CBS Local — Will the human race live to see the next century on Earth? According to a mathematician at MIT, the next extinction-level event for the planet may begin as early as the year 2100.

Professor Daniel Rothman has published a formula in the journal Science Advances that looks at the planet’s carbon cycle. According to Rothman, the massive amounts of CO2 emissions produced around the world are in line with previous mass extinction events in the planet’s history.

“The modern critical size for the marine carbon cycle is roughly similar to the mass of carbon that human activities will likely have added to the oceans by the year 2100,” Rothman said. The MIT professor adds that in four of the last five extinction events the critical level of carbon in his model was surpassed.

The study doesn’t draw a direct conclusion as to how life will begin to die out in the 22nd century.

“This is not saying that disaster occurs the next day,” Rothman admits. The mathematician adds that his model only points to a dangerous trend in the history of the Earth over the last 540 million years. “If left unchecked, the carbon cycle would move into a realm which would be no longer stable, and would behave in a way that would be difficult to predict. In the geologic past, this type of behavior is associated with mass extinction.”


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