Civilization on Earth is most likely to be killed off by one of three ways, scientists say.
A team of researchers from the University of Rochester in New York used math models to determine the causes that would lead to the end of civilization.
Physicist and astronomer Adam Frank, who published the study, mapped out possible histories of alien planets, the civilization that they grow, and the climate change that follows. In the study, the scientists explain in detail how civilization as we know it would come to an end.
According to their findings, the skyrocketing population, alongs with the effects of climate change, could go through a soft landing, a gradual die-off, or full-blown collapse.
A gradual die-off is when 70 percent of life on Earth is wiped out before things go back to normal. According to the scientists, this would be the most likely outcome.
Soft landing, which, according to the scientists, is the most positive outcome, happens when a civilization starts adapting to the changing weather and sea levels and thereby avoiding mass extinction.
A full-blown collapse, the most terrifying of the scenarios, will occur when the planet becomes too sensitive to recover from damage caused by human beings. In a full-blown collapse, all intelligent life forms will perish.
Professor Frank, however, said in an opinion piece on The Atlantic that there is no evidence to support these theories.
“Our robot emissaries have already visited most of the worlds in the solar system,” he said. “We’ve set up weather stations on Mars, watched the runaway greenhouse effect on Venus, and seen rain cascade across methane lakes on Titan. From these worlds, we learned the generic physics and chemistry that makes up what’s called climate.”
He added that these laws can be used to predict the global response of any planet.
Earlier this year, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists released “The Doomsday Clock Statement.” In a paper titled, “It is 2 minutes to midnight,” the scientists said that besides climate change, and emerging technologies, the nuclear landscape takes center stage in this year’s clock statement. The scientists predicted that major nuclear actors are on the cusp of a new arms race, one that will be very expensive and will potentially harm the planet.
“Across the globe, nuclear weapons are poised to become more rather than less usable because of nations’ investments in their nuclear arsenals,” Rachel Bronson, the president and CEO of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, said.