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
56 comments on “Pestilence: Another Consequence of Losing the Cryosphere and the Permafrost
  1. Kevin Hester says:

    “Human activity is greatly contributing to the emergence of new diseases and scientific advances will not alone be able to stop them, warned Anthony Fauci and epidemiologist David Morens.”

    “The emergence of potentially deadly viruses, like SARS in 2002 from a civet cat, MERS in 2012 from a camel, and now Covid-19, is likely to continue.”


  2. Kevin Hester says:

    “Also known as Triple E, the virus is one of the deadliest mosquito-borne diseases in the United States, with a 33% fatality rate in people who become ill. It leaves many survivors with physical and mental disabilities.”


  3. Kevin Hester says:

    “According to a “parasite stress” hypothesis, authoritarian governments are more likely to emerge in regions characterized by a high prevalence of disease-causing pathogens. Recent cross-national evidence is consistent with this hypothesis, but there are inferential limitations associated with that evidence. We report two studies that address some of these limitations, and provide further tests of the hypothesis. Study 1 revealed that parasite prevalence strongly predicted cross-national differences on measures assessing individuals’ authoritarian personalities, and this effect statistically mediated the relationship between parasite prevalence and authoritarian governance. The mediation result is inconsistent with an alternative explanation for previous findings. To address further limitations associated with cross-national comparisons, Study 2 tested the parasite stress hypothesis on a sample of traditional small-scale societies (the Standard Cross-Cultural Sample). Results revealed that parasite prevalence predicted measures of authoritarian governance, and did so even when statistically controlling for other threats to human welfare. (One additional threat—famine—also uniquely predicted authoritarianism.) Together, these results further substantiate the parasite stress hypothesis of authoritarianism, and suggest that societal differences in authoritarian governance result, in part, from cultural differences in individuals’ authoritarian personalities.”


  4. Kevin Hester says:

    “In a 2011 study, Boris Revich and Marina Podolnaya wrote: “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.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • laurierieman says:

      Excellent information , and fully relevant to the changes Earth’s warming bestows upon life’s fragility.


  5. Kevin Hester says:

    Climate change may be aiding a deadly fungus in infecting humans
    The number of cases of fungal infections has increased around the world

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Kevin Hester says:

    World must be ready for the next pandemic, UN says on first International Day of Epidemic Preparedness

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Kevin Hester says:

    “A recent outbreak of anthrax disease, severely affecting reindeer herds in Siberia, has been reportedly associated to the presence of infected carcasses or spores released from the active layer over permafrost, which is thawing and thickening at increasing rates, thus underlying the re-emerging nature of this pathogen in the Arctic region because of warming temperatures. Anthrax is a global zoonotic and epizootic disease, with a high case-fatality ratio in infected animals. Its transmission is mediated by environmental contamination through highly resistant spores which can persist in the soil for several decades. Here we develop and analyze a new epidemiological model for anthrax transmission that is specifically tailored to the Arctic environmental conditions”.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Kevin Hester says:

    Still, there is understandable concern about certain hardy microbes like anthrax that can be released from thawing permafrost, he said. “It’s probably very resistant to the freeze-thaw cycle,” he said of anthrax.


  9. Kevin Hester says:

    Prime Minister Helen Clark was a personal friend of my parents, I’ve met her a number of times.

    “Former Prime Minister Helen Clark on panel calling for pandemic preparedness reform”


  10. Kevin Hester says:

    “Some methane beneath glaciers is consumed by bacteria called methanotrophs (methane eaters) which generate energy by converting it to carbon dioxide.”
    Who had methanotrophs (methane eaters) as the June bug?
    We are just about to meet a whole lot of new bacteria.


  11. Kevin Hester says:

    “Researchers from Russia’s Institute of Physicochemical and Biological Problems have discovered a microscopic arctic animal who has been asleep for 24,000 years in the permafrost of Siberia and has just woken up.”


  12. Kevin Hester says:

    Mysterious Bird-Killing Illness Spreads to More Mid-Atlantic States
    Researchers rule out several pathogens but still don’t know what is causing the deaths.


  13. Kevin Hester says:

    “A group of scientists discovered ancient viruses frozen in two ice samples taken from the Tibetan Plateau in China, and most of them are unlike anything ever seen before.

    The findings, published Wednesday in the journal Microbiome, came from ice cores taken in 2015 that scientists said began to freeze at least 14,400 years ago.”


  14. Kevin Hester says:

    “Scientists keep underestimating the coronavirus. In the beginning of the pandemic, they said mutated versions of the virus wouldn’t be much of a problem—until the more-infectious Alpha caused a spike in cases last fall. Then Beta made young people sicker and Gamma reinfected those who’d already recovered from COVID-19. Still, by March, as the winter surge in the U.S. receded, some epidemiologists were cautiously optimistic that the rapid vaccine rollout would soon tame the variants and cause the pandemic to wind down.

    Delta has now shattered that optimism.”


  15. Kevin Hester says:

    Cicadas may be gone, but here come itch mites causing mysterious bites in Washington, DC, region


  16. I’d rather have cicada mite bites than Covid! That Covid Newsweek article and the other one linked with it were rather uncomfortable to read. Not that I didn’t have a grasp of how quickly variants mutate in a population as large as we’ve got on this planet but…what a bummer ya know? Our governments should be doing exactly what they did with the Smallpox Virus and Polio Virus everybody gets it quick! Greed is going to continue the ravaging. I wonder if we’ll hit the estimated 1/10 of the world population death rate of the 1918 Pandemic? When we only had 1.1 billion…

    On the third link posted, that Antarctica rock sure gives us hubris-filled humans a damned good hint of just how much we don’t know about our own planet, eh? It’s like talking about the Universe when we haven’t even gotten out of our own planet’s gravity field (the moon isn’t really in ‘Space’ ya know?) much less the Sun’s gravity well where Outer Space really starts… Nobody really has any idea if there even IS an edge to the so-called universe or how big it really is…

    Covid Delta continues to expand everywhere, Kevin, and my 30% vax rate in this Trump-voting anti-mask area is seeing exploding numbers. And a majority of people I see don’t wear masks but I am seeing more and more showing up on people and kids when I go to town. I’ve been nearly the ONLY person on the streets of Chewelah in one recently… If I’m on a skateboard down the middle of the street, no, I’m breathing the air without one instead but on the sidewalk rolling through the exhalation cloud of people walking? You bet! I don’t care how much they roll their eyes at me. About 20% of the new cases are Gamma out on the coast last I read, too.

    I’m down to 15 N95 masks from two boxes of 60 that were on the tool room shelf in Feb 2020. With the fire smoke and heavy layers of 2.5 particulate I’ve been wearing through them the last couple of months I’m using them up; again like last summer’s fire season and not just Covid. It was very bad this morning from the huge fire just south of me that is still filling the sky with shit but at least most of it is going N/E.

    Except if it jumps the highway! As long as the wind doesn’t come from the south I won’t burn but…I’m still in Evac mode with a large cargovan partially filled parked out front. The risk is pretty high with the incredibly dry forest…

    There are no N95s for sale anywhere that aren’t bootleg useless copies not worth the time to put them on. It’ll be down to the ear-loop surgical masks pretty soon which I wear when around town. The N95s are for going inside a building…

    Over a million ‘excess deaths’ in the US and a county coroner just got caught changing cause of death from Covid to keep the families happy. Along with NY State Gov Cuomo getting caught not counting thousands of Covid nursing home deaths last year… So 1 out of every 331 people in this county has died of Covid since it started but don’t get a vaccine so Bill Gates can’t get the tracking chip in you, and don’t wear a mask since it’s all a hoax anyway. It’s insane, dude.

    Anti-Vaxxers and the Unvaccinated: False Consciousness in a Time of Pandemic

    The Delta Variant of Global Stupidity
    Foreign Policy In Focus

    My thought is how long before one of those buried Siberian Permafrost Smallpox graveyards de-frost and somebody catches it and it starts spreading. The younger generations aren’t given that vaccine anymore I don’t think, yes? Nor Polio Virus vaccine for that matter. Hell, don’t get chomped by a Lyme’s Disease infected tick for that matter because the US Army biolab never invented a vaccine for it when they were doing animal & insect-vectoring of tailored war diseases…

    Take a deep breathe just for being alive! Until you aren’t.


    Liked by 1 person

  17. Kevin Hester says:

    What is Nipah virus?
    “Like the coronavirus, Nipah is a zoonotic virus, or one that is transmitted from animals to humans. Transmission generally occurs when humans either come into direct contact with the animals, or through consumption of contaminated food. But a high number of human-to-human transmission cases of Nipah have also been reported.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • My young mechanic friend neighbor DJ who’ve I’ve known since about 2 years after I moved here just had her sister go down with Covid. She works at the community college down in Spokane. Not vaxxed as ALL employees in schools are supposed to be, She got sick but not hospitalized sick, ten days in quarantine and she’s back at work.

      Their uncle Mike, the smart one of the three older generation brothers, lives in Spokane, owns a carpet laying company, and avoids the dumb ass side of his family living up here for the most part excepting DJ who he thinks well of. I like Mike, nice guy and have talked with him a number of times. He lost his sense of taste and smell/started coughing/got a slight fever last week. Went in to get tested: Delta. Two days later he had double pneumonia. The next day had blood clots, then they put him on a ventilator the day after that and rushed him to the ICU that night. He died on the way downstairs. I now personally know 17 people who have died of Covid, two now from Delta variant. Somehow I’m sure the list will grow.

      Ah hell, like we REALLY need another virus out in the world that’s worse than Covid’s Delta strain? One with a death rate like my grandpappy’s Pandemic in 1918. That it isn’t as contagious (YET) is the only positive comment in this article.

      Big sigh.


      Liked by 1 person

  18. Kevin Hester says:

    “Can you explain if thawing permafrost can release new bacteria or viruses? Can it cause another pandemic?
    The answer is that permafrost has many secrets. We recently found mammoths in the permafrost in Russia. And some of these mammoth carcasses when they begin to degrade again may reveal bacteria that were frozen thousands of years ago.”


    • With the latest SARS/CoVid variant MU coming out of Columbia and the extremely deadly (75% death rate) fruit bat virus-not a coronavirus-now out in India’s Kerala province…this just gets better and better, eh?



  19. Kevin Hester says:

    Until recently 24% of the Northern Hemisphere was covered in permafrost.
    Every single square metre will melt releasing carbon, methane, nitrous oxide and a multitude of pathogens we have no immunity to !
    On that note have a lovely extinction.


    • That was a bit of a radical short story. They’re going to try to clone a 42,000 year old extinct horse from a possible live cell left in the frozen carcass?

      Somehow reading this didn’t give me much hope for a possible good outcome to defrosting permafrost in Siberia though the scientists seem pretty excited…until of course the civilization that allows them to be scientists collapses. Oops.


      Liked by 2 people

  20. Kevin Hester says:

    “Deep Frozen Arctic Microbes Are Waking Up
    Thawing permafrost is releasing microorganisms, with consequences that are still largely unknown”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh don’t worry, we’ll find out soon enough. If I were Irish I’d be thinking ‘Murphy’s Law’ at this point, eh?

      Delta variant is still spreading wildly in this county as the anti-mask/anti-vaccine is over 60% of the total population though I haven’t read about the last two weeks numbers yet.

      I talked to Zana Du the Homegrown Show DJ on KYRS tonight. She was playing a taped interview so we chatted for a bit. She had an old friend that showed up in Spokane to visit her father, had a seizure and was rushed to the hospital and it showed she had a brain tumor that had metastasized from breast cancer that she also didn’t know she had. They did an emergency brain surgery and cut it out, but the hospitals are so fucking full of dumbass right winger Republicans that she was discharged in 24 hours because…they needed the bed for more sick covidiots from Idaho and around here. This is insane. Do we really need more unknown bugs to come blowing out of the unPermafrost? Methinks NOT!


      Liked by 1 person

  21. Kevin Hester says:

    An absolutely spectacular piece of investigative journalism from the Siberian Times showing the release of methane, crumbling/melting infrastructure and peat fires burning below the snow.
    Let’s not forget the 10 to 20 year lag between emissions and their full consequences kicking in and that this chaos, already unfolding, was baked in last century.
    The lag in the climate system and the aerosol masking effect mean as of today, double the current level of warming is baked in.–TO0


  22. So all these little bugs abounding across the planet…BU WAIT! Then one needs to add in the incredibly STUPIDITY of the animals being infected:

    New Survey Shows Covid-19 Misinformation Has Spread as Quickly as the Virus

    Nearly 40% of respondents believed that the U.S. government is lying about the number of Covid-19 deaths, and 22% said they were unsure about the statement’s veracity.

    Kevin, I really need to change species, and planets, about this time!


    Liked by 1 person

    • Yep, have read about India’s Nepa coronavirus in a couple different articles. Huge death rates. Imagine if Covid 19 had a 90% death rate. This is a mild pandemic. So far.

      What bothered me in this W5 vid is at 13:30 with us being told to distance but that goes THE SAME WITH ANIMALS. Excuse me? We ARE fucking animals. It’s why my ‘animal’ surgical veterinarian youngest stepdaughter could cut open a person and find the same parts in roughly the same places. Or like Coco the mountain gorilla who learned a thousand words in sign language so she could talk to us…but she was still considered an animal. Even though we couldn’t understand her language we’re supposed to be smarter? How’s that work again?

      This shows what’s wrong with our species, we are divorced from the life cycle of the planet.

      Ever watch the movie ‘Contagion’ from 2011? Pandemic virus jumping species and brought in by a contest surfer flying home from OZ to downtown LA. Birds dead, dog dead, then he dies on the flight and his surfer OZ buddy still on the beach dies before he even lands in LA. Of course it’s got a happy ending totally unlike the reality of the 2nd Wave we are living in now but that’s Hollywood for ya. They solved the problem in literally two weeks or thereabouts!

      Even some realistically stupid people were portrayed in the film fairly credibly but not enough idiot politicians like our current reality is full of.

      About 3 hours long:

      So our worldwide pandemic of SARS II Covid 19 could easily have been SARS 1 in 2002, or MERS, or Ebola. As it is mutating incredibly fast due to the worldwide rates of infection among nearly 8 billion people with India’s Delta variant being the most effective adaptation yet except now it spun off its own Delta Plus that’s in UK and Canada… The vaccines are NOT like what was developed against Smallpox and Polio virus’ but just a ‘less sick’ and probably won’t die…except we’re now seeing far too many breakthrough infections with Delta so even the current vaccines are losing effectiveness. But then coronavirus’ have always been known for short-term immunity and so far I haven’t read a thing about a Smallpox-type vaccine that kills it dead.

      And not meaning to be so cynical but where would be the corporate profit in that, eh? Know any chemical companies still profiting off the Smallpox vaccine?

      What an incredibly wonderful bonus of 8 billion bodies are to all virus. 3 million new virus containers about every three days last I read.

      Big sigh.



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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.

My Submission to the Ministry of the Environment
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