RIGHT, you’ve been warned: Don’t make any plans for the year 250002023. That’s when, according to the latest guesswork – sorry, the latest careful scientific study – the Earth will become uninhabitable and humanity will die off.
And if you think it’s a bit premature to be worrying about something 250million years in the future, well, just think how quickly Christmas seems to come around each year.
Anyhow, this latest makes-your-flesh-creep warning is the result of a project led by Dr Alexander Farnsworth, senior research associate at the University of Bristol’s School of Geographical Sciences.
‘The outlook in the distant future appears very bleak,’ he says. (Well, if we’re going to be wiped out, you can say that again, Alex, old mate).
The study apparently shows that tectonic plate movements will eventually merge all the continents into one arid super-continent, dubbed Pangea Ultima. The volcanic activity involved will pump so much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere that it will become too hot for mammals to survive. Oh, and unless we stop using fossil fuels now, Doomsday could arrive a lot sooner.
The scientists used computerised climate models to simulate temperature, wind, rain and humidity trends for Pangea Ultima. Hmm. Computerised climate models – now where have we heard that before?
Okay, I’m a sceptic about these things, but is it any wonder? After seeing a forecast for all-day rain in my neck of the woods last Sunday, I put on my waterproofs and trudged to watch a football match. It remained bone dry and very warm, and I endured an unscheduled sauna bath. You know what I’m going to say: If ‘experts’ can’t predict the weather for a day ahead, how can they do so for 250million years ahead?
The authors of the Bristol study acknowledge their prediction has ‘a high level of uncertainty due to the ultra-long-term timeframe’. I think that’s boffin-speak for: ‘We’ve no idea what will really happen in the far distant future, but neither has anyone else.’
Thinking about it, though, if the weather were to remain tolerable on Pangea Ultima, it might not be such a bad place. Since there’ll be just one big land mass, the problem of migrant boat crossings will finally be solved. And 250 million years hence, HS2 might have reached Birmingham.