July 9, 2021


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Climate change turning Antarctica’s snow green

Antarctica conjures pictures of an unbroken white wilderness however blooms of algae are giving elements of the frozen continent an more and more inexperienced tinge.

Warming temperatures resulting from local weather change are serving to the formation and unfold of “green snow” and it’s changing into so prolific in locations that it’s even seen from house, based on new research published on Wednesday.

Whereas the presence of algae in Antarctica was famous by long-ago expeditions, such because the one undertaken by British explorer Ernest Shackleton, its full extent was unknown.

Now, utilizing knowledge collected over two years by the European House Company’s Sentinel 2 satellite tv for pc, along with on-the-ground observations, a analysis crew from the College of Cambridge and the British Antarctic Survey have created the primary map of the algae blooms on the Antarctic Peninsula coast.

“We now have a baseline of where the algal blooms are and we can see whether the blooms will start increasing as the models suggest in the future,” Matt Davey of the College of Cambridge’s Division of Plant Sciences instructed Reuters.

Mosses and lichens are thought of the dominant photosynthetic organisms in Antarctica — however the brand new mapping discovered 1,679 separate algal blooms which can be a key part within the continent’s skill to seize carbon dioxide from the ambiance.

“The algal blooms in Antarctica are equivalent to about the amount of carbon that’s being emitted by 875,000 average U.K. petrol car journeys,” Davey stated. “That seems a lot but in terms of the global carbon budget, it’s insignificant.”

“It does take up carbon from the atmosphere but it won’t make any serious dent in the amount of carbon dioxide being put in the atmosphere at the moment.”

Inexperienced just isn’t the one splash of color in Antarctica. Researchers are actually planning related research on purple and orange algae, though that’s proving tougher to map from house.

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