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How will life on Earth end?
Life is resilient. The first living things on Earth appeared as far back as 4 billion years ago, according to some scientists. At the time, our planet was still being pummeled by huge space rocks. But life persisted anyway. And throughout Earth’s history, it’s seen all manner of cataclysms. Disparate doomsdays — from supernovae blasts and asteroid strikes to huge volcanic eruptions and sudden climate shifts — have killed countless lifeforms. And at times, those mass extinctions have even eliminated most species on Earth.
Yet, life has always rebounded. New species emerge. The cycle repeats.
So, what would it take to kill off life in full? Well, it turns out that while humanity might be surprisingly fragile, it’s not easy to sterilize an entire planet. Nonetheless, below are just a few possible doomsday events that could permanently extinguish all life on Earth — and the last one is likely unavoidable.
Asteroid impact apocalypse
When a city-sized asteroid struck the Gulf of Mexico 66 million years ago , it was game over for the dinosaurs, as well as most other species on Earth at the time. And while our ancestors hadn’t yet evolved, the impact was perhaps the single most important event in human history. Without that asteroid strike, dinosaurs might have continued to rule the Earth, leaving us mammals still cowering in the shadows.
Humans, however, won’t always be on the winning side of such random events. A future asteroid could just as easily take out every person on Earth. Fortunately, that’s unlikely to happen anytime soon. Based on the geological record of cosmic impacts, Earth gets hit by a large asteroid roughly every 100 million years, according to NASA . However, smaller asteroid impacts do happen all the time. There’s even evidence that some people may have been killed by small meteorite impacts within the past few thousand years.
But what are the chances that our planet will ever be struck by an asteroid massive enough to wipe out all life on Earth? Simulations published in Nature back in 2017 suggest it would take a truly gigantic space rock to accomplish such a feat. Killing all life on Earth would require an impact that literally boils away the oceans. And only asteroids like Pallas and Vesta — the solar system’s largest — are big enough to do that. There is evidence that infant Earth was struck by a large planetoid called Theia . But these days, collisions of such large objects are extremely unlikely.
Death by deoxygenation
For a more likely glimpse of an Earth-altering cataclysm, we need to look to the distant past.
Nearly 2.5 billion years ago, a period called the Great Oxidation Event gave us the breathable atmosphere we all now depend on. An eruption of cyanobacteria, sometimes called blue-green algae, filled our atmosphere with oxygen, creating a world where multicellular life-forms could take hold, and where creatures like humans could ultimately breathe.
However, one of Earth’s great die-offs, an event 450 million years ago called the Late Ordovician mass extinction, likely happened because the inverse took place. The planet saw a sudden drop in oxygen levels that lasted for several million years.
What could have caused such an extreme event? During the Ordovician period, the continents were one jumbled mass called Gondwana. Most life on Earth still lived in the oceans, but plants were beginning to emerge on land. Then, near the end of the Ordovician, a sweeping climate shift left the supercontinent covered with glaciers. That global cooling alone was enough to start killing off species.
But then a second pulse of the extinction ramped up as oxygen levels plummeted. Scientists see evidence of this shift in seafloor samples collected from around the world. Some researchers think that the glaciers were responsible for fundamentally changing the layers of the oceans, which have unique temperatures and specific concentrations of elements like oxygen. Yet, the exact cause of the oxygen drop is still up for debate.
Whatever the cause, the end result is that more than 80 percent of life on Earth died during the Late Ordovician mass extinction, according to some estimates .
So, it may have happened before, but could a deoxygenation event happen again? In an eerie comparison to today, researchers involved in the recent Nature Communications study say that climate change is already reducing oxygen levels in our oceans, potentially killing off marine species.
Gamma-ray burst extinction
Even if a sudden spate of global cooling sparked the Late Ordovician mass extinction, what set that in motion in the first place? Over the years, numerous astronomers have suggested the culprit might have been a gamma-ray burst (GRB).
GRBs are mysterious events that seem to be the most violent and energetic explosions in the cosmos, and astronomers suspect they’re tied to extreme supernovae. However (and thankfully), we haven’t yet seen a burst close enough to us to fully understand what’s going on. So far, GRBs have only been spotted in other galaxies.
But if one did happen in the Milky Way, as has likely happened in the past, it could cause a mass extinction on Earth. A GRB pointed in our direction might last just 10 seconds or so, but it could still destroy at least half Earth’s ozone in that short period of time. As humans have learned in recent decades, even a relatively small amount of ozone depletion is enough to chip away at our planet’s natural sunscreen, causing serious problems. Wiping out the ozone on a large enough scale could wreak havoc on food chains, killing off huge numbers of species.
A GRB would wipe out the lifeforms that live in the upper levels of the ocean, which currently contribute significant amounts of oxygen to our atmosphere. And, it turns out, gamma rays also break apart atmospheric oxygen and nitrogen. These gasses get converted into nitrogen dioxide, which is more commonly known as the smog that blocks out the Sun above heavily polluted cities. Having this smog blanketing the entire Earth would block out sunshine and kickstart a global ice age.
End of the Sun
Any of the devastating scenarios above, while undoubtedly terrible for life, are just a fraction as bad as future Earth’s ultimate fate. Gamma-ray burst or not, in about a billion years, most life on Earth will eventually die anyway due to a lack of oxygen. That’s according to a different study published in March in the journal Nature Geoscience .
The researchers suggest that our oxygen-rich atmosphere is not a permanent feature of the planet. Instead, in about a billion years, solar activity will cause atmospheric oxygen to plummet back down to the level it was at before the Great Oxidation Event. To determine this, the authors combined climate models and biogeochemistry models to simulate what will happen to the atmosphere as the Sun ages and puts out more energy.
They found that, eventually, Earth reaches a point where atmospheric carbon dioxide breaks down. At that point, oxygen-producing plants and organisms that rely on photosynthesis will die out. Our planet won’t have enough lifeforms to sustain the oxygen-rich atmosphere humans and other animals require.
The precise timing of when that starts and how long it takes — the deoxygenation process could take as few as 10,000 years — depends on a broad range of factors. But, in the end, the authors say this cataclysm is an unavoidable one for the planet.
Luckily, humanity still has another billion years to figure out other plans.
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Scientists witness what the end of the Earth could look like
We are scheduled to be engulfed by our Sun in a stellar inferno - but it won’t be for another five billion years
Few people would want to know the time and nature of their own demise, but for planet Earth, its fate is sealed . In five billion years it will likely be engulfed by our own Sun and devoured by a stellar inferno.
Now, for the first time, astronomers have seen what that could look like because another planet in the Milky Way has been seen getting swallowed by its own star.
Experts from Harvard, Caltech and MIT were studying a star 12,000 light years away which was entering its red giant phase at the end of its life and swelling in size.
As the star expanded in an attempt to extend its lifespan because it was running out of fuel it started dragging an orbiting planet towards it, before engulfing it.
Over a ten-day period the scientists saw the star become 100 times brighter than usual and analysis showed similarities to when two stars merge.
However, the brightness of this event was only one thousandth of the strength of a dual-star merger, leading the team to conclude with various computer models that the star had engulfed a large planet, roughly the size of Jupiter .
After ten days of exceptional brightness the star cooled down and astronomers saw the brightness fading over the next six months. Our own Sun, whose warmth and gravity allowed for life to flourish, will one day do the same to us but Earth’s fiery downfall will occur in around five billion years time.
“We are seeing the future of the Earth,” study lead author Dr Kishalay De from MIT, said of the findings. “If some other civilization was observing us from 10,000 light years away while the Sun was engulfing the Earth, they would see the sun suddenly brighten as it ejects some material, then form dust around it, before settling back to what it was.”
100-fold spike in brightness
He adds that he was looking at data from the Palomar Observatory in California when he saw the 100-fold spike in brightness which was, he says, “unlike any stellar outburst I had seen in my life”.
A year later he studied the same event with infrared data, not visible light. “That infrared data made me fall off my chair,” he says. “The source was insanely bright in the near-infrared.”
The scientific findings of Dr De are a key breakthrough in understanding planetary dynamics but are a harbinger of doom for Mercury, Venus, and probably also Earth.
“I think there's something pretty remarkable about these results that speaks to the transience of our existence,” said Ryan Lau, co-author on the study from the NOIRLab, said.
“After the billions of years that span the lifetime of our Solar System , our own end stages will likely conclude in a final flash that lasts only a few months.”
The study is published in the journal Nature, and Dr Smadar Noaz, an astronomer at UCLA, said in an accompanying article that “gravitational interactions between a star and a planet in close orbit around it can also slowly drive the planet to its demise”.
“As a star exhausts its core hydrogen fuel, it expands and becomes a sub-giant. At this stage, it will start to engulf its nearby planets — in a few billion years, the Sun will undergo this process.”
Dr Noaz added that more observations are needed of the planet-swallowing star seen in this study to understand more about similar events and learn what leads to them occurring.
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Where does Earth end and outer space begin?
And where does outer space begin?
When mountaineers climb Mount Everest, they routinely carry oxygen cylinders, devices that allow them to breathe freely at high altitudes. This is necessary because the closer you get to the edge of Earth's atmosphere, the less oxygen there is available compared with the plentiful amounts found at sea level.
This is just one example of how variable Earth's atmosphere is and showcases the elemental makeup of its layers, from the troposphere, near sea level, to the exosphere, in its outermost regions. Where each layer ends and begins is defined by four key traits, according to the National Weather Service : temperature change, chemical composition, density and the movement of the gases within it.
So, with this in mind, where does Earth's atmosphere actually end? And where does space begin?
Related: How much water is in Earth's atmosphere?
Each of the atmosphere's layers plays a role in ensuring our planet can host all manner of life, doing everything from blocking cancer-causing cosmic radiation to creating the pressure required to produce water , according to NASA.
"As you get farther from Earth , the atmosphere becomes less dense," Katrina Bossert, a space physicist at Arizona State University, told Live Science in an email. "The composition also changes, and lighter atoms and molecules begin to dominate, while heavy molecules remain closer to the Earth's surface."
As you move up in the atmosphere, the pressure, or the weight of the atmosphere above you, weakens rapidly. Even though commercial planes have pressurized cabins, rapid changes in altitude can affect the slim eustachian tubes connecting the ear with the nose and throat. "This is why your ears may pop during takeoff in an airplane," said Matthew Igel, an adjunct professor of atmospheric science at the University of California, Davis.
Eventually, the air becomes too thin for conventional aircraft to fly at all, with such craft not able to generate enough lift. This is the area scientists have decreed marks our atmosphere's end, and space's beginning. It's known as the Kármán line, named after Theodore von Kármán, a Hungarian American physicist who, in 1957, became the first person to attempt to define the boundary between Earth and outer space, according to EarthSky .
This line, given it marks the boundary between Earth and space, not only denotes where an aircraft's limits lie, but is also crucial for scientists and engineers when figuring out how to keep spacecraft and satellites orbiting Earth successfully. "The Kármán line is an approximate region that denotes the altitude above which satellites will be able to orbit the Earth without burning up or falling out of orbit before circling Earth at least once," Bossert said.
"It is typically defined as 100 kilometers [62 miles] above Earth," Igel added. "It is possible for something to orbit the Earth at altitudes below the Kármán line, but it would require extremely high orbital velocity, which would be hard to maintain due to friction. But nothing forbids it.
"Therein lies the sense one should have for the Kármán line: It is an imaginary but practical threshold between air travel and space travel," he said.
Various factors, such as the satellite's size and shape, play a part in determining how much air resistance it will experience and, consequently, its ability to orbit Earth successfully, according to Bossert. Typically, satellites that are in low Earth orbit — a classification that tends to be given to satellites at an altitude of less than 621 miles (1,000 km) but sometimes as low as 99 miles (160 km) above Earth, according to the European Space Agency — will fall out of orbit after a few years, Bossert said, due to "drag from the Earth's upper atmosphere gradually slowing down orbital speed."
Related: How fast does the Earth move?
However, that doesn't mean Earth's atmosphere is undetectable beyond 621 miles.
"The atmosphere doesn't just disappear once you get into the region where satellites orbit," Bossert said. "It is thousands and thousands of kilometers away before evidence of Earth's atmosphere is gone. The very outer atoms from Earth's atmosphere, the hydrogen atoms that make up its geocorona [the outermost region of the atmosphere], can even extend beyond the moon ."
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So, if someone were to reach the Kármán line, would they notice anything? Would they be aware that they were, essentially, straddling the boundary between Earth and space? Not really. "Nothing really changes," Bossert said. Igel agreed. "The line is not physical, per se, and so one would not notice crossing it, nor does it have any thickness," he said.
What about being able to survive, even for a brief period, at the Kármán line? What if you were dropped there without a bespoke spacesuit or a mountaineering style oxygen tank? If you could get to it, would you be able to breathe at such a high altitude? And could birds ever reach such heights?
"In principle, flight is still possible all the way up to the Kármán line," Igel said. "In practice, however, animals cannot survive at altitudes above the 'Armstrong limit,' which is around 20 km [12 miles] above the surface, where pressures are so low that liquid in the lungs boils."
Originally published on Live Science.
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Joe Phelan is a journalist based in London. His work has appeared in VICE, National Geographic, World Soccer and The Blizzard, and has been a guest on Times Radio. He is drawn to the weird, wonderful and under examined, as well as anything related to life in the Arctic Circle. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Chester.
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Where Does Earth End and Space Begin?
"Where does Earth end and space begin?" Believe it or not, this seemingly simple question does not have an easy answer. As it turns out, pinning down the size of our atmosphere is kind of difficult to do because it grows progressively thinner as the altitude increases—with traces existing more than 500 miles (around 800 km) above the Earth's surface. From that point onward, it begins to gradually merge with charged particles from the Sun that remain trapped in Earth's magnetic field.
Scientists define Earth's current atmosphere as an oxidizing atmosphere. In the past, it was thought of as a reducing atmosphere. It's important to note that, like human-kind, our atmosphere has evolved alongside the changing tides of Earth. Largely, they were the natural result of by the influx of elements and chemicals introduced into the atmosphere by volcanic eruptions, impacts, and (most importantly) carbon and oxygen emissions, the latter became very important during the time known as the Great Oxygenation Event , which took place about 2.7 billion years ago.
The Layers of Earth:
As hinted above, our atmosphere has as many as 5 distinct layers . First there is the troposphere, which contains the bulk of its mass. Near the poles, it starts at the surface and expands more than 30,000 ft (9 km) high—or 56,000 ft (17 km) at the equator.
From there, we have the stratosphere. It begins where the troposphere ends, then 31 miles (50 km) above that. Due to its inherent stability (less turbulence and other forms of weather-related issues), most airplanes cruise here.
Continue moving upward and you will eventually encounter the mesosphere—the section in which meteors generally burn up. Just above that layer is the thermosphere—where aurorae form. After this, we finally come to the exosphere, where the atmosphere ultimately merges with space. It is composed primarily of hydrogen and helium, whilst becoming increasingly thin.
So where does Earth stop and the heavens start? According to a paper that was published in the Journal of Geophysical Research-Space Physics, the border between the two—the so-called Karman line—sits 73.2 miles (188 kilometers) above Earth's surface .
Needless to say, Earth's atmosphere is pretty thick, which is a good thing. It protects us from harmful radiation, space debris, and it helps distribute the energy we receive from the sun.
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Where Does Earth End and Space Begin?
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On July 11, the aerospace company Virgin Galactic made history by having the first tourist spaceflight. Or did they? Around 62 miles (100 kilometers) above the surface, the Kármán line is widely accepted as where Earth ends and space begins. Theodore von Kármán suggested this altitude is where the atmosphere is too thin for aerodynamics to have an impact on a vehicle and orbital mechanics take over. Virgin Galactic’s “space plane” made it to an altitude of about 50 miles (about 80 kilometers) above the surface but all passengers were able to feel the effects of zero G. This has called for debate over if this truly was first tourist flight to space!
What do you think, is space where you feel zero G, or is it determined by the Kármán line? Click on the links below to learn more!
Where does space begin? It’s an argument that’s still up for debate
The Kármán Line: Where does space begin?
Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic: their space tourism flights explained
Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo Unity 22 launch with Richard Branson. See video and photos of the flight.
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When Is the Earth Going to End?
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From the 2012 Mayan calendar to conversations about global warming, we are naturally curious about the survival of our planet. While scientists have given us a better idea of what could potentially happen to Earth, it hasn't stopped us from having doomsday predictions.
Join us as we explore the big question at the root of all these thoughts: When is the Earth going to end ?
The End of Planet Earth
How human beings might affect the end of the world, earth, 500 years into the future.
The end of Earth will likely come about because of the sun in our solar system. This much you might already know, but we actually have an approximate date. Scientists estimate that the end of the world will happen about a billion years from now, specifically in the year 1,000,002,021 .
By then, the sun's radiation will vaporize Earth's atmosphere, absorbing all of the oxygen, which will kill all life forms, leaving behind a barren rock. Or as the study says :
The Start of Simple and Complex Life
Water first appeared on Earth a few billion years ago — 4.3 billion to be more specific. But it took half a billion years after that for the origins of life on the planet.
While the end of the world and atmospheric oxygen is somewhere in the far future, human activity might change life on Earth before then. In 1947, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists created the Doomsday Clock.
The clock is "a design that warns the public about how close we are to destroying our world with dangerous technologies of our own making. It is a metaphor, a reminder of the perils we must address if we are to survive on the planet."
Back in the 1940s, nuclear weapons posed the greatest danger. By 2007, the Bulletin acknowledged how climate change, which could lead to an ocean-covered world due to rising sea levels, could get us closer to midnight, aka the time that our life-supporting planet would come to an end.
In 2023, the organization published a statement titled: " A time of unprecedented danger: It is 90 seconds to midnight ." Citing the Russian invasion of Ukraine and other factors, the Bulletin moved the hands of the clock forward to "the closest to global catastrophe it has ever been."
If you could travel back in time five centuries, you'd encounter an Aztec empire nearly at the end of its run, fresh paintings from Raphael, Titian and Durer, and cooler temperatures across the Northern Hemisphere. This was a world in the midst of the Little Ice Age (1300 to 1850 C.E.) and a period of vast European exploration now known as the Age of Discovery.
If we looked 500 years into the future and glimpse the Earth of the 26th century, we might find that the planet is as different to us as it would have seemed to residents of the 16th century. But this largely depends on the relationship between human civilization and our natural environment — its past, its present and, of course, its future.
Effects of Climate Change
We've been altering Earth since at least the Agricultural Revolution of the Neolithic Age, and scientists disagree on exactly how many animal extinctions from even before that point should be lain at our feet [source: Boissoneault ]. We manipulated the evolution of domestic plant and animal species, transformed the landscape and burned fossil fuels to power our way of life.
As a result, the planet's climate has changed — and is changing still. Some experts date the beginning of human climate change back to the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s, others to slash-and-burn agricultural practices in prehistoric times.
Either way, overwhelming scientific consensus indicates that human activity is almost certainly responsible for climate-warming trends over the last century.
According to NASA, carbon dioxide levels are up to 412 parts per million (ppm) as of December 2019, up from 316 ppm in 1958 when scientists first started tracking CO2. Global temperature was up 2.07 degrees Fahrenheit (1.15 degrees Celsius) since 1880, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Meanwhile, Arctic ice declines 12.85 percent per decade, and sea levels rise 3.3 millimeters per year, says NASA.
In other words, our planet is warming, extreme weather continues to increase and our natural surroundings are changing.
These changes threaten the balance of already highly exploited natural resources. The United Nations warns that the resulting droughts , floods, heat waves and wildfires will only speed up land degradation and accelerate the danger of severe food shortages. Such shortages are exactly the catalyst that historically leads to social unrest, mass migration and conflict.
So on one level, 26th-century Earth will have had to come to terms with climate change. According to some computer models, melting Antarctic ice could cause sea levels to rise by 1 foot (0.3 meters) by the end of this century and 26 feet (8 meters) by the year 2300.
Perhaps our 26th-century descendants will look back on their ancestors and see that we rallied before the flood. Perhaps they'll see that we made the sorts of technological, cultural and political changes necessary to prevent mass extinctions, political upheaval, environmental destruction and even civilizational collapse.
Or perhaps they'll look back on a people who willingly drove the world into ruin.
Along the way, however, our descendants will advance their technology — and while technology created the risks of anthropogenic climate change and nuclear warfare, it also provides us the potential to change course and improve.
Theoretical physicist and futurist Michio Kaku predicts that in a mere 100 years, humanity will make the leap from a type 0 civilization to a type I civilization on the Kardashev Scale . In other words, we'll become a species that can harness the entire sum of a planet's energy.
Wielding such power, 26th-century humans could be masters of clean energy technologies such as fusion and solar power. Furthermore, they'd be able to manipulate planetary energy to control global climate.
Still, futurists disagree on the timing of such a hypothetical upgrade in our technological prowess — and the upgrade is far from assured. As noted skeptic Michael Shermer pointed out in a 2008 Los Angeles Times article , political and economic forces could very well prevent us from making the great leap.
Technology has improved exponentially since the 1500s, and this pace will likely continue in the centuries to come. Physicist Stephen Hawking proposed that by the year 2600, this growth would see 10 new theoretical physics papers published every 10 seconds. If Moore's Law holds true and both computer speed and complexity double every 18 months, then some of these studies may be the work of highly intelligent machines.
Then again, he also predicted that overcrowding and energy consumption would make the Earth uninhabitable by 2600.
A Futurist's Perspective
What other technologies will shape the world of the 26th century? Futurist and author Adrian Berry believes the average human life span will reach 140 years and that the digital storage of human personalities will enable a kind of computerized immortality. Humans will farm the Earth's oceans, travel in starships and reside in both lunar and Martian colonies while robots explore the outer cosmos.
These technologies may come in handy, at least for a privileged few, if serious changes aren't put in place to deal with climate change.
Lots More Information
- What Will Earth Look Like in 5,000 Years?
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- What's the Difference Between Global Warming and Climate Change?
- Quiz: Can You Tell Climate Change Fact From Fiction?
- How the Fermi Paradox Works
More Great Links
- Explorations in Science with Micho Kaku
- Berry, Adrian. "The Next 500 Years: Life in the Coming Millennium." W H Freeman & Co. February 1996.
- Boissoneault, Lorraine. "Are Humans to Blame for the Disappearance for Earth's Fantastic Beasts?" Smithsonian.com. July 31, 2017. (Jan. 24, 2020) https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/what-happened-worlds-most-enormous-animals-180964255/
- Cain, Frasier. "How Advanced Can a Civilization Become?" Universe Today. April 16, 2004. (June 3, 2010) http://www.universetoday.com/2004/04/26/how-advanced-can-a-civilization-become/
- AFP. "Earth may be too hot for humans by 2300: study." The Independent. May 11, 2010. (Jan. 24, 2020) https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/earth-may-be-too-hot-for-humans-by-2300-study-5540194.html
- Kaku, Dr. Michio. "Explorations in Science with Dr. Michio Kaku." (June 2, 2010) http://mkaku.org/
- Ferris, Robert. "Stephen Hawking: Humans will turn Earth into a giant ball of fire by 2600." CNBC. Nov. 7, 2017. (Jan. 24, 2020) https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/07/stephen-hawking-humans-will-turn-earth-into-a-giant-ball-of-fire-by-2600.html
- Flavelle, Christopher. "Climate Change Threatens the World's Food Supply, United Nations Warns." The New York Times. Aug. 8, 2019. (Jan. 24, 2020) https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/08/climate/climate-change-food-supply.html
- Hawking, Stephen. "Science in the Next Millennium." White House Millennium Council. March 6, 1998. (June 2, 2010) http://clinton4.nara.gov/Initiatives/Millennium/shawking.html
- Kemp, Luke. "Are we on the road to civilisation collapse?" BBC Future. Feb. 19, 2019. (Jan. 24, 2020) http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20190218-are-we-on-the-road-to-civilisation-collapse
- Lindsey, Rebecca and LuAnn Dahlman. "Climate Change: Global Temperature." The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Jan. 16, 2020. (Jan. 24, 2020) https://www.climate.gov/news-features/understanding-climate/climate-change-global-temperature
- Meyer, Robinson. "A Terrifying Sea-Level Prediction Now Look Far Less Likely." The Atlantic. Jan. 4, 2019. (Jan. 24, 2020) https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2019/01/sea-level-rise-may-not-become-catastrophic-until-after-2100/579478/
- NASA. "Global Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet." Jan. 15, 2020. (Jan. 24, 2020) https://climate.nasa.gov
- NASA. "Global Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet: Facts (Sea Level)." Jan. 15, 2020. (Jan. 24, 2020) https://climate.nasa.gov/vital-signs/sea-level/
- NASA. "Global Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet: Facts (Arctic Sea Ice Minimum)." Jan. 15, 2020. (Jan. 24, 2020) https://climate.nasa.gov/vital-signs/arctic-sea-ice/
- NASA. "Global Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet: Facts (Carbon Dioxide)." Jan. 15, 2020. (Jan. 24, 2020) https://climate.nasa.gov/vital-signs/carbon-dioxide/
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- Shermer, Michael. "Toward a Type 1 civilization. Los Angeles Times. July 22, 2008. (Jan. 24, 2020) https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2008-jul-22-oe-shermer22-story.html
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