New York [US]:For hundreds of thousands of years, the Siberian permafrost has been a giant freezer for everything buried within it.
But global warming has put the frozen ground in defrost mode, and the tundra is now heating up twice as fast as the rest of the planet. “Permafrost is a silent ticking time bomb,” says Robert Spenc-er, an environmental scientist at Florida State University.
As it thaws, the dirt could release a litany of major environmental problems. Here is a list of issues that we can experience in the near future due to the thawing of the Permafrost.
Seventy-five years ago an anthrax outbreak in West Siberia felled herds of reindeer. In July those carcasses thawed and infected 23 humans, killing one.
The remains of ancient grass, moss, and animals buried in permafrost add up to some 1,500 billion tons of carbon. Microbes munch on that reheated mulch, exhaling carbon dioxide that could further warm the atmosphere, which would melt even more permafrost and spur a runaway cycle of warm-ing.
In 2014 scientists began noticing massive craters popping up across Russia’s remote Yamal peninsu-la. As the ground gets warmer and thus wetter, bacteria produce more methane (which is 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere). Those pockets of gas build up underground and blast out of craters.
5. Mammoth tusks
Climate change unearths prehistoric bones by speeding up soil erosion rates. When that happens, profiteers swoop in for mammoth tusks. Since they’re legal and Elephant ivory is not, sellers just tell buyers it’s all Mammoth tusks. Hence, threatening the already endangered elephant population.
In the past two years, French microbiologists have discovered two kinds of giant viruses buried deep within the Siberian permafrost. Those viruses were still infectious to amoebas. The researchers warn that there could be other, nastier viruses, like smallpox, lurking beneath the surface. (ANI)