, a feisty, red-headed mayor is determined to keep independent-minded clavers safe and together. When an alien starship hovers over the New Washington Town Center and demands a meeting with its leaders, everything changes. The Ardinians want a place to live. They also want what’s left of humanity to help them defeat an aggressive alien cousin called the Hunta now steaming towards Earth.
Between insurrection, other predatory enclaves, and now an alien threat, the threads that hold them together are beginning to fray. Can an emotionally restrained mayor with the help of her founder family keep the enclave alive long enough to rally an earth-wide force to repel the Hunta? Will their true belief in the possibility of a better future be enough?
But then it happened. It happened fast.
Two fishermen caught something they weren’t expecting on Black Dog Lake. A mysterious virus with an almost supernatural way of evolving is spreading. People get sick. People get violent. People die. But, the disease lives on. It’s hunger to survive rivals that of mankind.
Survivors are forced to do the unimaginable to live another day. Winston Fleming shot his neighbor in the head. He knows it’s just the beginning as more people become infected.
Just when it seems all hope is lost, a secret military organization arrives. But is ARMA there to help or clean up the mess?
Who survives? Mankind or the virus?
Find out now.
The Last Five Days is a fast-paced thriller that explores what happens when greed threatens the existence of man.
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Graceful Exits offers valuable guidance in the form of 108 stories recounting the ways in which Hindu, Tibetan Buddhist, and Zen masters, both ancient and modern, have confronted their own deaths. By directly presenting the grace, clarity, and even humor with which great spiritual teachers have met the end of their days, Blackman provides inspiration and nourishment to anyone truly concerned with the fundamental issues of life and death.