One of the best known effects of climate change, which causes global warming, is the melting of glaciers e polar caps of the Arctic. But, in addition to raising sea levels, this change has caused damage and loss in a specific region of northern Russia, where around 40% of buildings suffer from structural damage, present serious signs of deformation and may even fall.

About 60% of the Russian territory, which is the largest in the world, is occupied by the so-called Permafrost (Pergelissolo, in Portuguese), the name given to the ground frozen at temperatures equal to or below zero degrees Celsius for more than two consecutive years. From the time of the native peoples, through the empire and the Soviet period, Russia used the stability of frozen ground to develop.

Permafrost has ice sheets that can be up to 1,5 km deep. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

However, a new study, conducted by the Russian Academy of Sciences, has greatly concerned the country government. About 2,5 million Russians live on so-called continuous permafrost, a frozen layer that includes giant, unbroken ice sheets that can reach up to 1,5 km in depth.

The melting of Arctic glaciers and ice caps, which has intensified, could cause some cities to disappear. Among them Yakutsk, known as the coldest city in the world, with about 300 thousand inhabitants and which could disappear within 30 years if the rate of emission of polluting gases remains at the current rate.

Population to drop 65%

A second study, led by researchers from the Nordregio International Center for Nordic Studies, based in Stockholm, Switzerland, shows that the number of inhabitants of Permafrost regions is expected to fall from the current 4,9 million to 1,7 million in the next 30 years old. The forecast is that 534 of the 1.162 locations in the area will no longer be on frozen ground, with different degrees of impact.

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Among the territories that survive, according to the authors of the survey, 42% will be in places that will be considered high risk. Most of them are in Russia. However, there are also risks for some points in the US state of Alaska and the city of Yellowknife, in northern Canada.

With information from Folha de S. Paul

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