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”.
- The red snow raises concerns about the rate at which the glaciers will melt away and eventually affect sea-level rise
Why is the snow turning red?
- According to a 2016 report in The New York Times, such algae as 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.
- 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.
- It also change the snow’s albedo