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WHY SNOW IN ANTARCTICE IS TURNING BLOOD RED?

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”.

Concerns

  • 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



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