The year 2016 has been absolutely awful in almost every way. Death, destruction, Brexit, Trump, and – of course – constant reminders that climate change is our fault, that it’s speeding up, and that sea levels are rising and hurricanes are coming to consume our cities.
Speaking of which, climate change also appears to have unleashed quite a few horrors other than, you know, disintegrating the Arctic and scorching the deserts. Several things that have been overlooked in the past, or buried beneath the ice, or even hiding within the corpses of the dead (seriously) are escaping and generally causing a bit of a pandemonium.
So, as we wave goodbye to 2016 in the most offensive way possible, let’s take a look at all the nasty little nightmares the warming planet has gifted us with over the last 12 months.
1 – Zombie Anthrax
Once upon a time in Siberia, there was an anthrax outbreak. This killed off a fair few people and a lot of reindeer. Their corpses were frozen beneath permafrost and ice, never to see the light of day again – or so it seemed.
Unfortunately, the pace of climate change means that summers are warmer and winters are milder, and the permafrost is becoming decidedly less permanent. The frozen corpses of the deceased began reappearing at the surface, and sleeping spores starting “waking up.” Now, a brand new outbreak is once again killing off people and slaughtering reindeer, and Christmas is ruined.
2 – Extremely Small Reindeer
A lonely reindeer somewhere on Svalbard. dinozzaver/Shutterstock
While we’re on the subject of reindeer, the warmer winters up in Norway’s Svalbard archipelago mean that rain is occurring more frequently. This causes more surficial frost and ice to form, which entombs a lot of their delicious lichen food supply within a frozen prison.
Many reindeer have been starving to death, and those that survive are malnourished. This causes mothers to give birth to stunted offspring, and already, within the last 16 years, reindeer have shrunk by as much as 12 percent.
Oddly, warmer summers mean that there’s more food available during that time of year, which means that the reindeer population is actually increasing overall. So, essentially, armies of tiny reindeer are beginning to spread across Norway’s Arctic.
It’s not clear how small they can get before they essentially become Pokémon.