back to article EARTH was a BAKING LIFELESS DESERT for 5 MILLION years

Boffins have discovered that "lethally hot" ocean temperatures kept the Earth devoid of life for millions of years after the mass extinction that occurred 250 million years ago. Cracked earth The global wipeout that ended the Permian era, before dinosaurs, wiped out nearly all of the world's species. Mass extinctions like …

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  1. hplasm Silver badge
    Boffin

    Hopefully future global warming won’t get anywhere near temperatures of 250 million years ago-

    But If it did- we'll get over it.

  2. QuinnDexter

    Tatooine

    A long time ago in a galaxy not very far away at all

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    And some twit will say it was put there by a deity to fool us all.

    Mine's the one with the carbon dater in the pocket.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Sounds like something Mitt Romney would say. Doesn't he believe the world is only a few thousand years old?

      1. NomNomNom

        Mitt Romney believes the Earth is at least 4.5 billion years old and no more than 6000 years old.

        1. Evil Auditor Silver badge

          Mitt Romney believes that 47% of the species profited from the warming.

        2. amehaye

          That's an easy one

          The universe was created old. It came into being about 6000 years ago, with all the galaxies etc. already baked in. Now give me another one while I'm hot.

        3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
          Unhappy

          "Mitt Romney believes the Earth is at least 4.5 billion years old and no more than 6000 years old."

          Remind me again of what his strengths as a candidate are.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Twit, Mormons aren't "young earth" creationists.

    2. I think so I am?
      Thumb Up

      Not a deity

      just a bunch of aliens who deal in the plant construction racket.

    3. Armando 123

      And some would say ...

      ... that it was caused by the industrialization of the gorgonopsids.

      And according to Clarkson "Some say he nearly wiped out all life in the Permian when he opened his visor."

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > And some twit will say it was put there by a deity to fool us all.

      No deity required.

  4. pompurin

    Snowball and a Desert

    So in the past the earth has been to the two extremes of a Snowball and a Desert.

    It begs the question, is MMGW just speeding up the natural process?

    I can imagine an alternative reality where the earth is cooling down and there are tax breaks on producing as much CO2 as possible to keep the planet warm.

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      1. Bumpy Cat
        Happy

        Re: Snowball and a Desert

        Wow. I assume someone is glad it's Friday.

    2. indulis

      Re: Snowball and a Desert

      "I can imagine an alternative reality where the earth is cooling down and there are tax breaks on producing as much CO2 as possible to keep the planet warm"

      Yes that is great, imagination. Laudable. But it isn't science. Right now the science says that any cooling that may happen is thousands of years in the future. So in the meantime between now and then we are making the planet inhospitable, edging ourselves closer to "uninhabitable by our current civilisation". Maybe a race of evolved cockroaches will thank you for your continued CO2 emissions.

  5. TRT Silver badge

    Baking dessert.

    There, fixed that for you. It does look a bit like the top of a chocolate soufflé.

  6. Spoonsinger
    Pint

    Re "It begs the question, is MMGW just speeding up the natural process?"

    What are you going to do in the time saved. Just wondering like, as it's Friday and could do with a beer. (so only short answers).

  7. Joe User
    Trollface

    Global warming in the Permian

    Darn those synapsids and their hydrocarbon-based industries!

  8. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    What about life around the deep-water thermal vents? Is there any evidence of when that started up?

    1. Mike Richards Silver badge

      Re: Bah!

      'What about life around the deep-water thermal vents? Is there any evidence of when that started up?'

      The last time I was trawling the literature the evidence from genetic studies of the various species found around hydrothermal vents is that none of them are older than 100 million years and all have links back to well-established species found in more 'normal' conditions.

      There are about half a dozen known vent provinces around the world with very little commonality of species between them. Instead it appears that different species evolve to occupy the same niches in different places.

      Whether life started there remains an open question.

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Boffin

        Re: Bah!

        "There are about half a dozen known vent provinces around the world with very little commonality of species between them. Instead it appears that different species evolve to occupy the same niches in different places."

        Interesting. One option would have been that if they *had* evolved when the whole ocean was at 40 C they would be fairly similar as the ocean cooled and they had to retreat back to these hot pockets.

        That suggests they evolved at their sites *after* the global hot period.

        Thanks for the info.

  9. Chris 3
    Headmaster

    Lifeless - well except that it wasn't

    Sorry to pedantic, but clearly the earth wasn't lifeless, unless you're claiming that life re-evolved from scratch. Which it didn't.

    1. Fibbles

      Re: Lifeless - well except that it wasn't

      Indeed, not sure how they can reconcile these two statements;

      "EARTH was BAKING LIFELESS DESERT for 5 MILLION years."

      "In the dead zone, the tropics would have been very wet but with almost nothing growing, no forest, only shrubs and ferns, no fish or marine reptiles, just shellfish and virtually no land animals. Only the polar region would have offered any refuge from the blistering heat."

      1. DaddyHoggy

        Re: Lifeless - well except that it wasn't

        A desert means it doesn't rain (thus Antarctica is a desert). I suppose it is possible that the tropics were very wet in the sense there was lots of water but perhaps it never rained. If this is what they meant in the article they need to explain it better.

        1. Tom 38 Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: Lifeless - well except that it wasn't

          Parts of Antartica is desert. Other parts, not so much. Where the fuck did you think all that snow comes from?

    2. Armando 123
      Coat

      Re: Lifeless - well except that it wasn't

      Perhaps not absolutely lifeless, but clearly it was along the lines of Denver on a Saturday night.

    3. MondoMan
      Thumb Down

      Re: Lifeless - well except that it wasn't

      Yep, yet another case of scribe not reading paper, or scribe not understanding what he/she read. Perhaps the next one assigned to the science desk will work out better.

    4. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Lifeless - well except that it wasn't

      This just in: Reg commentators discover figurative language, fail to understand it.

  10. Anomalous Cowshed

    The day before yesterday it was cold. Yesterday, my friend and I were walking along a busy road, and the sun was shining. It felt nice and warm. "There's loads of cars here" said my friend. "That's what must be causing the heat". From there we walked into a shady, wooded area where there were no cars, and it felt much cooler. My friend was thus able to prove to himself and to me that it was indeed the cars and their exhaust that had been causing all the heat by the roadside. Was he missing something? He certainly didn't think so.

    1. Trevor 3

      I was stood

      In a room the other day full of people.

      It was really hot

      I went into the room the next day when there were no people, and it was cooler.

      People must have heated the atmosphere!

    2. DJ Smiley
      Facepalm

      Roads are black.

      Trees have green leaves.

      Lrn2scienc.

      (This is a stupidly simplified explanation.)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Lrn2scienc.

        Lrn2Albedo : ) it depends on what the roads are made out of:

        Fresh asphalt: 0.04*

        Worn asphalt: 0.12*

        New concrete: 0.55*

        New white portland cement concrete: 0.7-0.8**

        Old concrete: 0.25**

        Conifer forest (summer): 0.08-0.15*

        Deciduous trees: 0.15 to 0.18

        If it were as simple as that, we could cool the planet by bulldozing the forests and replacing them with concrete parking lots. Furthermore, clear-cutting forests for crops or grazing would also be expected to cool the planet ***

        Please note, I'm not advocating any such ridiculous action... just pointing out that your simplified explanation is oversimplified to the point of being somewhat misleading. Canopy effect, pervious vs. impervious (absorbed heat transferred into the atmosphere as water vapor instead of ΔT), and surface area (a topographic 1m² of concrete/asphalt is essentially 1m² - while a topographic 1m² of tree leaves is actually much more than that when you look at the surface area exposed to the atmosphere) - just to name a few.

        There is a quite reasonable explanation why the temperature at 2m on an asphalt parking lot > concrete parking lot > field > forest... but albedo, by itself, is not it.

        * http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albedo#Terrestrial_albedo

        ** http://www.concretethinker.com/technicalbrief/Cool-Communities.aspx

        *** http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Albedo-e_hg.svg&page=1

    3. Armando 123

      I blame the government. Afterall, they run the schools and prevent eugenics ..

  11. St3n

    Luckily for us, everything alive today is related to animals that survived it, along with the other mass-extinctions... We could probably survive the next one too...

    1. Anonymice
      Thumb Down

      Re: St3n

      Complex life doesn't tend to fare so well in extreme conditions.

      By the same logic, you wouldn't have any issues adapting to being dumped in a big fish tank. We crawled out of the sea after all...

      1. MondoMan

        Re: St3n

        Actually, according to the Wiki (yes, I know): "The groups with the highest survival rates generally had active control of circulation, elaborate gas exchange mechanisms, and light calcification; more heavily calcified organisms with simpler breathing apparatus were the worst hit."

      2. St3n
        FAIL

        Re: St3n

        Re-read the article then. Polar regions were quite survivable at that time.

    2. Tom 7 Silver badge

      re Luckily for us, everything alive today is related to animals that survived it

      are you sure your brain doesn’t come from one that didn’t survive it?

  12. John Latham

    Permian squirts

    "In the dead zone, the tropics would have been very wet but with almost nothing growing, no forest, only shrubs and ferns, no fish or marine reptiles, just shellfish and virtually no land animals."

    I'm not surprised the land animals were all dead with nothing to eat but shellfish served at 50C.

  13. Obvious to me...

    Fishes?

    Really?

    1. Gr0nk

      Re: Fishes?

      And eggses too?

      1. NomNomNom

        Re: Fishes?

        and tricksy hobbitses

        1. Robin

          Re: Fishes?

          @NomNomNom

          "and tricksy hobbitses"

          Thankyou for my first out-loud laugh all day!

          1. Esskay
            Coffee/keyboard

            tricksy hobbitses

            Gold. Pure Gold.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fishes?

      Yes fishes not fish. Fishes being multiple species of fish.

  14. MrCymatics
    Angel

    That is until our "Ancient Geo Engineers" showed up, read all about it in"Pyramid Gravity Force"............Stop drinking the Kool Aid.......and learn about the biggest discovery of the 10 thousand years..........OMG......! Who is in charge on this Planet..........? Stop drinking the Kool Aid and learn how the Earths temperatures are controlled in the Book "Pyramid Gravity Force" available on Amazon, find out how mans penitration in Cheops the great pyramid of Giza, disabled the great pyramid of Giza which controlled the Hawaiian Island vocanic activity. Yes the Giza pyramid was the Earths thermostat until crazy humans broke it, read how the Earth has missed a few crucial mini ice ages and how we have a chance of saving the planet by getting the Giza pyramids back on line. Ancient Geo Engineering is real......And we still have a chance to save planet earth from the massive tectonic plate movements that are coming to blast us all back into the stone age. Regardless of why the temperature rises on planet Earth, The pyramids are here to cool the planet down. We can't afford to do stupid anymore..............!This technology is written in all the ancient text.........Hello is anyone out there..............?

    1. Trokair 1
      Trollface

      I tried to resist feeding the troll but the insanity.....clawing...... me in.......AHHHHHHHHHHHHHOK I'LL BITE, HOW ARE THE PYRAMIDS SUPPOSED TO SAVE THE PLANET????

      Sorry everyone, I feel dirty.

      1. Naughtyhorse

        easy...

        not so much save the planet, but preserve civilization. cos as any fule kno pyramids store time (duh) and slowly leak it out into whatevers inside them, this way razor blades can be placed in pyramids, taken back in time to when they were sharp, which allows men to be clean shaven, which is the mark of civilization (see anywhere-stan for proof)

        simples

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