3 – Melting Mummies
About 7,000 years ago, the Chinchorro people lived on the edges of the Atacama Desert, subsiding off fish and dealing with the extremely dry conditions of their Tatooine-like homeland. If any of them died – particularly children or babies – they would mummify them, and the aridity of their surroundings would preserve them long enough to be excavated millennia later.
About 300 Chinchorro mummies are kept by various Chilean institutes, but in the last decade or so, the rising regional temperatures is causing opportunistic bacteria to spread across them. As the little microbes consume this extremely cured human meat, they emit a black sludge, which begins to leak out of the long-lost people.
At present, it’s not clear what can be done to stop these mummies dissolving away. Answers on a postcard, please.
4 – Secret Cold War Nuclear Missile Bases
Back in the 1960s, the US decided to build a covert nuclear weapons facility beneath Greenland’s Ice Sheet. Named Project Iceworm, the idea was to place 600 medium-range ballistic missiles there so that the Soviet Union could be thoroughly destroyed at short notice.
Glaciologists working there realized that the speed of the overlying glaciers was so great that by 1965, the tunnels and silos would collapse in on themselves. Decommissioning the base and leaving it to be consumed, it seems that climate change has caused enough of the ice to melt that it is beginning to emerge in the present day.
Unfortunately, plenty of the chemical waste left behind by the US Army is now leeching into the surroundings as a result of this. Whoops.
5 – Bemused Octopuses
An octopus was found in a parking garage in Miami recently. Thanks to rising sea levels, these clever cephalopods are occupying more drain pipes than ever before, so whenever there is a storm surge, some of them wash up at the surface.
This particular squiggly being was rescued and placed back in the sea, by the way, so we guess that 2016 wasn’t all bad.
6 – Hybrid Grizzly-Polar Bears
Thanks to melting Arctic ice, polar bears are being forced to move further inland, where they are breeding with grizzly bears to make “grolars” or “pizzlies.” The hybrid creations are quite rare, so it’s a shame that every now and then, one is shot by Inuit hunters who are legally allowed to kill them for sustenance.
7 – Zika-carrying Mosquitos
Zika and its primary vector, the Aedes aegypti mosquito, would have existed without climate change being a factor. However, this summer, these buzzing botherers managed to spread to parts of the world that it had not been initially expected they would reach.
This is because warmer, longer and higher latitude summers meant that environmental conditions existed further north of the Equator than ever before. In fact, any pathogen that is spread by mosquitos will benefit from this effect, including malaria, one of the deadliest diseases on the planet.