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Extreme Heat Threatens Mass Extinction: Are Humans at Risk?

  • Posted on September 26, 2023
  • News
  • By Sakshi Gupta
Heat Threatens

Scientists are warning of a looming mass extinction event, and humans are not exempt from the danger. New research, based on supercomputer climate models, suggests that in the next 250 million years, the Earth's temperatures could skyrocket to levels that most mammals, including humans, may find unsurvivable.


The study, published in the journal Nature Geoscience, paints a grim picture of a future where global temperatures could soar by 10-15 degrees Celsius (18-27 degrees Fahrenheit) on average, with some regions experiencing an alarming 25-30 degrees Celsius (45-54 degrees Fahrenheit) increase. This extreme heat is attributed to a combination of factors, including volcanic eruptions triggered by tectonic activity and a slightly brighter sun emitting more radiation.


A study warns of mass extinction due to extreme heat, posing questions about human survival and the future of our planet.
A study warns of mass extinction due to extreme heat, posing questions about human survival and the future of our planet.

What makes this scenario even more concerning is the formation of the next supercontinent, Pangea Ultima, near the equator. With between 8 and 16 percent of land becoming habitable for mammals, most regions will be situated in the scorching tropics, making it even harder for species to survive.


Humans, with their remarkable technological advancements, might have a fighting chance. But there's a catch. Without the aid of technology, humans have limits when it comes to heat tolerance. Exposure to wet-bulb temperatures above 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) for extended periods or dry-bulb temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) with low humidity could prove fatal.


Extreme Heat Threatens Mass Extinction: Are Humans at Risk?
Extreme Heat Threatens Mass Extinction: Are Humans at Risk?

"While technology, like air-conditioned shelters, may save us, we'd likely need to build facilities for food production as well," explains Alexander Farnsworth, the lead author of the study.


This dire prediction also threatens the very foundation of the food chain. Plants, essential to the survival of many species, struggle to thrive in temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius. This, in turn, affects insects and higher-level species that rely on them as a food source.


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Sakshi Gupta

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