Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Abnormal heat in Siberia: Professor Ulrike Herzshu spoke about the threats to the tundra


Due to warming in the medium term, the tundra may cease to exist in the north of Siberia, which threatens both the loss of this ecosystem, and, consequently, the loss of a significant part of biological diversity, and large-scale for Russia.

German biologist and geographer, professor at the University of Potsdam said this to “Deutsche Welle” Ulrike Herz (Ulrike Herzschuh).

“In the short term, the most serious and obvious negative consequence of warming will be a further increase in the number of forest fires. Because of them, the air quality will sharply deteriorate, fire will threaten people and buildings, and huge sums of money will have to be spent on fighting it. There will be a global negative effect: in even more carbon dioxide will enter the atmosphere, “says the professor.

At the same time, she notes that the medium-term consequences of warming are much less obvious for many, but more widespread and serious.

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“As the climate warms, the border of forests will move further to the north. They will displace the tundra, and forever … this will mean the loss of a significant part of biological diversity, and for the indigenous peoples of the North it will completely lose the basis for existence – pastures for deer,” says scientist.

At the same time, she emphasizes that with further warming of the climate, forests in the north will displace the tundra, but at the same time in the south they will retreat before the steppe.

“In the more populated southern part of Siberia, where there is still forest, it is already quite dry. At higher temperatures, moisture will evaporate even faster, and the nature there will be similar to what we see now in Mongolia,” explains Herzshu.

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The professor also commented on the possible connection between the warming and the accident at CHPP-3 of the Norilsk-Taimyr energy company (subsidiary of Norilsk Nickel) in May 2020, as a result of which more than 21 thousand tons of diesel fuel spilled out of the depressurized storage, most of which ended up in nearby rivers.

“Of course, it’s impossible to associate every event with climate change, but the growing number of such incidents suggests that soil is destabilizing in various regions of Siberia. Human activities have led to the fact that literally in a matter of decades, permafrost melts every summer not for several tens of centimeters, as before, but much deeper, and this threatens to destabilize the entire infrastructure built on the once solid permafrost.As a result, Russia already has to spend huge amounts of money to maintain this infrastructure, but there are no guarantees that the soil under houses, roads or with the same fuel storage facilities in a couple of years it will still be quite stable, “the scientist stated.

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She also noted that global warming is also leading to the fact that with the further melting of ice in the Arctic Ocean and the Bering Strait, conditions for fishing will worsen, fish will be significantly less, and it will be of other species. The whole industry will have to rebuild.

“Our grandchildren can already see the Arctic without ice at all. So such an undesirable future is not far off. If, of course, we do not prevent it,” Herzshu concluded.



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