Climate change in Antarctica: the snow near Vernadsky Research Base turns blood-red!
Around Ukrainian Vernadsky Research Base on Galindez Island such a phenomenon as snow bloom can be seen. It means that the snow is covered red and green blanket which is not typical for local climate.
This color of snow appeared due to the development of microscopic algae. They reproduce by spores that can resist extreme temperatures and survive in the snow throughout the long winter. When weather conditions become favorable, flower-like spores start to germinate.
Pigment chlorophyll brings the green color, and the red one appears due to the carotene layer, which comes from the cells of some species of microalgae. By the way, this same layer protects algae from ultraviolet radiation.
The scientists point out that the “bloom of the snow ” contributes to climate change. After all, due to the color, the snow reflects less sunlight and melts faster. As a result, it develops more and more bright algae which accelerate melting.