Antarctica’s snow turning green due to climate change

When we think of Antarctica, we think of unbroken white wilderness. But now the scene has changed. Blooms of algae are giving this frozen land an increasingly green shade.

Antarctica’s snow turning green due

LONDON: You can think of unbroken white wilderness when you think of Antarctica. But now it is being changed by blooms of algae and it is giving this frozen continent an increasing green colour.

Climate change leading to global warming is causing this change and helping in formation of green algae. It is now spreading and helping to form green snow. It is so prolific in places that it is even visible from space. It has been published in a research paper on Wednesday.

Presence of green algae in antarctica wa noticed by expeditions here long time ago. It was undertaken by the British explorer Earnest Shackleton. But then its full extent was unknown.

European Space Agency’s Sentinel 2 satellites has collected data for more than 2 years. It has done so with an on the ground observations. A research team from the University of Cambridge and the British Antarctic survey have created the first map of the algae blooms using these data 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 University of Cambridge`s Department of Plant Sciences told Reuters.

Mosses and lichens are considered as the dominant photosynthetic organisms. They are dominantly present in Antarctica. But now it has been found that more than 1,679 separate algae blooms that have become the key components in the continent’s ability to capture carbon di oxide from the atmosphere.

“The algal blooms in Antarctica are equivalent to about the amount of carbon that`s being omitted by 875,000 average UK petrol car journeys,” Davey said. “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.”

Green is now not only the only colour that is spreading in the continent of Antarctica. Researchers are now planning to conduct similar studies in the continent on red and orange algae. But this is much more harder to map from space.