Emergence of a “supercontinent” could wipe out the human species and make Earth uninhabitable, study suggests

2023-09-27 15:57:00

Is the end of humanity closer than we think? This is the conclusion of a study carried out by the University of Bristol and relayed by CNN. According to their predictions, the emergence of a new “supercontinent” would wipe out the human species as well as a majority of other living mammals within 250 million years.

The researchers draw this “very gloomy” conclusion based on the first climate models for the distant future. They predict that extreme climatic phenomena will intensify dramatically after the continents merge to form a “supercontinent”, called Pangea Ultima, in around 250 million years.

On this continent, it would be extremely hot and dry. So much so that it would be practically uninhabitable for humans and mammals alike. According to their models, temperatures should generally hover between 40 and 50 degrees. Extreme heat which should overcome the human species due to its inability to evacuate such heat through perspiration which allows the body to cool down.

Temperatures on the new “supercontinent” are expected to hover between 40 and 50 degrees. ©University of Bristol

This extreme increase in temperatures after the formation of the “supercontinent” would be due in particular to two phenomena: the melting of continents will lead to an increase in volcanic eruptions across the world, thus releasing more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere which would have the consequence to further warm the planet.

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Then, according to the researchers, the sun will become brighter, and thus emit more energy, which will ultimately warm the Earth a little more.

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“The newly emerged supercontinent would effectively create a triple whammy including the continentality effect, a hotter sun and more CO2 in the atmosphere,” explained Alexander Farnsworth, senior research associate at the University of Bristol and lead author of the article.

According to the report, only 8 to 16 percent of the supercontinent’s land is expected to be habitable for mammals.

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Step up the climate fight

In this study, researchers report that carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are expected to be double current levels. But to reach this conclusion, they based themselves on the hypothesis that human beings stop burning fossil fuels now. “Otherwise, we will see these figures much sooner,” comments Professor Benjamin Mills who participated in this study.

One of the conclusions of this study is therefore to intensify efforts in the fight against climate change and above all not to give up. For researchers, “human-caused climate change already causes millions of deaths worldwide every year”.

”While an uninhabitable planet is predicted within 250 million years, we are already experiencing extreme heat today that is detrimental to human health. This is why it is crucial to reach net zero emissions as soon as possible,” added climate change researcher Eunice Lo.

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