Russia is to Lose Its Permafrost, Minister of Natural Resources Warns

The phenomenon of permafrost - a several-meters-deep and hard frozen mix of soil, sand and ice, lying under cities, towns and vast unpopulated areas of Russian Arctic regions - is vanishing, says Alexander Kozlov, Russian Minister of Natural Resources, according to Siberian Times.

“Every such region understands what's coming to it in 20, 30 years. It’ll stop being northern (climate-wise), or it will suddenly turn into a clearly agricultural”, Alexander Kozlov said. 

If true, an enormous amount of new agricultural land could come Russia’s way: but how easy it would be to convert this to viable farmland is hard to know.

Russia has a vast Arctic zone, spreading about four million square kilometers along its northern border from the west to the far east. Almost 60% of its Arctic zone is permafrost, and the mainland’s subsoil underneath the frozen layer has never been studied.