2011-03-04 10:28:06NEW PAPER: Has the Earth’s sixth mass extinction already arrived?
John Cook


Another new paper out today that is very much worth blogging about - I think the concept that we're now in the planet Earth's 6th mass extinction is something not commonly known and needs to be further promoted. This is a good paper as it's evidence based and a review of all the existing evidence:

Has the Earth’s sixth mass extinction already arrived?

Palaeontologists characterize mass extinctions as times when the Earth loses more than three-quarters of its species in a geologically short interval, as has happened only five times in the past 540million years or so. Biologists now suggest that a sixth mass extinction may be under way, given the known species losses over the past few centuries and millennia. Here we review how differences between fossil and modern data and the addition of recently available palaeontological information influence our understanding of the current extinction crisis. Our results confirm that current extinction rates are higher than would be expected from the fossil record, highlighting the need for effective conservation measures.

If anyone wants to blog on this and needs the full paper, say so here and one of us will email it to you.

2011-03-04 11:07:02dibs
Dana Nuccitelli

I'll take it - I saw a story on this yesterday and was thinking it would make a good post.  Can someone send me the paper?  dana1981@yahoo.com

2011-03-04 11:18:00Just emailed you the full paper
John Cook


The latest edition of Nature just came out - there's this and also some interesting research about Arctic sea ice tipping points (eg - suggesting there isn't a tipping point).

2011-03-04 19:46:52


I took a quick look at it. It confirms my fear that the impact on biodiversity will turn out to be the most important impact of AGW - more than floods, more than food shortage. It would be interesting for a good zoologist to go over the described impacts on taxa and make that a bit more meaningful to ordinary people.

Of course, all the impact is not just AGW; land-use is a major part of this.

In any case, the story deserves a lot of play.