The researchers intend on conducting further studies into other red and orange algae in Antarctica in order to assess how much carbon is held by snow algae across the continent. Sign-up now and enjoy one (1) week free access!
"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", Matt Davey, the study's leader, said.
"The algal blooms in Antarctica are equivalent to about the amount of carbon that's being omitted by 875,000 average United Kingdom petrol vehicle journeys", Davey said.More news: At least 11 injured as auto smashes into hijab store in Australia
The research also found that marine birds and mammals also had an impact on algae growth, with more than 60 percent of algae blooms found within 5km of a penguin colony. "2018-ilovepdf-compressed.pdf">snow algae in Greenland have found it can increase the amount of sunlight and heat that snow absorbs, which can cause ice to melt faster.
Reference: "Remote sensing reveals Antarctic green snow algae as important terrestrial carbon sink" by Andrew Gray, Monika Krolikowski, Peter Fretwell, Peter Convey, Lloyd S. Peck, Monika Mendelova, Alison G. Smith and Matthew P. Davey, 20 May 2020, Nature Communications.
"As Antarctica continues to warm on small low-lying islands, at some point you will stop getting snow coverings on those in the summer", said Andrew Gray, lead author and researcher at the University of Cambridge and NERC Field Spectroscopy Facility, Edinburgh.
"I think we will get more large blooms in the future".
As bird - particularly penguin - populations are affected by warming temperatures, "the snow algae could lose sources of nutrients to grow", he said.More news: Podcaster Joe Rogan Just Struck a $100M Deal
Above: Multi-coloured snow algae on Anchorage Island, in Antarctica. The majority of algae live in watery environments, and when excess nitrogen and phosphorous are available they can multiply rapidly to create visible algal blooms.
Skeptics have largely dismissed fears over man's impact on global warming, saying climate change has been going on since the beginning of time.
"It's very dark - a green snow algal bloom will reflect about 45% of light hitting it whereas fresh snow will reflect about 80% of the light hitting it, so it will increase the rate of snow melt in a localized area", he explained.
"We expect there to be more suitable habitat and overall more carbon sequestration".More news: Hollywood actor Hagen Mills, 29, dies after shooting girlfriend