Pestilence: Another Consequence of Losing the Cryosphere and the Permafrost

The Corona 19 virus has had an unprecedented effect on our complex, interlinked global economy. It is merely a forewarning of what we have unleashed as the cryosphere and the permafrost melts.
“For the past 15,000 years, a glacier on the north-western Tibetan Plateau of China has hosted a party for some unusual guests: an ensemble of frozen viruses, many of them unknown to modern science.”

“Scientists recently broke up this party after taking a look at two ice cores from this Tibetan glacier, revealing the existence of 28 never-before-seen virus groups.” Only two ice cores uncovered 28 new viruses.

Investigating these mysterious viruses could help scientists on two fronts: For one, these stowaways can teach researchers which viruses thrived in different climates and environments over time, the researchers wrote in a paper posted on the bioRxiv database on Jan. 7. Ancient never-before-seen viruses discovered locked up in Tibetan glacier

From an article in Popular Mechanix titled “Welp, Scientists Found 28 New Virus Groups in a Melting Glacier

  • “Scientists have unearthed 28 previously undiscovered viruses, which were trapped in glacial ice from 15,000 years ago.
  • The team collected the samples from the Guliya ice cap in Tibet, and published their work to the pre-print website, BioRxiv.
  • As glacial ice and permafrost around the world continues to thaw, scientists are concerned that ancient pathogens and toxic chemicals may be released into the environment.”

“When reindeer started dying in Siberia, at first scientists blamed the heat. But there seems to be a more insidious cause: Anthrax.”
“After an investigation, scientists have determined that the culprit is anthrax, which hasn’t been seen in the country since 1968. Scientists believe the source of the anthrax is an old reindeer carcass that was frozen during the last anthrax epidemic 75 years ago. The current heatwave thawed the carcass, allowing the dormant bacteria to spread.” Thawed Reindeer Corpse May Have Triggered Russian Anthrax Outbreak

“Mammoth bones are surfacing in the Russian Far East — so many that people have begun selling the tusks as a substitute for elephant ivory. And in 2016, more than 70 people in western Siberia were hospitalized for exposure to anthrax, likely spread from a decades-old reindeer carcass that thawed from frozen ground.”
Thawing Permafrost: “25% of the Northern Hemisphere is permafrost”

Ignorance is our enemy

“In my darkest moments, I see a really horrible future for Homo sapiens because we are an animal, and when we extend our borders things will happen to us,” said Birgitta Evengard, a researcher in clinical microbiology at Umea University in Sweden.”
“Our biggest enemy is our own ignorance,” she added. “Nature is full of microorganisms.”
“Microorganisms can survive in frozen space for a long, long time,” said Vladimir Romanovsky, a professor of geophysics at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks.

Climate change may bring back viruses that were long thought to be dormant

“There is zero guarantee that this set of living arrangements will hold together much longer considering the threats we know it is under with the next ‘Black Swan’ hovering in the wings about to appear.” This is the End, Beautiful Friends, The End

So much to look forward to, so little time. Brace for imminent impact. These are the ‘Good Old Days’, they certainly aren’t going to get better. Every single last analogue is heading in the wrong direction and our predicament can only be worse than we know.
“The Path of Increase is Slow but the Road to Ruin is Swift” Lucius Seneca

 “Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” Dylan Thomas.

I'm an anti-imperialist, environmental activist and blue ocean sailor, who is passionate about the earth and all it's inhabitants without favour. Brace for imminent impact as we bare witness to the non-linear unraveling of the biosphere and habitability disappearing for most if not all complex life on the only habitable planet we know of. To quote President Niinistö in North Russia: ‘If We Lose the Arctic, We Lose the World’. Folks we have lost the Arctic.

Posted in Arctic, permafrost, Pestilence, Viruses
99 comments on “Pestilence: Another Consequence of Losing the Cryosphere and the Permafrost
  1. Kevin Hester says:

    “With accelerating climate change, we’re going to be in a world of hurt,” he said, “with some of these diseases that have in the past been restricted in the tropics extending, as we’re beginning to see.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kevin Hester says:

    ‘Potentially devastating’: Climate crisis may fuel future pandemics
    ‘Zoonotic spillovers’ expected to rise with at least 15,000 instances of viruses leaping between species over next 50 years

    Liked by 1 person

    • sealintheselkirks says:

      On and on it goes, eh? Don’t know if I posted this:

      Estimated COVID deaths may be three times higher than we think

      Some 18 million people across the globe may have died in response to the COVID-19 pandemic — three times the number previously reported by the WHO, according to a new Lancet study.

      Researchers at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) set out to measure something called “excess mortality” — the difference between the number of deaths during the first wave of the COVID pandemic and the number of deaths that would have occurred in its absence.

      Their study says its estimates indicate that “the full impact of the pandemic has been much greater than what is suggested by official statistics.”

      I don’t remember if I posted this one so I’m doing it again:

      ‘Spillover’ diseases are emerging faster than ever before—thanks to humans

      History is pockmarked with the scars of past zoonotic outbreaks…

      Here’s a current piece of info that is NOT being broadcast on MSM as far as I can tell. Anecdotal but valid I think.

      The owner of the 2nd Hand store’s best friend in New Hampshire, East Coast USA, just lost toes to diabetes and is in a rehab facility trying to learn to walk again without them. Carol called last week to tell Kathy that she and three other rehab patients have now been put in totally locked-down quarantine, nobody in or out without Moon Suits on, because all four of them have come down with Avian Flu. I asked Kathy if Carol said what form, like H1N5 or something, and she told me that it wasn’t a number but a long name that she couldn’t remember so I have no idea if it’s the same strain that is rampaging through the chicken and turkey slaughter factories back east.

      A friend of mine in Maryland wrote a week ago that hundreds of birds of all species have been found dead in a protected park nearby and tested positive for Avian, and a native american friend wrote that there has been a rash of eagles dying of this shit.

      Riddle me this: Why is it that humans tend to talk about ‘what is coming’ when it is blatantly obvious that this shit is already happening? De Nile is deep in our species.


      Liked by 1 person

  3. Kevin Hester says:

    “The team found 968 microbial species frozen within the ice — mostly bacteria but also algae, archaea and fungi, the researchers reported June 27 in the journal Nature Biotechnology(opens in new tab). But perhaps more surprisingly, around 98% of those species were completely new to science.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • sealintheselkirks says:

      Ah hell, Kevin, how can any of this be more terrifying than everything else that is going on? I mean, you read my book and Christo-Fascists/Talibangelicals have always murdered people who didn’t agree with them. Now they are taking over and censoring books, libraries, and schools textbooks, making taxpayers pay for religious indoctrination ‘schools’ and say forcing sports teams to pray on school property by a fundie coach is just fine unless of course if’n you ain’t a-praying to the RIGHT god.

      Can the Purges, Pogroms, and witch burning be far behind? I think not. And we surely can’t forget the coming attraction of a new Catholic Inquisition by these fucking nutcase un-Supreme Court Catholic Dominionist so-called ‘judges’ (and I use that term VERY loosely) that is waiting in the wings especially since torture is now legal by ‘government forces’ disguised as ‘enhanced interrogation.’

      Will a mob with torches and pitchforks show up at my gate? Or maybe be classified an enemy of the state for not agreeing with the program? Could be either, or both!

      Here’s some Black Death news:

      Scientists say they’ve solved a 700-year-old mystery: Where and when Black Death began

      And of course there is the latest on Covid. BA.4 & BA.5 that is sweeping across this country full of anti-science morons who are so completely ignorant that it is impossible to have a conversation with them. And the plain foolish,, and then add all the people who are ‘so over Covid’ that they aren’t bothering to wear a mask in crowds or buildings. I keep wondering when the next variant will come out that is even more deadly. I’ll be real surprised if these Omicron ones are the last.

      Two articles:

      I can’t wait for something to get loose from the melting not-so-perma Permafrost that probably slaughtered our ancestors thousands of years ago if not tens of thousands…

      Oh, and my state just advised to NOT pick up dead or sick birds because the Avian Flu is now in Washington State and it HAS transferred to a mammal (racoon).


      Liked by 1 person

      • laurierieman says:

        None of this surprises me! Yes they will surely kill me first, my uncle said I would be slain at the river with the Priests of Baal ( I had to Look that up)
        for following a false god! And I said which one? lol

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Kevin Hester says:

    “Never-before-seen microbes locked in glacier ice could spark a wave of new pandemics if released
    By Harry Baker published 6 days ago

    Climate change just got even more terrifying.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • sealintheselkirks says:

      Yep, Monkeypox has been recorded here in the US, too. But those of us that had smallpox vaccines as kids are supposedly ‘mostly’ immune to it. Unlike Covid which never should have been called a vaccine because it does NOT immunize. Big mistake calling the shots that…

      Another Omicron variant is out, BA. 2.5 (or something like that). Great timing along with BA. 4 & 5. Nothing good will come of ignoring that we are still in a Worldwide Pandemic.

      More people are going down with the variants and I know a few that have. Even with so few people reporting their sickness the numbers and hospitalizations are going up. The damn things are SO infectious and practically nobody is wearing masks. Talk about standing out in a crowd wearing an N95. Not that I’m even in crowds at this point, enough to do around this place I guess, but even in the tiny towns around here anybody wearing a mask is quite noticeable…

      I did read that it seems the more often you get catch Covid the worse the Sequelae symptoms of Long Covid become. Not many are talking about that extreme side effect though there are those who are on their 3rd bout with this crap. Immunity is down to at the most 10 weeks from recovery before re-infection becomes a very real possibility.

      One friend who finally caught an Omicron variant recently after being so careful the last two years is having trouble with memory, and she’s a DJ on our non-profit community radio station. One needs your memory to be sharp with that kind of job and she let out in a phone call that she is noticing the different in herself. Scary.

      Weather: Upper 20C range and five out of the last ten days have seen water from the sky with some very heavy rains indeed. So far it isn’t acting like last year. Maybe I’ll get lucky with no freaking ‘heat dome’ this summer, eh?

      By the way, I’ve got more apples coming out on the tree in the front yard than anytime in the last decade. Apples everywhere even on the highest shooter branches!


      Liked by 1 person

      • laurierieman says:

        Same here in North Carolina They are pushing Monkey Pox Vaccines/shots! Where is the research. my husband and daughter live at Research Triangle Park, where Big Tech and Big Pharma Rule from…I am living in the Forest near Great Smokey Mtns. Park my safe place for now… Stay Safe!


      • Latest on Monkeypox is that it IS contagious from surfaces that an infected person touched. Doorknobs, clothing, a faucet, flat hard surfaces. Unlike being quite rare with Covid this virus soaks into your skin. Nothing on how long the virus lives on any of these surfaces yet that I’ve read.

        As for the Spotted Lanternfly from Southeast Asia that has no natural predators here, what’s not to like? Since the butterfly is going extinct in this country this can take their place because they’re so pretty. Yes? It’s not like humans will be able to slaughter them to extinction…oh wait maybe so!

        The last comment below the article asks a pertinent question but since it’s already in motion:

        8/13/22 9:23am

        I mean humans are the most destructive invasive species by several orders of magnitude. Shouldn’t we start by destroying them?

        All this woman has to do is live long enough to see it happen!


        Liked by 1 person

  5. Kevin Hester says:

    “Dozens of people have been infected by a new, animal-derived virus in eastern and central China.”

    “The novel Langya henipavirus (LayV) was detected in 35 patients over a three-year period in the Shandong and Henan provinces. Many suffered fever, headaches, vomiting and a cough.”

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Kevin Hester says:

    “If You Live on the East Coast, Your Mission Is to Squash These Bugs”

    Murder, our solution to everything;


  7. Kevin Hester says:

    “A recent study published in scientific journal Nature Climate Change in August found that climate change has exacerbated more than 200 infectious diseases and dozens of non-transmissible conditions, such as poisonous snake bites.”


  8. Down the rabbit hole we go due to the radical right winger’s anti-mask & vaccine stances.

    About the only thing one can hope for is that it’s their kids that die of this shit but I guess that will probably happen. In the US your children need to be vaccinated before they are allowed in the disease breeding factories we call ‘school’ so how are these people getting away with not getting their kids the shots? It’s because ‘religious beliefs’ or some such shit? Don’t think anything in their book of myths bible says a damned thing about being vaccinated…

    Covid Disruptions, ‘Rising Anti-Vaccine Activism’ Linked to Growing Measles Threat

    “Widening gaps in immunization coverage are letting measles—the most contagious yet vaccine-preventable killer disease—spread and cause illness and death,” said one expert.

    I did get the Omicron booster this Fall of course. And there is practically nobody still wearing masks around here and I don’t give a fuck because when I walk in anywhere I’ve got an N95 on. Getting pretty low on those…


    Liked by 2 people

  9. Oh my.

    Scientists Revive ‘Zombie’ Virus After 50,000 Years Trapped in Siberian Permafrost

    Researchers documented 13 never-before-seen viruses that have been lying dormant, frozen in thick ice, over tens of thousands of years.
    I’m sure they will find their way to some War Lab for ‘study’ on how to turn them into weapons… Our species is SO GOOD at turning everything into weapons.

    Selkirk Range weather:

    Sunshine morning to about 6’C by 12:30 with melt going on all around me. Sun is warm! Almost get a tan weather but with a side of 2nd & 3rd infections of Covid in a couple of people I know.

    Now two hours later heavy dark clouds coming in and temp has dropped to 3’C. Best go drag in a wheelbarrow of firewood I’m thinking even as ice slides dripping off the roofs…


    Liked by 2 people

  10. […] formerly eradicated, has remerged from the melting permafrost. More on that threat: Pestilence: Another Consequence of Losing the Cryosphere and the PermafrostProfessor Paul Ehrlich’s new book was discussed and can be found here: Life: A Journey through […]


  11. Latest article from Grist on Alaska’s not-so-perma future that is now:

    What is going to happen when the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline breaks? It’s definitely going to be bad…


    Liked by 1 person

  12. Move over pythons and iguanas! Headline on a Weather Channel vid:

    New Invasive Species Found In At Least 3 Florida Counties.

    Culex Lactator Mosquitoes native to Central & South America have made it this far north. They carry West Nile Virus and St. Louis Encephalitis.

    This is the 6th non-native species of mosquito to take root in Florida IN THE LAST FIVE YEARS!

    But things are just fine because it has NOTHING to do with a rapidly warming, destabilizing planet since this is in Florida which, of course, is all part of God’s Plan. Surely you can see that, yes?

    Gov DeSatan will probably fire the researchers that published this as they said the “warming state” may cause more due to being “more hospitable to disease-carrying species.”

    If one listens to the Taliban-gelical Christians, when this happens to other states it’s because they are ‘god-less’ and are being punished by god but when it happens to them…

    I wonder if the mosquito scientists are running a betting pool as to which species will migrate next?


    Liked by 1 person

  13. Kevin Hester says:

    “First, it can grow, or “colonize”, human skin. Unlike many other Candida species that like to grow in our guts as part of the microbiome, Candida auris does not grow in this environment and seems to prefer the skin. This means that people who are colonized with Candida auris can shed lots of yeast from their skin, and this contaminates bed clothes and surfaces with the fungus. This can lead to outbreaks.”


  14. Kevin Hester says:

    As our climate crisis accelerates, we’ll see more pestilence in all its manifestations. Just another of those “Black Swans” stalking us.
    The scientist who did the study makes the connection with warming winters specifically!


  15. Kevin Hester says:

    “It does not transmit from cattle to humans.”
    Famous last words!
    Pestilence, the new abnormal.


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Kevin Hester

Kevin Hester is currently living on Rakino Island, a small island in the Hauraki Gulf near Auckland, New Zealand, monitoring the unravelling of the biosphere and volunteering at the Rakino Island Nursery is currently developing a proposal to create a marine reserve near by. The Island has no grid tied electricity or reticulated water.  I catch my own water from the roof and generate my electricity from the ample solar radiation on the island.

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