"Once we're over the threshold you're dealing with how the Earth works, and it goes on its own ride!" The planet is "at the precipice of excitation,"said MIT geophysics prof Daniel Rothman, who released new data showing alarming carbon levelsin the ocean. Dissolved CO2 makes the ocean more acid, just as seltzer tastes tangy.
His new research comes 2 years after he predicted an extinction event at the end of this century. Since 2017, he has been working to understand how life on Earth might be wiped out due to carbon in the oceans. Rothman told MIT News a tipping point threshold that could trigger extreme ocean acidification similar to the kind that contributed to the Permian–Triassic mass extinction that occurred about 250 million years ago. "If we push the Earth system too far," Lenton added, "then it takes over and there will be little we can do about it."