Scientists are concerned that the ice melting in the Russian Arctic region, one of the coldest places on Earth, as the resulting of global warming, could bring back to life deadly prehistoric diseases that once planed over the world.
The frozen city of Yakutsk in North-east Russia started to melt although it constantly (for 12 months of the year) remains frozen and systematically reaches temperatures of minus 60C during the winter months. Scientists have warned that if things continue to go this way, lethal bacterial viruses like anthrax could reappear into the atmosphere. The dangerous diseases which contributed to the elimination of numerous animal species including the Woolly Mammoth are still alive underneath the permafrost, which is ground frozen over for two years consecutively.
Biologists say that deadly diseases can be transmitted to humans through plants and water. There was already recorded a first outbreak of the anthrax disease in 70 years after the temperatures have reached bizarre levels of 35C in the Arctic region of Yamal, in 2016. The outbreak killed around 2,000 reindeer, while 96 people were hospitalized.
Deadly prehistoric diseases might come back to life if the ice melting of the Russian Arctic region continues
Boris Kershengolts, a Yakutsk biologist, told the Telegraph that anthrax germs could stay alive for up to 2,500 years in the permafrost. If the spores are taken out of the permafrost and released into the atmosphere (as the animal burial grounds from the 19th century is melting), they revive, and it will create a mass disaster exceeding Chernobyl, not only for the Arctic, he added.
The layers of permafrost in Yakutsk shrink by 5cm (two inches) per year at the present pace. The thawing of permafrost discharge gases such as methane and CO2 which are destroying the ozone layer besides the fact that is a bad thing for the planet with the growing chances of rising sea-level and floods.
A significant concern the Russian research data showed is that the temperatures are increasing by two-and-a-half times more in Russia than in any other place in the world. Russian President Vladimir Putin told the 5th International Arctic Forum that the data is showing the Arctic warming four times faster than the rest of the world and Russia is warning 2.5 times faster than any other part of the globe. These are different calculations but are still disturbing enough.
Sam is a freelance writer who has experience writing in the digital world for 4 years after he quit his job. Sam’s interests in current world affairs gave him the drive to pursue a career in journalism. Sam originates from Russia, lived in Canada for a short time between 2011 and 2013, then moved to New York to pursue his career.