Thawing Permafrosts & Epidemics: The Case of Russia’s Anthrax Epidemic

An anthrax outbreak raised the concern of ancient pathogens possibly reappearing as a result of very high temperatures and the thawing of the permafrost. Although global warming can definitely lead to the permafrost slowly unfreezing, this happens over very long periods of time and is linked to climate shifts rather than specific weather events, such as the high temperatures in 2016, which mostly affected the active layer on top of the permafrost, not the actual permafrost. There are multiple factors converging for the outbreak of anthrax, such as disrupted vaccination, overpopulation of reindeer, and the distribution of spores; not just the (supposed) thawing of the permafrost.

Categories Climate Science