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Nature_and_Environment.114

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It's later than you think

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{Nature_and_Environment.114.39}: Jay Hoffman {resist} Mon, 01 Jun 2020 02:00:16 CDT (39 lines)

Study shows erosion of ozone layer responsible for mass extinction
event

Researchers at the University of Southampton have shown that an
extinction event 360 million years ago, that killed much of the
Earth's plant and freshwater aquatic life, was caused by a brief
breakdown of the ozone layer that shields the Earth from damaging
ultraviolet (UV) radiation. This is a newly discovered extinction
mechanism with profound implications for our warming world today.

The ozone collapse occurred as the climate rapidly warmed following an
intense ice age and the researchers suggest that the Earth today could
reach comparable temperatures, possibly triggering a similar event.
Their findings are published in the journal Science Advances.

Following melting of the ice sheets, the climate was very warm, with
the increased heat above continents pushing more naturally generated
ozone destroying chemicals into the upper atmosphere. This let in high
levels of UV-B radiation for several thousand years.

Lead researcher Professor John Marshall, of the University of
Southampton's School of Ocean and Earth Science, who is a National
Geographic Explorer, comments: "Our ozone shield vanished for a short
time in this ancient period, coinciding with a brief and quick warming
of the Earth. Our ozone layer is naturally in a state of flux—
constantly being created and lost—and we have shown this happened in
the past too, without a catalyst such as a continental scale volcanic
eruption."

Professor Marshall says his team's findings have startling
implications for life on Earth today: "Current estimates suggest we
will reach similar global temperatures to those of 360 million years
ago, with the possibility that a similar collapse of the ozone layer
could occur again, exposing surface and shallow sea life to deadly
radiation. This would move us from the current state of climate
change, to a climate emergency."
"https://phys.org/news/2020-05-erosion-ozone-layer-responsible-
mass.html?utm_source=nwletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=weekly-
nwletter"

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