TOKYO, Japan – A climate scientist at Tohoku University in Japan has run the numbers and does not think today’s mass extinction event will equal that of the previous five. At least not for many more centuries to come.

On more than one occasion over the past 540 million years, Earth has lost most of its species in a relatively short geologic time span.

These are known as mass extinction events, and they often follow closely on the heels of climate change, whether it be from extreme warming or extreme cooling, triggered by asteroids or volcanic activity.

When Kunio Kaiho tried to quantify the stability of Earth’s average surface temperature and the planet’s biodiversity, he found a largely linear effect. The greater the temperature change, the greater the extent of extinction.

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