London, Oct 24: There is a link between past climate change and mass extinction and rising temperatures could trigger further extinction, a study revealed.
It found that climate change has the potential to wipe out half of all species of animals and plants.
In a study published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Prof Tim Benton of the University of Leeds and his colleagues show that four out of five mass extinctions can be linked to climate change.
''The long-term association has not been seen before, as previous studies have largely been confined to relatively short geological periods, limited geographical extents and few groups of organisms.
But the evidence is striking,'' the Independent quoted Prof Benton as saying. Future projections of rise in temperature are within the same range as in the past which led to many species becoming extinct, Dr Peter Mayhew, a population ecologist at Leeds, said.
''Our results provide the first clear evidence that global climate may explain substantial variation in the fossil record in a simple and consistent manner,'' Dr Mayhew said.
''If our results hold for current warming, the magnitude of which is comparable with the long-term fluctuations in the Earth's climate, they suggest that extinctions will increase,'' he added.