US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — This is not grass growing along the Antarctic Peninsula. The culprits are much smaller.
We have certain expectations from the snow. Usually we assume that it will be white, but in some parts of coastal Antarctica it acquires a bizarre shade of bright green. The green color of the snow cover appeared as climate warming affects the icy land.
Green is caused by flowering microscopic algae. Algae covers such a large area that they can be observed from satellites.
The team, led by researchers from Cambridge University in the UK and the British Antarctic Survey, used satellite data and field observations to map green algae and predict the future distribution of confusing green snow. They published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
A green coast appears along the coast. “They grow in” warm “areas, where average temperatures are just above zero degrees Celsius during the summer season, the summer months in the southern hemisphere from November to February,” said the University of Cambridge.
Climate change seems to play the role of the unintended greening of Antarctica. “As Antarctica warms up, we predict that the total mass of snow algae will increase, as the elevation will significantly outweigh the loss of small island spots of algae,” said Andrew Gray, lead author of the article at Cambridge University.
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