Call Us Now

+91 9606900005 / 04

For Enquiry

legacyiasacademy@gmail.com

EXPLAINED: WHY SNOW IN ANTARCTICA IS TURNING BLOOD-RED

Focus: GS-III Environment and Ecology

Why in news?

Snow around Ukraine’s Vernadsky Research Base, located off the coast of Antarctica’s northernmost peninsula, has started to take on a red tinge, courtesy of an algae that thrives in freezing weather. Because of the red tinge, the snow is often dubbed “watermelon snow”.

watermelon snow EXPLAINED: WHY SNOW IN ANTARCTICA IS TURNING BLOOD-RED Red snow Algae watermelon snow

Why is the snow turning red?

  • Algae found around the Ukrainian research base grow well in freezing temperatures and liquid water.
  • During the summer, when these typically green algae get a lot of sun, they start producing a natural sunscreen that paints the snow in shades of pink and red.
  • In the winter months, they lie dormant.
  • The algae produce the tinted sunscreen to keep themselves warm.
  • The report mentions that because the snow becomes darker from the tinge, it absorbs more heat, as a result of which it melts faster.
  • Further, these algae, that are not uncommon in other polar settings around the world, change the snow’s albedo, which refers to the amount of light or radiation the snow surface is able to reflect back.

Extra information

The Greek philosopher Aristotle is believed to be one of the first to give a written account of watermelon snow over 2,000 years ago.

Download PDF
November 2022
MTWTFSS
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
282930 
Categories