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Hot Early Triassic Oceans

From: Ben Creisler

New in Science magazine:

Yadong Sun, Michael M. Joachimski, Paul B. Wignall, Chunbo Yan, Yanlong Chen,
Haishui Jiang, Lina Wang, and Xulong Lai (2012)
Lethally Hot Temperatures During the Early Triassic Greenhouse.
Science 338 (6105): 366-370
DOI: 10.1126/science.1224126

Global warming is widely regarded to have played a contributing role
in numerous past biotic crises. Here, we show that the end-Permian
mass extinction coincided with a rapid temperature rise to
exceptionally high values in the Early Triassic that were inimical to
life in equatorial latitudes and suppressed ecosystem recovery. This
was manifested in the loss of calcareous algae, the near-absence of
fish in equatorial Tethys, and the dominance of small taxa of
invertebrates during the thermal maxima. High temperatures drove most
Early Triassic plants and animals out of equatorial terrestrial
ecosystems and probably were a major cause of the end-Smithian crisis.


David J. Bottjer (2012)
Life in the Early Triassic Ocean
Science 338 (6105): 336-337
DOI: 10.1126/science.1228998

In the next 100 years, it is projected that Earth will move to a
greenhouse climate state. The future ocean will not only be hotter but
also more acidic and will contain extended zones with reduced oxygen.
Study of past periods of global warming helps to project what Earth
and its biota will be like in this new state and what the journey to
that state will entail. On page 366 in this issue, Sun et al. show
that beginning with the end-Permian mass extinction (~252.6 million
years ago) and continuing for the next 5 million years, Earth's oceans
were extremely hot, with stressful and commonly lethal effects on
ocean life.