Scientists say Siberia will be habitable after climate change.
The study predicts that much of Asiatic Russia may become habitable by the end of the 21st century.
An inhospitable region of Siberia may become habitable by the end of the 21st century, according to a study by a team from the Federal Research Center in Krasnoyarsk, Russia, and the National Aeronautics Institute in the United States.
Researchers looked at current climate scenarios and made predictions to examine climate change in the region and discover the potential for humans to live in the area over the course of this century.
Published in Environmental Research Letters, the study states that with 13 million square kilometers, Asiatic Russia accounts for 77% of the country’s land area. However, the population of this territory corresponds to only 27% of the total Russian population and is concentrated along a forest in the south, with its comfortable climate and fertile soil.
“We wanted to learn if future changes in climate could lead the less hospitable parts of Asian Russia to become more habitable to humans,” said study lead author Elena Parfenova.
In order to carry out the analysis, the researchers evaluated temperature data and annual precipitation of possible scenarios of climate change to find their respective effects on three climatic indexes that are important for human habitation: environmental sustainability, winter severity and permafrost coverage ( ice).
The simulations showed that, in the 2080s, Asiatic Russia would have a milder climate, with permafrost decreasing from the current 65% to 40%. Even in a scenario with the least possible climate change, the researchers revealed that there would be a fivefold increase in the territory’s ability to sustain itself and become attractive to human populations.
“In a future warmer climate, food security in terms of crop distribution and production capacity will likely become more favorable for people to support settlements,” Parfenova said.