Throughout Earth’s existence, mass extinction events have wiped out entire species, potentially changing the ecosystem permanently. In fact, scientists name five mass extinction events, with the most recent being the wipeout of dinosaurs approximately 66 million years ago. The cause of such extinctions has been proposed as asteroids, the Ice Age, and oxygen depletion in the ocean, but in some cases, the cause is unknown.

A possibly upcoming extinction event has experts reviewing those five previous incidents to see what they have in common. With each extinction event, the normal cycling of carbon was disrupted, either in the atmosphere or in the oceans. This brings concerns from scientists who are already well aware of the danger rising carbon emissions pose to our planet. The question is, could this changing environment cause a carbon jolt that could cause the sixth mass extinction?

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The friendly skies may get a little rougher. New research is increasingly connecting climate change to the jet stream, which could have a direct impact on airline travel by the last half of the century. Scientists believe that warmer climates could mean more turbulence for passengers and flight crews, especially along transatlantic routes in the Northern Hemisphere. In other words, those flying from North America to Europe may be in for a bumpy ride.

Experts explain that the increase in carbon dioxide concentrations could directly impact the jet stream that crosses the flight corridor, which would not only mean bumpy rides but an overall increase in the cost of fuel and airplane maintenance. But most concerning is the possibility of an increase in severe turbulence, which goes beyond making passengers uncomfortable or nauseous. Severe turbulence has the power to put its victims in the hospital.

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Wednesday, 17 August 2016 00:00

Diseases Traced to Global Warming

As the debate continues about global warming, one issue has emerged that goes beyond melting glaciers and rising seas levels: Diseases -- some new and some long with us -- are starting to show up in regions of the world where they had never been imagined to exist.

When permafrost melts, pathogens that have been encased in ice for hundreds of years can be freed. Also, when temperatures heat up, mosquitoes that carry diseases can travel over greater distances, resulting in the spread of illnesses from tropical regions to traditionally colder climates.

LiveScience took a closer look at some of the diseases emerging on the threat horizon:

Anthrax: About a month ago, a herd of Siberian reindeer were hit with a wave of anthrax, which killed about 2,000 of the animals and affected a few people, as well. The source of the disease transmission was traced to a 75-year-old reindeer carcass which had recently thawed due to warming temperatures.

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