One Giant, Human-Killing Supercontinent

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Double Retired
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10 May 2024, 3:18 pm

"A Simulation Says Earth Will Turn Into One Giant, Human-Killing Supercontinent"

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When a new supercontinent forms, it could be enough to send temperatures rising even more steeply than they already are. So steep, in fact, it would make Earth inhospitable to land mammals—including humans.

This is all according to a recent study published in Nature Geoscience, led by researchers from the University of Bristol, that used hundreds of supercomputer simulations to track Earth’s tectonic movements and the ensuing changes to Earth’s climate.

“All life will eventually perish in a runaway greenhouse once absorbed solar radiation exceeds the emission of thermal radiation in several billions of years,” the authors wrote in the study. But that doesn’t mean we can go on living on Earth until that happens. “Conditions rendering the Earth naturally inhospitable to mammals may develop sooner because of long-term processes linked to plate tectonics.”

The authors wrote that, within 250 million years, all the continents will converge to form Earth’s next supercontinent: Pangea Ultima. “A natural consequence of the creation and decay of Pangea Ultima will be extremes,” they wrote.

The eventual formation of another supercontinent has been proposed before, but while others have proposed various options for what that and mass might look like, this new study seems pretty certain of a bleak picture. According to the researchers, the formation of the supercontinent may be the next major cause of extreme climate swings. The researchers state that Earth has seen at least five periods of tectonic convergent cycles that resulted in continental assembly. Those coincide with large variations in global temperature.

I hope to move off Earth before this happens. :roll:


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naturalplastic
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10 May 2024, 5:31 pm

We only have a quarter of a billion (with a b) years to do anything about it!

The earth goes in cycles. The continents break apart. Drift. And then merge together on the other side of the planet and and form a new "Pangea", or single super continent. And repeat in roughly quarter billion year cycles.

In present day the climate is usually more extreme in the interior of large continents than near the sea. Its Sixty and cloudy all year round in London, but it gets 90 in St. Petersburg Russia in the summer, and forty below in the winter, even though the two cities are on roughly the same latitude. And in the American prairie West the daily temperature can drop fifty degrees in minutes when a "blue northern" comes barreling down from Canada down through Montana towards Texas.

Back in the days of the dinosaurs when all of the land was lumped together into the one big continent those climate extremes were even more...extreme. But the landmass was even bigger than any one continent of today...with less moderating influence from the sea. So the daily and yearly temperature swings were even greater than Siberia or the Sahara today.



lostonearth35
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28 May 2024, 11:19 pm

I doubt the human race will even last into the 22ns century. So many possible futures, and they're all horrible and dystopian. Just like the present.



Kraichgauer
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28 May 2024, 11:36 pm

Let whichever intelligent species that will replace us by that time worry about it.


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funeralxempire
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28 May 2024, 11:37 pm

I would expect a supercontinent forming to cause a mass extinction event. It would be staggering for it to not have that outcome.


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