In the cold of Antarctic at the moment has over 90 research stations, the inhabitants of which carry out biological, geographical and meteorological research. One of them is the Ukrainian station “Academician Vernadsky”, where the staff recently announced that their territory formed red snow. Fortunately, in the snowy lands no massacre in horror films did not happen, and the reason for the unusual color of the snow turned out to be algae that can grow in extreme conditions. But how do they do it why they suddenly grew and covered the snow “blood” spots?
Briefly about the situation faced by the Ukrainian scientists, told the scientific publication ScienceAlert. Find red snow on the territory of the research station, the scientists took samples and studied under a microscope. As it turned out, the unusual color of the snow gave unicellular green algae, known as snow hlamidomonada (Chlamydomonas nivalis). According to the researchers, these microscopic algae there are in all the cold regions of our planet, but in winter they are in a kind of hibernation. It is easy to guess that the algae began to act, because at the moment the Antarctic is dominated by the summer.
Why is the snow red?
The researchers explained that when the sun begins to warm the snow, it contained microscopic algae begin to use the melt water for growth and development. By themselves, they are green, but, over time, start to turn orange or red in color, which protects them from ultraviolet radiation of the sun. Also as you grow they begin to soak up more moisture, thereby occupying an increasing area.
See also: In the Arctic snows with a piece of plastic
Unfortunately, developing in melt water algae are of no use. In cold regions there are no animals that could eat microscopic vegetation, and for men red snow at all poisonous. But algae is applied to the planet great harm, because accelerate the melting of snow, thereby raising the water level in the oceans.
In 2016, scientists conducted a study, which foundthat the algae do not give snow to fully reflect the sun’s rays. In particular, we are talking about that red snow deflects solar radiation by as much as 13% worse than the net. Because of this, the ground more heat and melts even more snow and produced meltwater continues to stimulate the growth of algae. It turns out a vicious circle that is gradually destroying our planet.
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Generally, cold regions of our planet today is experiencing hard times. Recently the staff of the Argentine station “Esperanza” reported that the February 6, 2020, the temperature in Antarctica has risen to a record high of 18.3 degrees Celsius. Have sharp and quite impressive raise the temperature of the air, of course, were the consequences. For example, a week of warm weather the snow on the island Eagle has lost a great part of its area. Photos from Landsat 8 shows that the coastal areas of the island now devoid of snow, and in the middle of the island formed a huge reservoir of melt water. Read more about the effects of abnormally warm weather in Antarctica can be read in our special article.