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Nature & Environment

Antarctica is turning green, new study finds

By T.K. Randall
May 20, 2020 · Comment icon 11 comments

The pristine ice is turning a distinctive shade of green. Image Credit: Matt Davey, Andrew Gray et al.
The effects of climate change have sparked a bloom of microscopic algae across the Antarctic peninsula.
If there's one color that nobody ever associates with Antarctica, it's green, however that could soon be set to change thanks to one of the lesser-known consequences of global warming.

In a new study, British scientists have created the first ever large-scale map of green algae that is becoming increasingly prevalent in Antarctica as a result of rising global temperatures.

The algae, which in some places is so dense that it has turned the ice green, was tracked using a combination of satellite imagery and ground-based observations.

"This is a significant advance in our understanding of land-based life on Antarctica, and how it might change in the coming years as the climate warms," said study co-author Dr. Matt Davey.
"Snow algae are a key component of the continent's ability to capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through photosynthesis."

The study identified 1,679 separate blooms covering 1.9 square kilometers with most of it concentrated on Antarctica's smaller, low-lying islands.

Further south, where the temperatures are colder, the algae was far less prevalent.

"I think we will get more large blooms in the future," said lead study author Andrew Gray.

"Before we know whether this has a significant impact on carbon budgets or bio albedo, we need to run the numbers."

Source: The Guardian | Comments (11)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #2 Posted by toast 4 years ago
Then let me see the data which will back your claim. So you think to have snow in your area at unusual times is an indicator the temperature go down on a global scale? Is your clear name Kathleen Hartnett ? Please do so. Thanks.
Comment icon #3 Posted by thelion318 4 years ago
So climate change isn't killing the Earth but instead helping it make more life. This will certainly not be accepted by the Greta, PC, libbie crowd. It is easier to fool someone than convince them they have been fooled.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Peter B 4 years ago
I take it you didn't read the article. Human activities puts ~40 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year. These algal blooms will absorb ~500 tons of carbon each year (which is less than 2000 tons of carbon dioxide). These blooms aren't exactly going to suddenly plunge us into another ice age. Plus, the blooms darken the ice, which makes it absorb more heat, which melts the ice...perhaps it's just as well the total area of these blooms is about two square kilometres over the whole of Antarctica.
Comment icon #5 Posted by qxcontinuum 4 years ago
No I am not a women... I am a man old enough to have eyewitnesses rivers changing their course, landscapes getting shaped in 40 years to an extend scientists predicted centuries to take place. I remembered 60byears ago, summers beeing so hot  that we could have started a fire just by leaving a piece of glass over a Boulder of hay... but you spoiled brats have no idea about past don' t you? You are just happy sitting indoors reading **** others are telling you forcing you to accept a reality you have no experience or direct contact with. You think you know everything just because you've don... [More]
Comment icon #6 Posted by psyche101 4 years ago
Comment icon #7 Posted by qxcontinuum 4 years ago
omg I love this ! "We had to go living on a lake" !  Now we leave in big cardboard boxes we call homes and pay one million dollars... until the first strong wind that is... wtf happened with brick houses? 
Comment icon #8 Posted by NorthenerON 4 years ago
Let me just say, have you checked your data. I've looked at the weather around where I live and found that if we had the media we do today, back in the 30's and 40's we should have been scared ****less with the high temps. Yet in the 70's and 80's we should have been in an ice age. It's not global warming or climate change. Well I guess you could call it climate change because that happens all the time. It's called seasons.
Comment icon #9 Posted by toast 4 years ago
Your own impressions, formed in your backyard, are not of relevance on a global scale. Very often, people with an limited understanding of data collection and analysis and of science in general tend to call people who know about such things as to be some kind of weird. I call that intellectual self-defence without results.
Comment icon #10 Posted by psyche101 4 years ago
The article states that the blooms have been recorded since to 60s. It doesn't say they are a result of global warming, it speculates what might happen if the current trend (last 50 years) of warmer temperatures in the area continue. 
Comment icon #11 Posted by Jon the frog 4 years ago
Not more, different life ! all the thing that we know will be erased for the greater goods of the jelly fish queen !

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