Life On Earth To Die Out In One Billion Years

July 23, 2013 5:00 pm 0 comments Views: 308

All animals and plants will vanish from the Earth within the next billion years, a new study suggests.

But ironically the end of the world is going to arrive as a result of too little carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, rather than too much.

Currently experts are trying to find ways to cut levels of the greenhouse gas to prevent global warming running out of control.

But as the Sun ages and grows hotter, greater evaporation and chemical reactions with rainwater will take away more and more carbon dioxide.

In less than a billion years, its levels will be too low for photosynthesising plants to survive, say scientists.

When that happens, life as we know it on Earth will cease to exist.

With the loss of plants, herbivorous animals will also die out, as well as the carnivores that prey on them.

Eventually microbes will be all that remains – and for the majority of them even their days will be numbered.

After another billion years, the oceans will have dried out completely leaving only the hardiest bugs.

Astrobiologist Jack O’Malley-James, from the University of St Andrews, said: “The far-future Earth will be very hostile to life by this point.

“All living things require liquid water, so any remaining life will be restricted to pockets of liquid water, perhaps at cooler, higher altitudes or in caves underground.”

The surviving organisms would also have to cope with extreme high temperatures and intense ultraviolet radiation, he said.

The predictions are based on a computer simulation of the impact long-term changes to the Sun are likely to have on Earth.

As the Sun ages over the next billion years or so, it is expected to remain stable but to grow steadily brighter.

The increasingly intense radiation will cause the Earth to heat up to such an extent that the oceans start to evaporate.

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