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Unchecked global emissions on track to initiate mass extinction of marine life

Princeton University: “As greenhouse gas emissions continue to warm the world’s oceans, marine biodiversity could be on track to plummet within the next few centuries to levels not seen since the extinction of the dinosaurs, according to a recent study in the journal Science by Princeton University researchers.  The paper’s authors modeled future marine biodiversity under different projected climate scenarios. They found that if emissions are not curbed, species losses from warming and oxygen depletion alone could come to mirror the substantial impact humans already have on marine biodiversity by around 2100. Tropical waters would experience the greatest loss of biodiversity, while polar species are at the highest risk of extinction, the authors reported. Aggressive and rapid reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are critical for avoiding a major mass extinction of ocean species,” said senior author Curtis Deutsch, a professor of geosciences and the High Meadows Environmental Institute at Princeton.  The study found, however, that reversing greenhouse gas emissions could reduce the risk of extinction by more than 70%..”

Source: “Avoiding ocean mass extinction from climate warming,” by Justin L. Penn and Curtis Deutsch, appears in the April 29 issue of Science (DOI: 10.1126/science.abe9039). The work was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation (OCE-1737282), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NA18NOS4780167), California SeaGrant and Ocean Protection Council, and the UW Program on Climate Change.

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