This ‘Blood-Red’ Snow Is Taking Over Parts of Antarctica
by Lily Katzman/Smithsonianmag.com
Earlier this month, Antarctica experienced record high temperatures, causing the southernmost continent’s ice caps to melt at an unprecedented rate. As a result, Eagle Island, a small island off Antarctica’s northwest tip, experienced peak melt; brown rock appeared from beneath the ice and several ponds of meltwater accumulated at the center.
And with these unprecedented temperatures, the algae that normally thrive in freezing water and lie dormant across the continent’s snow and ice are now in full bloom and cover the Antarctic Peninsula with blood-red, flower-like spores.
On February 24, the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine posted photos of the phenomenon to their Facebook page, showing ice around their Vernadsky Research Base—located on the Galindez Island off the coast of Antarctica’s northern Peninsula—covered in what researchers call “raspberry snow” or “watermelon snow”.
This red-pigmented algae, also known as Chlamydomonas nivalis, has the potential to jumpstart a feedback loop of warming and melting, worrying scientists about the continued impact of climate change on this critical region.
“Snow blooms contribute to climate change,” the Ministry wrote on Facebook. “Because of the red-crimson color, the snow…
Carol graduated from Riverside White Cross School of Nursing in Columbus, Ohio and received her diploma as a registered nurse. She attended Bowling Green State University where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and Literature. She attended the University of Toledo, College of Nursing, and received a Master’s of Nursing Science Degree as an Educator.
She has traveled extensively, is a photographer, and writes on medical issues. Carol has three children RJ, Katherine, and Stephen – one daughter-in-law; Katie – two granddaughters; Isabella Marianna and Zoe Olivia – and one grandson, Alexander Paul. She also shares her life with her husband Gordon Duff, many cats, and two rescues.