Tuesday, 2 August 2016

The nightmare in Siberia

Melting Permafrost Releases Deadly, Long-Dormant Anthrax in Siberia

"This week's anthrax outbreak signals that global warming is transforming Siberia's lonely wilderness into a feverish nightmarescape"

The cause of the anthrax outbreak could have been infected human remains from a local Nenets burial ground. (Photo: Siberian Times)

1 August, 2016

A Russian heatwave has activated long-dormant anthrax bacteria in Siberia, sickening at least 13 people and killing one boy and more than 2,300 reindeer.
According to the Siberian Times on Monday:
A total of 72 people are now in hospital, a rise of 32 since Friday, under close observation amid fears of a major outbreak. 41 of those hospitalized are children as Russia copes with a full scale health emergency above the polar circle which has also killed thousands of reindeer.
A state of emergency has been imposed throughout the region in western Siberia, and reindeer herding communities have been quarantined.

While NBC News last week pinned the blame for the outbreak on "[t]he carcass of a reindeer thought to have died from anthrax decades ago," new reports suggest an old burial ground could be the source. 

Nadezhda Noskova, press secretary of the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Region government, told the Siberian Times:
We are working out all the versions of what has happened. The first version is that due to the very hot weather permafrost thawed and bared the carcass of an animal which died from anthrax long ago. 
The other version is that it could have been a human body. The point is that Nenets and Khanty peoples do not bury their dead in the ground.
They put them into the wooden coffins—they resemble boxes—and place them on a stand or hillock. 
The old cemetery could be also the source of the disease.
But regardless of the precise culprit, there's little doubt that climate change is exacerbating the health crisis.

The Washington Post noted last week, "Temperatures have soared in western Russia's Yamal tundra this summer," with several regions seeing record heat. Indeed, temperatures in the Yamal tundra above the Arctic Circle have hit highs of 95°F this summer, compared to an average of 77°F.

The Post quoted two Russian researchers, who warned in 2011: "As a consequence of permafrost melting, the vectors of deadly infections of the 18th and 19th centuries may come back...especially near the cemeteries where the victims of these infections were buried."

"The extreme heat has triggered a seemingly endless rash of freak weather, natural disasters, and signs of ecological malaise, including enormous wildfires, record flooding, and natural moon bounces [methane bubbles] that might be explosive," staff writer Maddie Stone reported at Gizmodo. "But above all else, this week's anthrax outbreak—the first to hit the region since 1941—signals that global warming is transforming Siberia's lonely wilderness into a feverish nightmarescape."

Or, as Charles Pierce wrote at Esquire on Monday, "an anthrax strain that has spent 75 years resting, sleeping a lot, going a few times a week to the Bacteria Gym, and generally muscling up, gets another chance at sickening reindeer and people because the Great Climate Change Hoax has thawed the permafrost, so it gets its shot at the reindeer and people that didn't die in the record wildfires. I would point out that one of our two major political parties doesn't believe that any of this is happening, and that the party's candidate for president thinks it all might be a hoax thought up by the Chinese."

22 July 2016

Scientists say a 'fountain of gas' poured from jelly-like trembling earth in tundra on Belyy Island in northern Siberia.

The swelling pockets in the permafrost - revealed this week by The Siberian Times - are leaking 'alarming' levels of ecologically dangerous gases, according to scientists who have observed this 'unique' phenomenon. Some 15 pockets have been found on the Arctic island, around one metre in diameter.

Measurements taken by researchers on expeditions to the island found that after removing grass and soil from the 'bubbling' ground, the carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration released was 20 times above the norm, while the methane(CH4) level was 200 times higher. 

Wildfires in Russia: much worse than you could imagine

Blogpost by Khalimat Tekeeva


3 June, 2016

According to analysis of recent satellite data, forest fires in eastern Russia currently cover more than 3.5 million hectares of forested land. An area larger than Belgium!

And the fire season in Russia isn't over yet.

This year's forest fires are close to becoming one of the most devastating in recent Russian history. Usually around 5 to 6 million hectares of forest burn in a year. Russian meteorologists say that this summer in Russia will be warm and dry – weather fire fighters hate.

    Forest fires in Zabaikalsky region, Siberia, Russia. This land suffered from wildfires for years. © Greenpeace / Maria Vasileva

        Fires and climate change

    Russia is warming faster than the rest of the planet. According to a new report by Russia's climate and environment agency, between 1976 and 2012 average temperatures in Russia rose 0.43°C (0.8°F) a decade – more than twice the global average of 0.17°C.

    Extremely dry weather in Siberia is one of the impacts of climate change according to natural reserve rangers in Zapovednoye Podlemorye on lake Baikal. Wildfires release massive amounts of carbon which causes climate change which makes the fires worse. It's a terrible cycle.

    Dangerous extreme weather is on the rise in Russia  © Quartz | qz.com

    As a result, we face forest fires in one of the largest forested region in the world – the Russian Boreal forest. It's also one of the most 'biologically outstanding' places in the world, home to a range of species – from wolves and brown bears to golden eagles and siberian accentors. These species suffered when a forest fire almost entirely engulfed the natural reserve in Baikal three days ago.

     Aerial image of Siberian taiga, also known as boreal forest, near Surgur. © Denis Sinyakov / Greenpeace

        What can you do?

    The Greenpeace Wildland Fire Program (WFP) trains volunteers to suppress wildfires. They are motivated to stay at the forefront of the peat, grass and forest fires around Baikal. We shared our experience with the local groups which helps them be much more effective than the official forest management bodies. They are thankful that you can help Greenpeace Russia promote this underreported story about the real scale of the forest fires in Siberia.

    Greenpeace and local volunteers suppress peatfires in Central Ecological Zone of the Baikal Natural Territory (UNESCO Site), Republic Buryatia, Siberia, Russia © Greenpeace / Maria Vasileva

    Forest management in Russia is in crisis. State foresters and fire fighting services don't have enough resources, like experienced fire fighters, foresters and equipment. That's why they try to hide the problem and to understate the scale. That's why Greenpeace Russia's main goal is to not let the government hide wildfires.

    We need your support to make this problem world-known, so that the Russian government can't ignore wildfires anymore. Please share this blog!

    Khalimat Tekeeva is a Press Officer with Greenpeace Russia.

Excessive methane burst North and East of Greenland. 07 31 2016
Looks like it is coming up from the Arctic and Greenland Ocean. 

Excessive methane everywhere and more excessive methane over Siberia. 

Anything over 1250 ppb is unlivable.

Carbon Monixide 08 01 2016

Meanwhile, thousands of miles to the west...

Moscow's warm records tumble after heatwave in July

Photo jeremynicholl.photoshelter.com
1 August, 2016

Last month's heat wave made July 2016 was one of the 20 hottest months in the history of Moscow's weather observations, the capital's meteorological bureau said on August 1.

"July's average temperature was 20.9 degrees Celsius, which is 2.7 degrees higher than usual.

July 2016 was one of 20 hottest Julys in the past 137 years," the department said.

A new high was set with a record breaking 31.8 degrees Celsius being recorded on July 30.

Moscow received 130 percent of normal precipitation in July 2016, making it the 18th rainiest July in recorded history.

Heavy rains drenched the capital on the night of July 18.

Other stories

One month's rain in two hours destroys Ellicott City maine street in Maryland killing two

40 people killed 35 others injured due to lightning strikes in Odisha, India

Spanish high season on alert as temperatures set to soar to above 42 C (108 Degrees)

37 people dead 26 missing and 2,000 houses destroyed from floods and landslides in Nepal

Temperatures to hit 110 degrees (43C) during the weekend in the San Fernando Valley

Astounding statistics! Over one years rain in one day kills 225, 250,000 trapped and 53,000 houses destroyed in China

Kuwait tie's the world’s highest known temperature this week at 129.2 degrees (54 Celsius).

India –124 Dead 55,000 dead cattle and 336,555 damaged homes after monsoon rains

Two weeks after heavy rain left 128 people dead another 100 dead or missing in new China floods

Unprecedented and undeniable! June marks 14 consecutive months of record heat for the globe

Deadly Texas heat wave kills four and is the hottest summer since 1994

Greenland lost over a trillion tons of ice from Jan. 1, 2011 to Dec. 31, 2014 report claims

Parts of Europe on alert as a heatwave moves in with some parts hitting 40C (104F)

Tropical Depression 6E (Estelle) to strengthen into tropical storm today

Tropical Storm Darby set to strengthen in the Eastern Pacific

New York set to beat July heat records as high humidity pushes temperature in Central New York to nearly 100F (38C)

3 dead due to heat wave in the Abruzzo region Italy

Hurricane Celia set to strengthen into a "major hurricane" in the East Pacific

A new record: Ten thousand lightning flashes lit up Hong Kong's night sky over the weekend

22 dead and 170,000 forced from their homes from Flash floods in India

11 dead 200 villages marooned as devastating flash floods hit Madhya Pradesh India

500,000 evacuated as deadly Typhoon Nepartak makes landfall in China

Super Typhoon Nepartak hit's Taiwan: 331,900 households without power, strongest winds since 1901

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