According tomedia CNET, the snow we see is usually white, but in parts of the Antarctic coast, the snow appears strangely green. As the climate warms, we may see more of this color, because it will affect this snow-covered land.
Antarctica has not become a giant margarita. This green is caused by the proliferation of fine snow algae. These snow algae cover so much of the ground that they can even be observed by satellite.
A team led by researchers from the University of Cambridge and the British Antarctic Survey used satellite data and field observations to map the green algae and predict the future growth of this disturbing “green snow”. They published their findings Wednesday in the journal Nature Communications.
This “green snow” appears on the coastline. “They grow in ‘warmer’ regions, with average temperatures just above zero degrees Celsius during the southern hemisphere summer from November to February,” the University of Cambridge said in a press release on Wednesday. Nearby penguin colonies seem to play a role in the seaweed. We recently learned that penguin faeces can cause scientists a laughing gas problem. It can also contribute to the growth of algae.
Climate change seems to play a role in the casual “greening” of Antarctic snow. “As Antarctica warms, we predict that the overall mass of snow algae will increase, as the number of snow algae that spread to higher places will significantly exceed the loss of small pieces of algae on the island,” said Andrew Gray, a plant scientist at the University of Cambridge and lead author of the paper.
Scientists see more than just green. Parts of Antarctica look like a rainbow. The researchers plan to expand the study to red and orange algae, which contribute to this multicolored landscape.