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Mike Carter, The Observer

By 2080 Siberia to become 'the go-to place to live due to climate change'

By The Siberian Times reporter
20 July 2017

Vineyards will flourish as winters become almost 10C milder heralding a large population influx, says new scientific prediction.

Among the benefits of climate change will be milder temperatures. Picture: I'm Siberian

Siberia may become 'more hospitable' with people flocking to enjoy its more moderate weather,  say researchers from the V. N. Sukachev Institute of Forest.

Among the benefits of climate change will be milder temperatures, less permafrost, and the hope of vastly increased crop production, enticing in more settlers, with a potential three-fold rise in the population, say scientists. 

'By the end of the 21st century, 50%-80% of central Siberia might have a climate suitable for agriculture, with traditional Siberian crops shifting northward by as much as 70 kilometres per decade,' according to one study cited by the experts.

Destination Siberia

Destination Siberia

Destination Siberia

Bikini ski-ing and snowboarding in the Altai Mountains. Pictures: Kirill Lazarev,

'Soil conditions would put limits on farming, but the warmer climate might allow the introduction of crops such as rice, beans, and European grapes.'

Siberia has one vineyard currently in the Altai Mountains, but Chateau Siberia will be far more popular in two generations from now. 

'The population density may increase by threefold under one scenario,' Dr Elena Parfenova told Eos after the studies based on 100 Siberian weather stations were highlighted at a scientific conference in Japan.

'But this is just the potential.'

There are some qualifications to the theory. Indeed, quite a number - including the threat of northern areas, frozen as permafrost  for millennia, turning into vast swamps.

Destination Siberia

Destination Siberia

Destination Siberia
Lake Baikal in summer and winter. Pictures: The Siberian Times 

'It doesn't mean people will necessarily go there,' she said. 'There are no railways, and infrastructure is poor.

'I have some doubts because nobody will know when the permafrost will thaw.

'Maybe this territory will transform into a big bog. But it will be better than now because the severe winter cold will be milder.'

'This wild card called the 'big bog theory' seems hard to assess.'

Vineyards in Altai region

Vineyards in Altai region

Destination Siberia

Destination Siberia
Vineyard in the Altai region, and black sand beaches of Kamchatka, the Far East of Russia. Pictures: The Siberian Times, Boris Prok

Permafrost holds some 1,400 gigatons of carbon globally, more than twice the amount of carbon currently in the atmosphere. As it melts, greenhouses gases like methane are released, enhancing the impact of warming, in a vicious circle.

What's more, existing infrastructure like roads and bridges - built on permafrost - will be destroyed. 

Yet there are some pluses. New forests will emerge in more northerly regions of Siberia, acting as a carbon sink, potentially slowing the damaging impact. 

Vasyugan Mire

Destination Siberia

Destination Siberia

Destination Siberia

Destination Siberia
Vasyugan Swamp, the largest swamp in the northern hemisphere, and stunning views of the Altai Mountains. Pictures: Svetlana Kazina

Parfenova and her fellow scientists said: 'Siberia is known to be sparsely populated. 

'As can be viewed from night lights imagery, the Siberian population is concentrated along the forest-steppe zone in the south, with its comfortable climate and rich agriculture on fertile soils. 'In a warming climate, vast Siberian lands may be attractive for population migrations.

'Our goal was to evaluate Siberia's climate severity and comfort for humans from a view point of winter conditions.

'in the contemporary climate and to predict the potential in climate comfort in a warming climate by the 2080s.'



Destination Siberia
Zotino Tall Tower Observation facility (ZOTTO) in Krasnoyarsk region is used to measure how the concentration of greenhouse gases, aerosols, and the rising temperatures of the terrestrial atmosphere affect each other; Dr Tatiana Parfenova. Pictures: Vera Salnitskaya

'Additionally, our goal was to evaluate future crop potential that may evolve as the climate changes.'

Dr Parfenova is the member of the American Geophysical Union, British Ecological Society and the International Association of Vegetation Sciences.

Her institute is part of the Siberian branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences. 

Novosibirsk, the Trans-Siberian railway and Barnaul in pictures by Slava Stepanov

Destination Siberia

Destination Siberia

Destination Siberia

Comments (13)

A sad and depressing prediction indeed.
Lorenzo, Italy
16/08/2017 14:23
Well, that's a relief. Tens of thousands dead to crop and water shortages, rising sea levels, war, and global disruption. The mass extinction of thousands of species. Global economic collapse. But at least there'll be more vineyards in Siberia. A risk worth taking if you ask me.
Jamie, UK
30/07/2017 17:04
Siberia is already a great place to visit with its pristine nature and kind population and if climate changes Siberia remains a great place. It still amzes me that there are vinyards in Siberia (Altai).
William McLean, Copenhagen, Denmark
29/07/2017 20:20
bernie, methane will be consumed by humans as oil and gas reserves fall. In fact, it could be used as energy supply for Siberian development.
Enrique, Spain
28/07/2017 19:32
I've told my kids that already for years. Buy a few square miles in northern Canada or Siberia. It will make a great retirement home or income one day. But will they listen? No-o-o-o-o-o-o....
Erik Bosma, BC, Canada
27/07/2017 04:23
Me lo pensaré. Deberá haber bastante corrupto en la zona.
Nombre, Afganistan
23/07/2017 05:08
Wow...a beautiful place to see for sure.. my favourite images... the girls (wow!) and Comrade Lenin :)
Michael Boschat, Halifax,NS,Canada
23/07/2017 00:03
I am very intreasted to visit Serbia and I need a female friend there who give me hospitality there
M Riaz Naqi, Pakistan
22/07/2017 17:03
Sure there will be huge fires and floods and buildings and roads and pipes sinking and crumbling, but as time goes on, compared to everywhere else, this will be a very exciting time for Siberia. So much rich soil and livable space will open up. Remember though, the light will still be the same. Short growing days in the dark season, even though it is warm. Vast wind farms and hydro dams may power artificial light to extend the growing seasons.
Lisav, Canada
22/07/2017 15:46
Is there room for 7.5 Billion or so ?
J Boutilier, Canada
22/07/2017 08:41
well with all that permafrost melting, what about all that stored Methane gas? said that, when i was working in Siberia we had an old geologist who showed us ( on the shores of the river Jennisei) bits and pieces that looked like funny stones. but the old man explained that the stones were fossil pieces of Palmtrees that were growing there some 10 000 years ago. and in all fairness, these herds of mammoth and other animals that were roaming around there for sure needed plants to eat and did not lick the ice and snow only.
Benedikt MORAK, Moscow
21/07/2017 21:30
Sounds good.
Todd, Austrailia
21/07/2017 02:07
I really don't want to be the one that disrupts your plans, but there is that area of a few million square miles of methane, just offshore into the Arctic Ocean. As it gets warmer, the methane will get more unstable, should it get ignited by whatever means, the fire and resulting fallout of the area consumed will pretty much make every bit of land north of 47 degrees North latitude uninhabitable, all of the land, all the way around the entire planet. Perhaps a plan for a quick evacuation southward would be a good idea.
bernie, 30 degrees north / 90 degrees West
21/07/2017 00:52

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