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Red snow in Antarctica

Antarctic snow has turned red in places “culprits” for which are cold-loving algae, writes in. The Daily Old.
Ukrainian experts have shared impressive photos of the snow cover, which appears to be mixed with red food coloring. Chlamydomonas nivalis photosynthesising algae are the “snow variant” of freshwater algae but contain spores that produce a unique red pigment functioning as a sunscreen. For millennia, microscopic organisms have been found in places with constant snow around the world, “snoozing” in winter. When the snow melts in the summer, the spores begin to develop under the influence of sunlight. The photos were taken near the former British research base Faraday, which since 1996 has been owned by Ukraine and is now known as Vernadsky. The impressive footage has been circulated by the Ukrainian Ministry of Education. The research team, based on Galindez Island, explains: “This snow contributes to climate change, as because of its red colouring it reflects less sunlight and melts faster. As a result, more and more bright algae are formed in the snow. Their red pigment captures sunlight, as a result of which the snow warms even more. The result - a boom of algae, which color red the snow cover and adjacent streams”. Single-celled organisms can also appear in other colors, among them green and less often orange. Algae emit a faint smell of watermelon, the cause of which remains unknown to scientists.

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