Scientists fear melting ice: “Old viruses and bacteria at risk of waking up” – Science – life




Experts warn that viruses and bacteria that have been frozen in Arctic permafrost for millions of years could soon be released as the ice melts, an unknown danger.


Source: B92

Photo: EPA / VALENTIN FLAURAUD

Photo: EPA / VALENTIN FLAURAUD

Climate change could lead to another deadly pandemic, as melting Arctic ice is allowing ancient viruses and bacteria to thaw millions of years of deep ice.

Russian diplomat Nikolai Korunov told Zvezda TV that the Russian government had proposed a biosecurity project to the Arctic Council to protect itself from the unexpected dangers posed by the melting ice in its neighbors.

“There is a risk that old viruses and bacteria will wake up,” Korunov said.

“That’s why Russia has launched a ‘biosecurity’ project within the Arctic Council.”

He said the new project should work to assess a wide range of “risks and dangers” that could lead to the release of “future infectious diseases”.

The large area of ​​Russian territory in and around the Arctic Circle consists of frozen ground, or permafrost, dating back to before the last ice age.

Sergei Davidov, a researcher at the Northeast Experimental and Research Station of the Russian Academy of Sciences in the village of Erski, warns that the vein ice is melting rapidly.

“We’ve been doing research for over 30 years, since 1990,” he says.

“For example,” he added, “the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased from 360 to 410. The amount of methane in the atmosphere has increased significantly as we know from the analyzer data. of gases, reports. Daily star.

“Permafrost has warmed significantly by one degree, and in some areas by two degrees, in a decade.”

He warns that permafrost has not melted for millions of years and will release ancient viruses, which were not exposed to the air before modern humans evolved.

Russian President Vladimir Putin also spoke about the threat of permafrost melting, although he focused mainly on its economic impact.

“It affects pipe systems, residential neighborhoods built on permafrost, etc.,” he explained. “If up to 25% of the terrestrial layers of permafrost, that is, about three or four meters, melt by 2100, we will feel the effect very strongly.

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